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1 January 2009

Home management journal

Happy New Year!

Last year was such an exciting time for me. This blog developed beyond my wildest dreams and as I saw more of you trickle in, I realised what a powerful tool the internet is. Just think, anyone of us with a blog has the potential to reach thousands of people with the press of a button. I want to thank you for the support you've given over this past year and for the wise and interesting comments you left. It is my privilege to go into this newest of years with you at my side. I think we'll discover many more things to interest us and help us live to our full potential.

Thank you also for adding my feed to your readers, for reviewing me on blogged, for linking to me, or whatever you did, and for just being so willing to help.

I have been asked by a couple of people in the past week to talk more about my home management journal. I have written about this in the past but it's an ever evolving thing, always taking me to new places, recording different things and it deserves another outing.

When I first started living as I do now it took me a very short time to realise that unless I organised myself and recorded all the new things I was hoping to do, I would sink like a stone without a hope. Enter my notebook. It was my first journal. But less than a week into it, I knew I had to find another way. Some of the things I started doing, I didn't continue with, or changed a lot, and my notebook was turning into a real mess. So I grabbed an old ring binder I had here and started punching holes in sheets to enter then into the binder. I also added a few plastic envelopes. I had these left over from my old office, I would never have bought more plastic. Anyhow, the envelopes have proved to be very handy to hold smaller bits of paper like receipts and old seed packages.

Your home management journal will hold the written information you need to run your home efficiently. It will change as you progress and you might update it quite often. That is good! It shows you're changing and thinking about your changes as you go. All our journals will be different because, ideally, they'll reflect the stage of life we're at, the way we live, the number of people in our family and all the hopes and plans we have for the future. Include computer printouts as well as your hand written notes, receipts, meters readings and contacts lists.

Here is a list of what I have in my journal and what you might have in yours. Remember though, make your journal suit your life, and don't be tied down to a list.

If you have a statement about what you want your life to be, how you hope to change, or your dreams for the new year, this should be the first thing in your journal so you see it all the time. After that, any written statement that inspires you. I have this in mine, it's from Walden by Henry David Thoreau:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience ..."

Good eh? It takes my breath away whenever I read that. So, on to the list...

Recipes - main meals, jams and spreads, bread, sourdough starters etc.
Preserving/canning recipes and when you put up your jams and preserves.
A table of volume, weights and temperature conversions.

Seed catalogues.
Fruit and nut tree catalogues.
Your garden plan.
Ideas for the next planting season.
Moon planting calendar.
Record of planting - fruit trees and vines, vegetables etc.
Record of rainfall
A record of your vegetable and fruit harvests.
Number of eggs collected.
List of hen's names and when they were added to the flock.
Livestock vaccinations.
Reminders for tick and flea treatments.

Your budget.
If you have a price book, that can go into a plastic pouch next to your budget so you'll always know where it is when you go shopping.
Grocery flyers and coupons.
This year's calender - with room to record various important events like birthdays, anniversaries and graduations.
Current bills that need paying, as well as older bills you want to compare with the next bill that comes - like water, gas, phone and electricity bills.
Recipes - green cleaners.
Ideas for gifts.
Knitting and crochet patterns.
List of knitting abbreviations.
School newsletters and info about school
In your plastic pouches - letters and cards received, seed packages, receipts.
Any ideas you're currently working on, written out or mapped.
Meters readings for water or electricity.
Cost estimates for future projects.
Emergency phone list - doctor, hospital, ambulance, police etc
The name and contact details of your local politicians and councillors.

As you can see, your home management journal can hold whatever you need to run your home efficiently. Your journal will document not only your transition to a simpler life, it will also record your history, and as you look back through it, you will see for yourself just how far you've come.


  1. Rhonda, thank you so much for everything you post for us, you are such an inspiration and a help, I'm not sure you realise how much some time.:-)

    May I wish you and Hanno a very Happy,Peaceful and Simple New Year, with all my best wishes.

    Lots of love Babs
    P.S I have some cotton thread for you for knitting dishcloths that I picked up recently from a charity shop, if you canmaybe get an address to me I can post it on to you, as there is too much for me to usefully use soon.

  2. I have been reading your blog for some time and thought I would stop in and say hi..this very last day of 2008!
    I have loved reading your blog and am very much in agreement that we need to get back to or 'down to earth'. I have always lived fairly 'green' although there are still many things to do to make it more so. It is an ongoing lifestyle!
    Thank you for all your ideas to simplify life, I really enjoy your blog and come here often.
    By the way I have always dreamed of having a few chickens of my own but I don't suppose the city would believe it would be

  3. Thank you for the information! Your information inspired me to get organized and make my own home management journal. It makes so much sense, yet I never thought about organizing these items together. I really like the idea of keeping track of your garden and egg output as well as the seed packets and order forms. Thanks for all of the tips - I really enjoy your blog. Happy New Year!

  4. I've been following your blog for a few months now, and you always speak so much common sense. Sometimes I feel like you articulate those thoughts which are floating arouund my head!

    I keep meaning to sort out a home management journal for myself. Last year I embarked on the Flylady plan to try to get myself more organised (I drift in and out of it), which involves the use of a journal like yours. Maybe this will be the year that I finally get my act together and get organised - here's hoping!

