Getting More from Your Address Book

book and pencil
Photo by to01

No matter if you use a book or you’ve changed to the computer, an address book has the potential to organize much more than simply addresses and phone numbers. 

Having a quick-reference in alphabetical order will help you store all those notes and bits of information in an organized way. (Even though mine’s in digital form, I still call it my address book, rather than “address database.”)

Here’s what you can include to make your address book even more useful:

  • Birthdays and anniversaries.
  • The names of your friends’ spouses and children. You probably know their names, but this way you won’t forget how to spell them. If you’ve just received a birth announcement, make a note of their new baby’s birth date.
  • Frequently visited web sites, especially ones that require you to login. It’s a great place to keep your login ID and a password clue.
  • Addresses and numbers for doctors, employers, and utilities.
  • The insurance company’s phone number, along with your group number and account.
  • Bank and credit card customer service phone numbers.
  • Social security numbers for your immediate family. If you omit the last number, it can be disguised as a phone number.
  • License plate numbers for your car.
  • Phone numbers and store hours of your favorite stores. (We can never remember which day the library will be closed.)
  • In Case of Emergency (ICE) information.
Do you like to keep your addresses in a book or electronically? What else could you add to it? 
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. I use a book, simply because I haven’t found the right digital solution yet.

    I would love to know what software you use to store your addresses and other helpful information!

  2. I love my address books. I just started my 2nd one in 31 years of marriage. Without a lot of words, there is a lot of my history in them. My kid sister’s address crossed out 5 times, old neighbors, friends from another era, grandparents who are no longer living, a doctor or bank from another area code, etc. I couldn’t throw the old one away, but I transferred all the current information to my new one. (It took me forever to find one I liked– the color, size, and feel. I’m pretty sure this is my last address book.) I have to be able to hold mine, so no computer address book for me.

  3. We actually do something very similar. Our contacts are on the computer as well and we also include contact info for all of our bills, doctors, utilities, etc.

    I like the idea of including frequently visited websites with username and password clue. You have to have a username everywhere now and it’s tough to keep track of. Thanks for the tip!

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last blog post..Sometimes Life Interrupts

  4. We have a book, but it is old and outdated. Also have some on the computer. I’d like to get a new book and consolidate/update all the info.

    KatieG´s last blog post..BBQ Chicken Pizza

  5. I keep a spreadsheet for addy’s and my phone #’s are on my phone. I can find any of these on the internet or in my files in a pinch. I keep a notebook on my desk at all times and any business I have, lists, random phone numbers, research, dates etc. are in it. I keep these notebooks for several years in case I need to look something up. I also keep old calendars. We move a lot so writing these things down (and then crossing them off) would get messy fast. Maybe once my husband gets tenure I’ll get a real address book!

    Juliet´s last blog post..Fruit of the poison tree

  6. I use ms outlook for all of my phone numbers and addresses. I have been trying to think of a way to organize my online usernames and password clues. I was going to use paper, but I really like the idea of putting them on my outlook address book.

    thanks for the tip.

    Kristia@FamilyBalanceSheet´s last blog post..Seven frugal reasons why I’m ready for Spring

  7. I have a page at the back of mine where I keep my kids current clothes/shoes sizes. And I keep a list of potential gifts… often a birthday will surprise me and in the ensuing rush I will buy just anything and spend more than I would like to… so I have a list of potential men/women/teen/kid/toddler gifts that are reasonable and generally liked – this really helps when my brain is in a panic spasm.

    se7en´s last blog post..It’s a Back to School Book Wrap in Se7en Steps…

  8. Great ideas. Unfortunately, I have not found a system to store my addresses and other information that I like. Please share with us the digital method that you are currently using. thanks.

    mamaloves´s last blog post..easy recipe

  9. I use a electronic organizer for my contact information. I am inspired by your post to go through and make sure everything is current and to add some things. I like to use mine to keep track of personal favorites of my friends and family. If I notice or hear that a friend likes a certain candy bar or has a hobby that they enjoy then I make a note of it under their name. Then I have a great list of their favorites when I want to do something special for them.

  10. I read a similar idea in Real Simple magazine a few years ago about putting information for passwords in our Rolodex. It tried it, but then I got nervous about someone having easy access to that information even though I don’t keep it in one I carry in my purse.

  11. I can be a bit much when it comes to organizing.

    I don’t like to cross things out, so I typically use a pencil to write things that will be around for a while. When I got married, I went out and bought our first Address Book as a married couple. I searched a LONG time for the perfect one. Then I took the time to write all the addresses perfectly, in pencil. I was so proud of my beautiful address book with perfectly written addresses!

    Can you imagine the thoughts that went through my head when i saw that my husband scribbled an address of a random friend from childhood (who we will never need an address to) in PEN!!!

    I still have that page, just to remind me how silly I can be… and to remind me that it’s okay for my husband to write in our address book too.

  12. I’m using the Address Book program from Apple that came with my MacBook. Before that, for years I used a simple spreadsheet with a row for each person and columns for what I wanted to keep track of.

    Nicole, when you keep track of passwords, just write down a clue to trigger your memory, not the actual password, in case someone finds it.

  13. i’m torn between keeping all this info in a book or on the computer. each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

    i love the idea of writing down the “open hours” for places you need to go. I can’t tell you HOW many times I’ve had to look up our library’s hours online!

