What Every Happy Family Needs: A Comprehensive Home Manual

What Every Happy Family Needs: A Comprehensive Home Manual



Estate manual, control journal, household guidebook, home management journal – call it whatever you want, but every well-managed household absolutely requires one. Laying out all the guidelines for your home will save you countless hours of phone calls, troubleshooting sessions, and training sessions – not to mention making you completely invaluable to your principals. Creating such a thorough manual is no small task – there is a virtually endless list of things you can include in your manual, and it should really include as much information as possible. Every household has different needs and processes in place, but this outline will definitely get you started.

For those of you brave enough to tackle this task… we’ve got your back.



Here’s what you’re going to need to get started:

  • One or two large three-ringed binders (easy to revise as your home needs change!)
  • Three-hole punch
  • Paper/printer/pens and pencils
  • Labels and dividers
  • Plastic sleeves
  • Beautiful storage box for finished binder and all home appliance/AV manuals



Consider the following categories for your guidebook:

  • Contact list
    • Principals
    • Children’s school
    • Doctors/dentists/pediatricians
    • Emergency contact list
    • Household staff with phone numbers, email addresses, work anniversaries
    • Electrician
    • Plumber
    • General maintenance/handyman
    • Landscaping



  • Security and Safety Procedures
    • Evacuation Checklist
    • Evacuation Procedures
  • Holidays
    • Decoration checklist/inventory
    • Storage/maintenance instructions
    • Family traditions
    • Holiday card addresses



  • Party/Events
    • Food and beverage service
    • Preferred vendors
    • Guidelines and standards
    • Entertainment contact list (with notes section!)



  • Family/Children
    • Birthdays/anniversaries
    • Gift guide
    • Parenting articles/books you believe in
    • Family history/medical information
    • Child development checklists
    • List of preferred foods
    • List of off-limit foods
    • Household rules and routines (school, homework, bedtime, rewards, discipline, etc.)



  • Pets
    • Care and procedures
    • Food and treats list
    • Daily routine


  • Housekeeping Procedures and Standards
    • Laundry care – be specific!
    • List of preferred cleaning products
    • Maintenance and care of valuable art/artifacts/surfaces
    • Smart Home/AV instructions and troubleshooting
    • Pool care and rules
    • Landscaping plans, standards, and troubleshooting




  • Inventory Checklists (also important for insurance!)
    • Art/Artifacts
    • China/Crystal/Silver
    • Moving Checklist



  • Miscellaneous Preferences
    • Item-specific laundry requests
    • Any unusual but necessary details


Be sure to take time and think through each section, and don’t feel like you need to write the entire book in one day. By completing this manual, you will have created one of the most important documents for the estate you’re managing! It will save you an enormous amount of time, and a digital copy of it should be circulated among staff and family members. The manual should be updated as things change and revisited each year to adjust anything that has come up.



Have you ever created a household manual or something similar? We’d love to hear your experiences – reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, and check out the other posts on the blog!

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