This organization binder has been a very long time coming. I’ve had $100+ Franklin Covey planners, dozens of apps, “Getting Things Done” inboxes and folders… You name it, I’ve done it. And then one day, I bit the bullet and made my own. Of course that wound up being the best for me because it is endlessly changeable and personalized to fit my family. It also cost us less than $10 for- An attractive 8 1/2 x 11 binder, 8 dividers, ruled paper and plastic sleeves. The write on tabs make changing my mind daily a possibility and the freedom has been lovely. For the shared calendars and todo lists, we use google calendar/ical and wunderlist, both free. These are discussed briefly below in case you are looking for calendar solutions of your own.
Home Organization Binder
Plenty of Paper– I have college ruled paper in the binder for all my plans and half worked out theories on just about everything. It really helps to have the freedom to get out ideas on a piece of paper that can be crumpled up if I hate it or stored in a divider if I think I am on to something. It’s also nice not to have to print everything off of the computer.
Clear Plastic Sleeves– If you every want to check off the same list daily, weekly, or monthly, invest in a small package of these. You can just write on them and wipe off at the end of the week.
Printables– For the things we do often, it’s nice to have a printable waiting for me at the necessary spot i.e. meal planning or baby tracking. I am really jumping on this train and have a list of printables I am waiting to make. (Master Costco list, a new cleaning list/schedule, packing for the different seasons, master trader joes list..)
Categories or Dividers– I bought Martha Stewart write-on dividers from Staples that are pretty and practical and somehow, cost less that the generic avery dividers. My personal categories include: Meals, Cleaning, Baby, House Projects, Garden, Charlotte, Goals and Dreams. I recommend reading Organized Simplicity if you are in need of some inspiration for additional dividers.
- Meals– we use the printable to see what we ate last week, and to streamline the planning process. This is also the home of a master meal list of our top meals. We are far too picky and we only have about ten we repeat every month, we are working up to more. (Printable coming.)
- Cleaning– This is where I keep a laminated cleaning schedule and recipes for all of our homemade cleaning and beauty recipes. It’s nice that anyone can look up a recipe for laundry detergent without pulling out a computer or device. I am also working on a list of common stains and what gets them out quickly.
- Baby– We needed somewhere to put the daily tracking sheets and any notes from the pediatrician or articles that we are trying to keep front of mind.
- House Projects– This list includes things like making shelves or paint swatches for various rooms, etc.
- Garden– We made the mistake of not mapping or writing down any placement of our first square foot garden box this fall. Big whoops. This divider would have been a godsend. At least we now have a place for all gardening notes and plans for our upcoming spring planting.
- Charlotte– Our toddler goes to various events throughout the week and we are looking into sending her to school a few days a week. This divider holds all of the calendars for school, story time, etc as well as craft, chores and baking ideas. It will also include a schedule for any future babysitters.
- Goals– We are aiming to have small monthly goals, six month goals and annual goals. These are attainable and worth writing down and checking back on throughout the month. One may include a savings goal or an eco-friendly goal like eliminating plastic from our kitchen.
- Dreams– This is my favorite category. It is for the pie in the sky ideas that keep me going. Vacationing in france, retiring early, starting a business, etc. The hope is that the dreams will get worked on and the ones that stick will transition to the goals category. It also include gift lists and ideas for each other, the kiddos and ourselves.
My husband and I keep a google calendar that syncs with ical and all of our apple devices. This is the best way to always see what’s happening with each other. We are both pretty good at keeping up with it and it’s nice to always have access to it. Paper calendars just were never that simple.
Wunderlist is free! And my husband and I can actually share lists. We share two: Household for chores and every day things that need to get done and Kids for things that are needed for our current and on the way little one. We can both add, check off and see what the other person has accomplished in the list. It’s also nice on the phones, etc for when we are out running errands or he is at work and I’m home. If you get the upgraded version, you can also assign things to each other. That isn’t a high deal to us, so we are happy with the free version.