  14. Angie,

    I think its ok to tell him he can’t write in the book. It’s your special book and if you like it “just so” then so be it. He can give you a post-it when he wants something added. Call it division of labor. You are the address book czar!

    Juliet´s last blog post..Fruit of the poison tree

  15. I prefer a paper book.

    We have a few friends that move frequently due to their jobs so their informatio is in pencil to afford easy changes/updates.

    I’ve also included gift information for those I buy for regularly (sizes, favorite colors, etc.).

    Nancy´s last blog post..Love / Hate

  16. I have mine both ways. I prefer having a paper book, but it is nice being able to access my addresses from any computer (I store them in my Yahoo contacts.)

    For those of you who have all of your information digitally, please remember to back up this information either on a cd or in a printed form as my FIL’s wife transferred all of her addresses and other information onto her computer and then her computer died and she was unable to restore her files (AND had thrown away her old address book!!)! I would hate for this to happen to someone else.

    Katherine @ Relishing Life´s last blog post..Date Night at Home

  17. I prefer the aesthetic feel of paper. Plus, there’s something about being on a computer 8 hours every day for work that makes me want to go home and do as much stuff as possible off the computer.

  18. I use a password database from Splash ID. It is loaded onto my Blackberry and my computer, and I love it! I believe it is fairly secure, so I only have to remember one password…the one that opens the program!

    Joy (from Just Plain Joy)´s last blog post..Tuesday’s Top Pick: Working Moms Against Guilt

  19. One more comment…I rarely use the calendar feature on my cell phone, EXCEPT for birthdays! I have input all my family and friends’ birthdays into my cell phone calendar and set each one to “repeat annually” and “scheduled reminder”. I never worry about forgetting birthdays anymore. (Even if I forgot a gift, I can still call that day and put something in the mail.)

    Joy (from Just Plain Joy)´s last blog post..Tuesday’s Top Pick: Working Moms Against Guilt

  20. Debbie M says:

    “Social security numbers for your immediate family. If you omit the last number, it can be disguised as a phone number.”

    I like that. Then you can re-add the last digit (maybe with some leading zeroes) as an extension.

  21. chelsea says:

    Right now, I use Excel. I’ve considered Access, as well. I keep addresses, blogs, a separate birthday worksheet, the multiple phone numbers and emails everyone has, kids’ names, and a list of christmas cards sent/received. The great thing is that it’s so easy to change and so easy to print out.

    I keep a list of account numbers, websites, user names, and passwords in another password-protected excel spreadsheet

  22. I use index cards and a recipe box. I didn’t like using an actual address book because I didn’t like cross outs etc. This way each family has a card with addresses, phone numbers, children, spouses, birthdays and anything else important. It works for me. I also have a list from my computer that I print out every year or so to make holiday card addressing easier.

    I also have a “little black book” of business cards. (it actually says that on the book!)

    I really liked Mrs E.’s post.

  23. I like Moleskine’s address book, because you are not limited to how much you can write about one person/family. You could include library hours next to their phone number, and all your friend’s kids names and birthdays, as well as e-mail addresses or other notes! It looks pretty sweet, too.

  24. Christina Taylor says:

    I have started a family notebook recently, and have a section for phone numbers. I recently updated my addresses in excel, and have added a few sheet of commonly used numbers as well. I have babysitters and doctors, and dentists and music teacher’s numbers. I keep it stored on the computer, so it can be easily updated, but I always have a hard copy easily accessible, never know when the computer will die!

    Thanks for the added ideas of numbers to include, I will add them shortly! :)

  25. Hi Rachel
    I really enjoy your website. It is so easy to read because you always keep it short, simple and interesting. Your tip about how you keep your address book, makes me want to start organizing again. I have an address book, because I love writing, but I also have an online list, but with all the different emails, they are now everywhere. I have some at work on outlook, I have some on my cellphone, I have some on yahoo, now I plan to check out what google offers, or maybe I will do it through excel.
    Thank you for the inspiration. Please keep doing what you are doing.
    Kathryn
    P.S.
    Your daughter is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    cute. What a blessing she must be in your lives. :)

  26. I use ms outlook. You can print it out, take it to an office supply & have them bind it for about $3.00. I update it as needed. That way I have one on the computer & one or more print copy. It works for me.

  27. We store all our info electronically and it syncs with each of our phones. Very modern and efficient but…

    There is something to a paper version that I like. My late mother used to keep one, and she crossed out old addresses and kept updating, in pen and pencil! As I spent 20 years outside the US, it is for me now, a record of all the places I and others lived. I like seeing the history we all had esp for addresses I never thought I’d forget.

    Maureen´s last blog post..Things Making Me Happy

  28. I still use an actual address book. I keep information in it including our teen’s online high school password. (we’re always forgetting it)

    Rona´s last blog post..My Current Re-Do – The Kitchen

  29. Thanks for this post! I have always had trouble finding cute yet user friendly address books/day planners so I finally chose to create my own! I’ve had such a blast keeping mine up to date and also supplying other women with customizable “girly” products! Thanks also for all your posts, especially the “No-Spending” month. I’ll be talking to my husband about doing this, especially since we have a newborn and are down to one income! Thanks!

    God Bless!