One of my main goals in 2013 is to get organized and declutter. If you’re anything like me, you have papers and mail just piled up on your dining room table like this:
As you can see, I tried using a basket to halfway hide the unruly pile. I do have it organized by category – to be filed, need to respond, etc.; however, the pile can easily get out of control. Since these piles are making my table look ugly and taking up space, the first thing I decided to do with my decluttering goal is create my very own home management binder to organize the paperwork and give it a place to live. There are lots of pins on Pinterest out there about creating these, and I looked at a lot of different blogs to get ideas for the binder, templates, and what to put in it. After adding a few ideas of my own, here is what I came up with!
To start, I collected the following supplies (from Target and Walgreens):
- Five Star Flex binder/portfolio. I went with the flex kind because they can fit more inside of them, and I wanted to use some document envelopes.
- Pocketed write & erase tab dividers
- Sheet protectors (I bought a pack of 50)
- Colorful pens
- Mead colorful document envelopes (these came from Walgreens and they have a velcro closure so it can hold receipts and other small things)
- Organizeher magnetic clear tabbed folder (from Target)
- A couple of old 8×10 picture frames that I had hanging around
- Dry erase marker and eraser
- Hole Punch
Once all the materials I needed were collected, I went to work!
The first thing I did was go through the pile. I threw away anything that wasn’t needed anymore, archived/filed anything that I needed to keep, but didn’t need right at hand, and categorized the papers. I decided on these categories for the binder: Important Family Information, Finance Information, Health Information, Home Maintenance, and Home Projects. Most of the paperwork I have falls into one of these categories. After everything was organized, I printed all my templates, decided which colors I wanted to associate with which sections, punched holes in the folders, and put everything into the binder! Here is what the title page looks like:
I added my manifesto and practices so that I always have them handy. Each section is tabbed, and I used tabs with folders on both sides so that I can tuck in receipts, ads, coupons, and anything else that I need. I also added a Mead folder to each section. These have velcro closures to hold things that I don’t need as readily available or are worried about falling out of the binder, such as insurance information and important receipts. I have the double sided folders/tabs at the beginning of each section and the velcro folders at the end of each section.
Here are the title pages for each section:
I’m really happy with the way everything came out! Since it’s a lot for one post, I will have a series of posts listing each section of the binder and what I included. Stay tuned for templates like a bill tracker, important account numbers, pet health history, meal planner, exercise planner, cleaning schedule, and home maintenance log, among others!
I used the same information inside of my home management binder to make a couple of other things to get organized as well: a dry erase cleaning schedule and grocery list and a magnetic planner that I put on the refrigerator. If you don’t already know this, anything that is glass or plastic is dry erase, so you can be pretty creative! I took some old 8×10 picture frames that I had hanging around the house and framed my cleaning schedule and our food staples list. I hung the food staples list on our pantry, and we use a dry erase marker to circle the items we need to buy, cross off the ones we don’t, and to add additional things to the list as we run out. At the end of the week, I use this along with our meal plan to create our grocery list.
I also framed the cleaning schedule I created with daily, weekly, monthly, 3-6 month, and annual to-dos. I have a fancy picture stand that I set this in and keep it on the counter in the kitchen since that is where we keep all the cleaning products and typically the first place I head when I get home in the evenings and the last place I’ve been before leaving in the morning. When I complete a duty, I just check it off the list! At the end of the day or the next morning, I erase the daily list so that it’s fresh again, at the end of the week I erase the weekly list, etc. I can also add additional things on there as needed. It’s been extremely useful! Here’s an example of what it looks like marked up:
The other thing I did to get organized was to use the Organizeher tabbed magnetic organizer. I printed our events calendar for the month, meal plan, exercise plan, and fridge inventory, and I put it inside the page protectors. I then labeled the tabs and voila!, a dry erase organizer! With a dry erase marker, I can add additional things to the calendar, mark off the days, and keep track of what we have in the fridge. This little thing has proven to be extremely helpful! And again, since the plastic protectors are dry erase, I don’t have to keep printing things out, which means less work, so I’ll be much more likely to actually use it! Please excuse the printouts. My printer was running out of ink :-) Again, here’s an example of the marked-up calendar:
What are you doing to get organized this year? Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you to organize!