We use it almost every day. We know where to find it. We love how it keeps us organized. What am I talking about?! Our Household Binder of course 🙂
We established our Household Binder about 6 years ago and haven’t looked back since. How we stayed organized without it is a question that still goes unanswered. It has become such an incredible resource and gets used almost daily. It has certainly evolved throughout the years from category tabs to the size of the binder, those change as our family needs change.
How To Stay Organized with a Household Binder
While everyone has different needs and desires depending on what stage of life they are in, I’d thought I’d share where we are at with our Household Binder right now. Here are the categories we have in our Household Binder now and why:
We keep our family goals in the front so we can see them often and review them throughout the year. I’m not sure about you but for us not seeing or reviewing the goals easily falls on the back burner. It’s great to write them down but it’s not going to do you any good if you don’t frequently look at them or review them.
Our login information and passwords sit here. We reference this page more than I’d like to, I always thought I’d remember the password but my age is catching up with me or it’s the mom brain. I’m going to go with the mom brain 😉 I’m not a fan of doing the password reset, I will try a password three times before I’ll finally decide to get the binder to see what the password really is. Anyone else agree that the password reset is kinda of a nuisance? The printable we use hasn’t changed it’s layout for years. I don’t even have that style saved anymore but it works for us and I’m a huge believer that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
We keep a printed page of return labels here. We keep them in our household binder because it’s a full page (8.5 x 11). We also keep extra blank pages here so when we need to print more, they are handy and ready to go. We used to keep them in another binder with other labels but when we needed more it was tough to figure out which ones we’d been using. We have a lot of different labels and if you’ve gotten the Avery branded labels, you know there are quite a few different types. It’s much easier to grab the blank page now that’s it’s in the binder. Then all we have to do is pull up the saved document, put the page in the printer and print!
Our oldest started preschool this year and this is where we keep all the information. We have the tuition schedule and school calendar here. We also have the Preschool Handbook in there.
Our youngest is in daycare. We keep all the invoices that we receive here. It’s easier for us to keep them all here and then at the end of the year, we put them in the tax folder. We used to file them in the tax folder right away but for whatever reason, some got lost in the shuffle. We also keep the Daycare Policy Handbook in there.
This is where we keep all of our pet information. We do have a printable to keep track of all the vet visits but honestly, we haven’t been updating it lately because there haven’t been too many vet visits. We typically keep the last visit of paperwork in there and reference it to see when the last visit was. We also keep all of the vaccination information in this file folder.
This folder is full of random stuff. For example, we have a local ranch by us and we keep their pamphlet in there because it has information about visiting the ranch, their website doesn’t have as much information, which is why we’ve kept theirs. Also in there is information on the GoPouch, I received as a Christmas gift, and its use and care guide on how to wash it.
All of our categories have labels on the folder tabs to easily identify them. We also use pocket folders because it’s easier to put the pages in there quickly. We used to use tab dividers and three-hole punch everything but it became more work. We’ve been able to save time because we just grab the binder, select the desired tab, and put in the document where it needs to go. It’s also been faster to access the information because we can take out what we need quickly rather than actually opening up the binder claps to take out what we need.
One category that used to be in there that is very common is Finances. We used to keep our monthly budget and bills in there but changed it out because we started using an app for our Monthly Budget (Every Dollar, it’s free!) We also moved our bills to a pocket folder on the inside kitchen cabinet so they were easy to access. This way we didn’t have to take out the binder every time we needed to pay a bill.
Related: If you’re looking for some spreadsheets and printables to keep your budget and finances in order, you should grab my Yearly Budget Workbook Planner!
Using this Household Binder has kept us very organized. Like I said before it changes and grows as we do.
How To Set Up Your Household Binder
The sound of getting organized can be intimidating and make you not want to start but organizing isn’t intimidating! The biggest challenge of it all is starting. Creating a household binder is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get organized. A household binder is kind of like your resume, it keeps all of your important information together and can be easily accessed. Just as you update your resume frequently, updating your household binder is important too because things change. Your household binder won’t serve a purpose if it’s not updated.
You’ll want to place it where it can be easily accessed every day, like the inside of a kitchen cabinet or on an office desk. Keep it in the same spot so you always know where it’s located.
Getting a Household Binder started is easy and here’s how you can do it:
1. Get a binder– Start with a 1″ binder, anything less than that is too small and anything bigger is too big. You can always reevaluate the size after you’ve been using it for a few months.
2. Get tab dividers. You can get standard tab dividers for paper or get the ones that have folder pockets. I prefer the folder pockets because it’s easier and faster to access paper and no three-ring punch is needed but it all comes down to your preference. If you prefer the standard tab dividers, make sure you have a three ring hole puncher as well.
3. Print Printables– Using printables keeps all of your information neatly organized and easy to find. Decide which printables you want in your binder and print them out. Once you have them all printed out, then write in the information. Gathering all of the printables first will help you organize your categories and what you want and don’t want in your binder. The most common and important ones for a Household Binder are as follows:
- Account Information– Keep all of your login information in one place. You’ll be able to access the information quicker rather than doing an endless search.
- Meal Planning– Planning out meals for the week not only saves you money but you also end of eating healthy because you’re sticking to a plan. If you don’t like to cook, meal planning can be tedious. As much as I love to organize and plan, meal planning isn’t one of my favorite things to do but saving money is. Using that as motivation helps make meal planning a little easier.
- Medical Contacts– If you have kids, keeping your pediatrician information handy makes life easier. Keep your insurance information in the same area as your medical contacts. It will be easy to reference if you need to call insurance or if the doctor’s office needs the information again.
- Monthly Budget– Tell your money where to go each month rather than wonder where it went. While I’m no financial expert, a monthly budget keeps you in check and gives you less stress. If you are looking for some great budgeting tips and ideas, Dave Ramsey is an excellent place to start.
- Address Book– It seems most people just have address books on their phones but having a physical address book comes in handy more times than not. There’s something satisfying looking at a physical list.
- School Information– Keep the school calendar or any event information here. As a new parent of a child in school, it’s overwhelming all the information they come home with, sort through what you need and don’t need.
- Pet Information– It’s really easy to forget when your pet had their last checkup especially if you have kids, the pets usually take a backseat. Keeping their last checkup information handy will be a reminder to schedule the next appointment.
- Family Goals– Having your goals in a place you always reference will help you stay on track with them. Keeping them on the inside pocket or the cover is a great place to put them because you will constantly see them. It’s one thing to write down goals but they serve you no purpose if you don’t look at them often.
4. Gather Account Documents– Get all the information for each category that has been mailed or given to you. If you have important documents from the bank or account information from another company they mailed, keep it here for an easy reference point.
Follow these easy steps and you are done! Start your year off with this fun and easy organizing project. If you already have a Household Binder maybe it’s time for a refresh!
A working mom to two with a third on the way. I’ve worked in Corporate America for ten plus years. Organizing has always been my passion and I realized how important and hard it was to be organized after returning to work from our first born.
Being organized and having a plan keeps me sane. After trying many Planners, there wasn’t anything that fit my needs as a working mom. The Organized Planner was created to help manage and organize personal and work life.
Organized Marie is a place for working moms to create simple, everyday organizing solutions for their home. Every working mom can have an organized, stress free home.
Here’s another Ultimate Home Binder you might be interested in if you don’t want to make your own:
This post is part of the 31 Tips for Working Moms series. See the rest of the posts here: