Conquer your Paper Clutter with a Home Management Binder!
I am here today to talk to you about a home management binder!!
Okay, I know, this totally sounds like something only one of those uber organized, type A personality people have in their home, right? Why would I need one of those?
Well let me tell you why. Because a home management binder is a GAME CHANGER when it comes to paper clutter. And that is something we all struggle with. Because in our world, papers are EVERYWHERE. The kids bring them home (in piles) from school. Flyers, visa offers and catalogues come in the mail. Bills come to our mailboxes. And we are deluged with these items day in and day out. Thank goodness we all have recycling bins nowadays, but really and truly how often does something get brought into the house and just dumped on the counter? At least in my home that's the norm.
We all have that spot. The spot in the kitchen or the back entry where all the papers just get tossed. And if you don't have a system to deal with those papers, things get lost, bills go unpaid, and you never know what is on sale in the meat department. And that is the stuff that matters to me!!
So here I give you: The Home Management Binder!
This binder has been a game changer for us. Whenever we need to find information that will be referred to again and again, my husband knows to look in this binder. If we need his on call schedule at a glance, there it is.
And the best part is this binder can be whatever you want it to be for your family. Add or delete categories until you find the perfect combination for you.
A note of warning though: this binder should not be used as a long term storage location. You should routinely go through it and make sure that everything is current and necessary. It serves as a fantastic place to store items that will be needed for this season, and keeps you from having to file them and go get them every time you need something quickly. But we do not want it to become yet another place for clutter to gather.
So I am going to show you how I set up my binder to work for us, but remember that you can completely customize this to work with whatever you have going on in your life.
Let's dive right in!
My categories are as follows:
I have chosen these categories based on what works for us. Categories have been added and deleted throughout the past few years as we have grown into a bigger family and moved to a new location. But the general ideas have stayed the same.
My husband and I do most of our budgeting on the Every Dollar app. If you do a paper budget and have not yet checked out an app for your budgeting, I highly recommend it. The app is from Dave Ramsey, and checks all the boxes that a great budget app should. We do keep a few things written down on paper and this is what stays in our budget tab.
We use a sinking funds tracker to keep track of the breakdown of our money in our savings for upcoming expenses. I update every time money is taken out or added in. We also keep track of our RESP/RRSP statements in this section, as well as a monthly net worth tracker. I love having everything we need for our budget right at our fingertips.
Sunday school or upcoming class information goes under this tab! I also include any church membership correspondence, bulletins or printouts that could be of use in the future. This is also a great place to store the applications for kids summer camp!
Right now our community info category is quite bare as we have just moved to a new area. As we gather our favourite restaurant menus for takeout, business cards of useful professionals in the area, and neighbour information, this will all be filed into this area of the binder. Very handy when you know you had the electricians phone number but can't remember where - now you have it in the binder!
We use this tab for everything from our appointment tracker (pictured here) to keep track of physician, dental, optometrist and other miscellaneous appointments, to vaccination records and school fluoride treatments. I also keep any upcoming requisitions in this area. Anything health related that may need to be referred back to during the year goes to this category.
This category is such a huge lifesaver for me and has become a staple in our household for the past 5 years. I use a Christmas planner to keep track of favourite recipes, gifts given, budget, holiday decorating, favourite traditions, meal plans and, of course, my Elf on the Shelf plan for the season ;)
I use this tab throughout the year to jot down ideas or Christmas travel plans and it is all in one handy place.
You can also include any Valentines, Easter or other holiday plans you have coming!
I am notorious for painting a room and forgetting what colour it was. Then a few months or years later I go to touch it up, sure that I am using the right colour and have to fix a much larger patch. This section of my binder has saved me! As we are in a new home, I have only written down the colours of the rooms I have updated, but will add to this as I go. It is a lifesaver!
This is also the spot I include any magazine pictures that I have torn out for inspiration, or any great articles to do with my home decor. This way I can recycle the entire magazine but know where I've stored the photos I loved. This is my fun little inspiration tab :)
For a long time now I have used Pinterest for most of my recipes as I'm sure some of you do as well. However, there are a few recipes that I use so often that have become a staple in our home, and these get printed out and put in the meals section of my Home Management Binder for easy referral. The fudge recipe you see here was printed for me by a very special person in my life and I have kept it front and centre ever since (P.S. - If you are looking for a fudge recipe, this is the easiest and tastiest recipe EVER). Meal plans will also go in here if I think they are worth saving that week (aka everyone actually ate the meals - sometimes that does not happen :) ).
I have been using Martha Stewart's seasonal home maintenance checklists for YEARS. They are the best when it comes to home maintenance. I keep these in my home category, as well as cleaning schedules, DIY cleaning solution recipes, and vacation home preparation checklists. Anything you feel is helpful for the upkeep of your home can go under this tab.
This tab serves to keep anything for me as an RN that I require, also any articles I deem worth saving for my practice. You could adjust this tab and entitle it "Occupation" if you wish and place in it anything you need to refer to quickly. For instance, my husband has an on call schedule and this could go in the Occupation category.
I use this to store whatever my heart desires that is just for ME. Makeup tips I pull out of a magazine, the best DIY foot scrub, and the awesome free printable you see here that I just got from my friend Bailey at Bailey Allen Makeup (if you haven't already, check her out on Instagram!)
Basically this is my tab for ME and no one else. Enough said.
We use this category to store any rules and regulations for sports our children or my husband and I are currently in. We keep application forms for upcoming races, hockey schedules, pool schedules and anything else that will be necessary to refer back to throughout the year.
Another one of my favourite tabs as I get to dream behind it!
We use it for holding upcoming itineraries, magazine articles about places we would like to check out, and tentative plans for travel. I also use it to store my trailer checklist (seen here) which I refer back to every summer and before every camping trip. I have also used it in the past to store warranties for luggage.
This tab is EXTREMELY useful if you are involved in any
volunteer organizations. We have used this tab for my husband's fire practice schedule, schedules for upcoming
music festivals or past programs for events we may need to refer to. This is also an excellent place to keep your criminal record check if you are required to have one for any volunteer positions.
Another of my favourite tabs! As I write this I see I have a lot. I did say I like organization :)
Okay if you have not heard me talk about them yet, I am a HUGE believer in capsule wardrobes. And this is where I do my planning! I have a list for every season of necessary items for myself as well as my kids and every year at the change of the season I refer back to what I used last year and create a new one for the new season! I keep track of wardrobe base and accent colours, as well as how many pairs of socks or pants the kids needed, and am easily able to make a new wardrobe plan for the next year.
I use this tab for everything that pertains to me keeping my plants in the yard alive. I am NOT a green thumb but am trying to be and with this part of the binder I keep new tree tags so I know when to water them and when to prune. I add any pertinent information I can find from Pinterest regarding my yard and put it in there! Other things you could keep in this area would be the name and number of the irrigation maintenance company, or any pool or hot tub specialty products or phone numbers.
And that's it!
This walk through is a taste of what I personally use in our home management binder. But the great thing about this is that you can substitute any category that suits your family and your needs. It is completely customizable! I have come up with a list of items you might want to add to your home management binder. Enter your info below to receive yours!
I hope you can use this breakdown of my Home Management Binder in your own home! My wish is that I can assist you in just a small way to take control of your home and bring peace and joy to your space.
Thanks for joining me and see you next time!