We have a household notebook. It is scrounged zippered binder with a National Guard logo on it. It is big, designed to hold 8" x 12" sheets of paper and has about a bazillion pockets and zippered sections. We call it the Hoo-Ha (like what Al Pacino said in "Scent of a Woman"... military thing... 'cause it's a National Guard notebook.
) It lives in the wide shallow drawer of desk, which is where the computer and phone are, with the file cabinet right next to it, so it is like Command Central.
For me, the Hoo-Ha would not work if we had not actively reduced our paper by so much already. We have online bill pay, e-statements and e-bills. We are on two different "Do Not Junk" lists, and any junk mail that we do get we write "Return to Sender, Please Remove Me from Your Mailing List" on it and send it back. I have all kinds of other stuff on the computer, too, including the master grocery list/price book. (If anyone interested, it was a free download from Home Plan Software, and the name of the program is Shopping List.)
Our filing cabinet is full of stuff that we don't use on a daily or even weekly basis. Before we implemented the Hoo-Ha, our desk was overrun and constantly drowning in paper. Now, we have, in our desk:
Drawer 1: Phone Book and Hoo-Ha
Drawer 2 (Three Sections): Digital Camera in Case with Cable; Pens/Pencils/Markers; Pencil Sharpener, Pen Refills, Erasers
Drawer 3: Calculator, Ziploc Full of Rubberbands, Gladware Full of Thumbtacks, Tape Dispenser, Extra Tape in a Box, Scissors, Stapler, Extra Staples in a Box, Staple Remover, Three Hole Punch, Packing Tape
Drawer 4: Unused Loose Leaf, Unused Graph Paper, Flashlight, Walkie Talkies, Gladware Full of Batteries and Battery Charger
Drawer 5: Unused Printer Paper, Unused Printer Cartridge(s), All of Our Discs
And that is seriously all that is EVER in our desk. Before limiting paper and implementing the Hoo-Ha, I could clean out the desk once a week and it was still never clean.
The Hoo-Ha Contains:
Front Inner Pocket: Envelope with all DH's pay stubs
Next Zippered Pocket: A Bond for DD, DH's Grandma's obituary, an index card with a four leaf clover I found taped to it.
Next Pocket: Benefit Guides to our dental and vision insurance (these are tricky, so we use them a lot).
Row of Small Pockets: Two tiny notebooks of DH's (one for recipes, one for gardening stuff), 2-cent, 29-cent, and Forever stamps, my vision rx, a coupon to onehanesplace.com, DD's vax record, my dental appointment reminder, and our BCBS card.
One Loop: Pen; Other Loop: Mechanical Pencil
Next, in the binder part, we have our address book. I entered everybody's information into Word ( and cut and pasted it into my Draft box in my Yahoo email for safekeeping) and printed it out and put it in clear plastic protector sheets. This is nice, because when we get new numbers, we just slide a piece of paper out and write the number down. No more little slips! I do try to update and reprint periodically.
Also in clear plastic is a list of birthdays and anniversaries, and a one-month at-a-time calendar sheets printed from someplace online, with a menu and some appointments filled in.
Then there's my families flight info for their Thanksgiving visit.
Then, because we are planning remodeling, there's a clear plastic sheet full of magazine pages I pulled out and kept for ideas.
Then there's some graph paper kitchen drawings.
A bunch of blank loose leaf and graph paper clipped in.
In the inner back pocket, there's the purchase agreement to buy this house from my parents. (Goes to the bank tomorrow!!)
In the outer, zippered back pocket, there's note cards and two kinds of envelopes- for the note cards, and the regular legal kind.
I just cleaned the Hoo-Ha out a few days ago, so right now, it could be unzipped and you could shake the hell out of and nothing would fall out. However, one of the reasons that's it's so nice that it's zippered is because in the rare event that we get a paper bill, or a paper check, or some important document or piece of mail that we are unsure what to do with, we just stick it in the Hoo-Ha. Having to search through a notebook for something, even if the notebook is full and messy, is not so bad. Having to clean out a notebook is a damn sight better than having to clean out a desk.