Confession: I have a paperwork kink!
No, I don’t mean I like filling out forms in triplicate! Last fall I fell in love with the idea of Butler’s Books. I was hesitant because most of my stuff was kept digitally up to that point and I had never successfully used a planner for more than a few weeks. After spending a few months trying to research and plan I jumped in this past January and haven’t looked back since! My book helps keep my world organized and allows me to be a better submissive. Here’s a quick intro to what they are, how I use mine, and how to start your own.
You’re probably wondering what the hell a Butler’s Book is and google is pretty much useless. Basically, a Butler’s Book is a way or organizing and tracking everything required to make a house run smoothly from schedules and shopping lists to information on the family and friends. They are sometimes called service notebooks and I like to call mine my girl book since I don’t identify as a butler.
For me, my book is one part bullet journal, one part house management guide, and one part journal/braindump.
When I want to relax I’m just as likely to be playing video games as reading books, I don’t know what I’d do without Google calendar, and text messages are lifesavers because I’m not a huge fan of talking to people on the phone. So if I’m such a digital girl why on earth would an analog book be of interest? Simple: My book allows me to organize my life, visually keeps track of my goals and projects, and is my reference for my leather family and path. It hasn’t replaced my digital stuff by any stretch but it has become a way for me to focus on the most important stuff along the way. It’s also a tool for self-care. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I can pull my book out and see exactly what HAS to get done and what can be moved to the later. In addition, I have space to doodle, work on new ideas, or brain dumb. I’ve worked it into my daily routine, for about 10 mins before bed each night when my brain is prone to spring into overdrive, and it’s helped me feel calmer and less cluttered mentally.
The great thing about Butler’s Books is that they are what you make of it. They can be a quick reference guide or detailed encyclopedia. You could include only information related to your BDSM/Leather/Lifestyle journey or expand it to other areas of your life. The trick is to make it work for you!
When I started researching I found myself really frustrated right out of the gate. Outside of a local friend, Kitten Christie, who turned me on to them, there isn’t a ton of information easily available. In fact, I only found one really good resource! Joshua Tenpenny’s Service Notebook. Mixing suggestions from Kitten Christie, Tenpenny, and Bullet Journaling I’ve found a method to the madness that works really well for you which I’ll outline below. Take what is useful and don’t be afraid to toss what isn’t!
What you’ll need:
- Binder & Paper – You can use any journal, notebook, or binder you want. The key is that it needs to be big enough to be functional and small enough that you’ll want to actually use it!
- I use a 1″ Mini Binder because I like to have the flexibility of moving/removing pages that I royally screwed up, found didn’t work for me, or don’t need any more like plans from 4 months ago! It also fits half of an 8.5×11 piece of paper perfectly and isn’t too big to throw in my daily bag!
- Pen or Pencil – You’ll want at least one writing tool that you feel really comfortable with, is fade resistant, and writes clearly.
- I have a few pens, markers, and pencils I use in my book. My daily use pen is currently a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen because I’m fancy 😉
- Dividers – You may need two you may need ten. Just depends on how you break up your book.
- I didn’t find any dividers I liked when I initially started so I made my own using 8.5×11 black cardstock, metallic sharpies, and washi tape.
- Other suggestions but by no means required:
- Paper clips – work great to mark pages without taking up space
- Index card – makes for a handy tool to draw straight lines
- Hole Punch – find one that fits your binder
- Markers, stickers, washi tape, etc – It’s your book. Let your creativity flow if that’s your thing!
I break my book into four main sections:
- Intro – includes my index, key, yearly calendars (bday, future log, holidays), and my book ideas page
- Plan – like the name indicates this section is comprised of my planners
- Grow – space to keep track of personal goals and projects
- Family/Leather – includes pages for keeping track of individual’s preferences, master allergy list (because I love cooking for friends & family but don’t want to kill anyone!), protocols, family traditions, and my leather’s history cards.
- Index – Exactly what you think it is!
- Key – I like to color code and use a few symbols to make it easier to identify where items wall in my life.
- Yearly Calendars – I keep one with a list of birthdays and significant holidays
- Future log – Broken into months it allows me to write out any major events happening so I don’t accidently overextend or double book myself
When I first started this section I started with printables I found on Pinterest by searching for Journal/Planner pins. It was an easy way to get started with some structure for someone who didn’t really do planners. After about six weeks I was started identifying what worked and what didn’t for me. So I swapped from planners to grid paper and started designing my own layouts. One method isn’t better than another and there is certainly LOTS of inspiration for either method.
For me, I found using monthly and weekly layouts do the job for me. However, some people prefer monthly and daily layouts. Again, it’s whatever works for YOU!
This section is by far the most eclectic! It’s a little bit of everything and anything related to helping me grow. I have trackers for different goals, gameplans for various projects, and pages of quotes and affirmations I find particularly awesome. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve definitely seen this section pop up in my images! I find that writing things down helps me keep on track with things much better. I can break projects down into more manageable pieces
This section is for all the things specifically focused on my dynamics, relationships, family and lifestyle.
- People – I have two formats for this family/close people & regular acquaintances. Family members are a full two pages and others get an index card kept in a sleeve with a condensed version of details.
- Protocols and Traditions- I have pages for general notes, low/medium/high protocols, and traditions for my family
- Leathers – A record of what leathers I have earned, been presented, or been gifted. and the history of them. I have these on index cards as well.
So these are the basics of my Butler’s Book/girl’s book cover to cover. I hope that this gives you some ideas to get started with your own books. If you want to share your ideas feel free to leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.