Turn your junk drawer into mission control (in less than an hour)

02/23/2009

binder1Michael and I are sharing our lives together but we didn’t have a place where we kept shared information. Our junk drawer was a mess of paper that we had both become accustomed to putting things that we didn’t want but we knew we should keep.

That was until I found an online tutorial for making a household notebook over at Unclutterer. (There’s also FlyLady’s Control Journal and others). Here’s how I did it:

  • First, I re-used an old binder, created 5 tabs and dug out my 3-hole punch. (I knew there was some reason for keeping it.)
  • Then I took all the paper that was sitting in our junk drawer and divided it into the 5 sections of my new notebook: Contacts, Health, Food, House and Travel.
  • Some items were tossed. Constant pruning is key!
  • Other items that didn’t exactly fit in the binder system (like folding maps, business cards and random keys) I put in a clear pocket built into the binder’s back cover.

Using this system encouraged me to write up a page of emergency contact information (under the Contacts tab) and get clear about Michael’s prescription drugs (under the Health tab). I also printed out city and transit maps and put them in the Travel section, which is particularly useful for out-of-town guests left to their own devices. Nearby restaurant menus went into the Food section, also good for entertaining guests.

I call it mission control because I feel more in control having created this notebook. I don’t have to ask Michael for the landlord’s phone number or wonder about the details of the lease — it’s all in the notebook, along with receipts for any repairs we did on the house. It also gives us both a sense of clear understanding: Michael doesn’t have to ask me at which market I prefer the fresh bread, because now it’s in our standard grocery list of markets we frequent.

For shared households, large families with kids and appointments, and people who have house guests, I highly reccommend creating a household mission control.

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