Today I want to share the best way I've found to organize my house. Granted, this only organizes a part of our home life, but it definitely saves a lot of time and frustation. I keep several binders, each one for a different purpose. Here are the binders I currently have in use; I'll elaborate on them below:
1. My Home Management Notebook, or as I affectionately call it, the Bennett Binder. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here, because you can find out everything you want about this idea from my inspiration, Simple Mom, where she has a whole series on building your notebook. But I will tell you a little bit about how my binder works for me.
Just for fun, here's a look at how I scrapbooked the front and back (I used an EcoVue binder which has clear slots for inserting paper and is made from recycled materials)-- click to enlarge these thumbnails.
I keep random little bits in the inside front pocket, like thank you notes or little items that don't really belong in a category, but everything else I fit into one of these categories.
- Calendar (including my day's to-do list, which is Simple Mom's Daily Docket, and printed out versions of my Google Calendar for the week and month)
- Contacts (includes stamps, address labels and an Emergency Contact list)
- Budget & Receipts (including a page for Account Information (i.e. logins/passwords for various websites, and a zippered pouch for receipts that need to be reconciled)
- A category for me (includes notes/idea pages for each of my blogs, books I want to read, etc.)
- A category for Moondoggie
- Kid stuff (including a Family Babysitter Guide- I'll have more info on this later!)
- Gift Ideas
- The back pocket houses an envelope for tickets (upcoming games/events, discount movie tickets), and my weekly dairy order form
Here's a glimpse at one of my sections. I love these pocket dividers for rounding up loose papers in each section.
2. Coupons used to be kept in the back of my main binder, but they were making it too full. So I now keep them separately. Note that these are not my grocery coupons (those are in an expandable file); these are restaurant and store coupons. I keep them in plastic sleeves in a similar 3-ring binder. You never know when you're going to need one of those millions of Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons they send out, so this keeps all my store coupons organized and handy.
3. Recipes: In an effort to simplify, I have finally gotten rid of the last few years' worth of Martha Stewart Living and other magazines I had saved, but not before ripping out pages with dog-eared ideas or recipes. I keep a 3-ring binder where I house all my recipes taken from magazines, categorized by type of recipe, and I try to make a new recipe each week. I figured out it's much more efficient to tear out pages as I read, and then save what I want to to try to make, rather than keeping the whole magazine, as pretty as they are.
4. Inspiration: In the same fashion, I keep a binder for any craft, project, or decorating inspiration that I find in a magazine. I categorize these in a 3-ring binder as well, with sections like sewing, quilting, home decor, kids, etc. This binder also has a section for my sewing machine, where I keep the quick-reference guide that it came with. I either hole-punch the pages I find, or if it's a small piece of paper, I'll slip it into a plastic sleeve. I even keep my own designed project ideas and patterns I've drafted myself on tissue paper, folded up and slipped into a plastic sleeve. I started this binder a long time ago, but recently reorganized it and find it much more useful now.
I hope this inspires you with how useful binders can be, and I'd love to hear how you use binders and notebooks to organize.