Using a family binder to stay organized
Please welcome my guest today, Michelle from Leaving Excess as she discusses how using a family binder helps her manage her household. Thanks for stopping by Michelle!
The Family Binder is the sort of thing that you don’t notice is there, but without it you would waste a lot of time. Trust me, once you have one, you will wonder how you lived without it!
The binder actually came about because I hate piles of stuff, especially paper laying around and getting things all cluttered. After I wound up tossing some papers that I wished I had kept, I started the binder as a way to keep those informational flyers and such that you need to refer to sometime down the road but don’t want all over the refrigerator or on your counters.
I use a binder that I purchased at an office supply store. On the front cover I put a title and then some quotes about family. This is my favorite: “Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories.” – John Wilmot.
On the inside cover is a pocket. I put often called phone numbers in that pocket (our cell phones, kids’ friends (super handy when calling the kids to come home), emergency contacts, school info). There are 9 sections to my binder, each one has a tab divider that is also a folder.
The first section is Household – this has things we need to refer to as a family or for the house. Things like graduation party invitations, reminder cards to call for a furnace service, etc. I also print up a form for all the kids’ schools that I can check off if they are coming late, leaving early, someone extra is coming for lunch, etc. and just sign and give the kids before they head to school – this seems to save us time! I do this each year and just print a bunch off to put in the binder to use as needed.
The next 6 sections are for each person in our house, by name. For the kids, I keep their information for school (calendars, email addresses, coming events) and activities (contact lists, schedules) in these areas. Each item has it’s own page protector, so I can sort through easily to find what I need. When the event is coming in the next day or two, I post it on the fridge and then toss it when it is over. I put invitations with the gifts (once I have them and they are wrapped), so we have the directions and phone number on our way to the party. My husband and I keep whatever we need handy in our sections and clean out our own periodically.
There is a section for Church, which has our schedules, religious classes and related information.
The final section is Other. It has take out menus (since we rarely use these, it is in the back) along with some owner’s manuals that are needed periodically (to reset alarm clocks, that kind of thing). When we were getting bids for some remodeling, we would keep that information in this section, too. Our recent ant extermination bids also went in this section.
Good times to go through and purge items are when a quarter ends at school, when the school year ends and when the school year begins.
We keep our binder in our kitchen on a bookshelf and that way everyone knows how to find what they are looking for when they need it. It really works well for us.
Do you use a family binder or household notebook in your home?
Michelle Schahn is a CPA, turned SAHM, turned somewhere in between. She blogs at Leaving Excess, where she shares her efforts to give up some of the things society tells us we must consume in order to be happy. Her sometimes reluctant, but generally cooperative family of six includes a husband and four kids.