    Happy New Year for 2009 - we're still in 2008 here, so it feels really odd to be typing this message to someone who is already in next year!

  5. Happy New Year Rhonda,

    Thank-you for all of your wise information that you shared with us this passt year and may the New Year 2009 bring wonderful blessings to you.


  6. Rhonda,
    I have been reading your blog for about a year now and this is my first time commenting. Thanks so much for what you do. It has inspired me a great deal.

    I started keeping home journals a few years ago, but am relying on them more now as I implement many simple living/sustainable choices. I actually have one binder that focuses on food, sewing, simple living, one that collects info on local businesses, Fair Trade products, etc. and now one on gardening. You've given me some more ideas.

    Morgan G.

  7. Thank you Rhonda, I started my home journal a few months ago but really need to work on it again cause a lot of things have been replaced or changed, making it rather useless.

  8. I need one of these. With all that went on here and the extra work I had to undertake in 2008 (which will never end) I felt like I was beginning to drown. It's taken a week and a half of precious holiday time to feel like myself again. Organisation is key, and I have to get on board. Thanks.

  9. Happy New Year, Rhonda! :)

    Hope you and Hanno have a great year. You have brightened my last couple and I have learnt a lot, thanks.


  10. Good morning Rhonda and Happy New Year to you, Hanno and the lovely Alice.

    My plans for today actually include updating my home management folder! It's woefully out of date as it began long ago in my FlyLady days. It needs to include when we plant seeds, harvest vegies and a much better budgeting section.

    Thanks for the inspiration! Cheers.

  11. Hi Rhonda

    I hav ea rough version of this but I tend to write things down in a notebook as well (then struggle to find the page). This new year I will work on using the folder more. Thank you for your list as it has given me a few ideas of other things I can include.
    Happy New Year to you and Hanno!
    I'm off to write my first post for 2009 (and for 3 months!!!)

  12. Organization and good record keeping are vital to living a more simple life! Thanks!


  13. Happy New Year Rhonda and Hanno

    Wishing you a very good 2009.

    S x

  14. Rhonda I hope you realised what an influence you have when you click that enter button of your computer. I have learnt so much from you and you have given me inspiration. It is thanks to you that even though I only have a state pension to live on I can do this easily and have some left over to save. Bless you and your family and best wishes for this coming year.

  15. This is a great idea!

    I'm loving your blog, and have passed along a little award that you may like. Thanks for all the wonderful and green ideas.

  16. Hi! I'm new here, but I've learned so much in a short period of time. Next week, I'll try breadmaking again and after that, soap!

    What a great inspiration you are. Thank you.

  17. Hi Rhonda,

    Well as you can see, we all think your site is excellent.
    I'll be starting my Home Management Journal next week. Hope you are keeping cool up there in sunny Queensland and enjoying a well earned rest.

    Blessings Gail

  18. Happy New Year to you & Hanno Rhonda x I started an expenditure book in September & a freezer book lol before that but I am afraid processing the glut soon meant the freezer book fell by the way lolnever mind whats in there will be very useful this year to compare with & hopefully I will have a little more time this year to keep it up lol!
    GTM x x

  19. What a timely post! I spent the last hours of 2008 putting together a management book for myself. I found many (free!) forms to personalize for myself at They are all free and most are set up to print on letter sized paper, which I then cut in half to fit into a small notebook that I've been carrying around for a few months, just experimenting and waiting for the perfect "system" to find me.

    It's obvious after your post that I need to add a few categories ;-) I like the idea of having everything in one place, but I feel that for me I need specific binders - one for food storage inventory, one for garden and related items and one to carry around with me everywhere, in addition to my price book and spending log. Whew! I've never been so organized!

    Thank you so much for your lovely posts and glimpses into your world. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

  20. I think we all have a bit different home organization system, but the key is, having a system is really really helpful to keep things running smoothly. Thanks for sharing about your journal.

  21. Thanks for all the tips for the home management journal. What a great idea! I also wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. Happy new year and all the best.

  22. Hi Rhonda! I'm also a first-time commenter, but I've been reading your blog since a friend sent it to me in early 2008. You are an inspiration, and I can think of several changes I've made in my household thanks to you. :)

    I have been re-working my home journal this week. Over the 7 years I have had it, it has been through many changes - just as I have! Thanks for talking about how flexible it is - and how different it can be for each person. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  23. Hi Rhonda,
    Wishing you and yours a very Happy 2009! Just wanted to let you know what an inspiration you are, I am about to start on my own home management journal this evening!


  24. this was helpful to read. I am just starting my home journal for the first time and was surprised that while it is easy, it requires some thinking!

  25. Hi Rhonda, new reader to your blog and love it. Thanks for reminding me to update my own home management file, haven't done so in a while even though I depend on it constantly.

  26. So much inspiration!! Thank you for sharing this!


  27. Mine is called the 'Family Planner' and as we add our 4th child to the clan in a couple of weeks, I just can't imagine how we did with out it in years gone by. I was inspired to create one after visiting FlyLady a year or so ago and it really has helped me stay organised as a homeschooling mum to three children all aged within 3 years and on a very limited diet.
    Simplfying life is a wonderful thing :)
    Thanks for sharing your tips with us!
    Lusi x


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