Does your home information stack look something like this?
Mine did too until I decided to eliminate the clutter and create a Home Management Binder! Now that we’ve discussed how to initially set up a home management binder, I’ll give tips and ideas on sections to include. In my personal binder, the first two sections are Important Family Information and Finances.
Important Family Information
This section includes a listing of important account numbers, pet information, fridge inventory, personal inventory, a gift tracker, and other important information such as home insurance and home warranty. At the start of the section is a folder that holds to-do items such as bills to be paid and things to follow up on (e.g. calling the insurance company). Behind each section is a velcro folder, and in this section, the folder holds my home insurance policy, home warranty information, and flood insurance information. The folder is a “catch all” for anything that is important that doesn’t fit into another area of the section.
Important Account Numbers: This is a listing of all important account numbers we need to remember, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, mortgage, and savings accounts. It lists the company name, contact phone number, and account number. View the template here: Important Account Numbers Template
Pet Information: As you may or may not know, I have five pets: three cats and two dogs. This makes for a pretty confusing time keeping up with who has had their annual checkups and appropriate vaccinations and when. This includes a one-pager for each pet listing their name, birthday, microchip number, breed, color/markings, vet appointment record (date, reason for visit), and medication record (date, medication given). I have found entering the information on this sheet to be so much more helpful than trying to keep the receipt every time I go to the vet. That gets unruly VERY fast. View the template here: Pet Information
Fridge Inventory: This sheet allows me to keep track of what is in the fridge and what we need to buy. I can list items that we have and check them off once purchased. This is a sheet that is good to frame and keep next to or on the fridge to act as a dry-erase running list of what you need. I use this sheet to make my grocery list at the end of the week. View the template here: Fridge Inventory Template
Personal Inventory: Similar to the fridge inventory, this helps us to keep track of personal items we may need to buy, e.g. deodorant, toothpaste, shaving cream, over the counter medications, etc. We typically make a Walgreens run once every two weeks, and this helps us determine what we really need. View the template here: Personal Inventory Template
Gift Tracker: This allows me to keep track of who I’ve bought gifts for, why, and how much I’ve spent. This is especially helpful at Christmas if you’re working off of a budget. It lists the recipient of the gift, what the gift was, the occasion, where it was ordered from, shipping date, was it received, and cost of the gift. This way, I can also look back if I need to remember where I got something and/or go back and look at the list for ideas for future gifts. I can also keep track of what I’ve given to whom so as not to give the same person the same gift twice. View the template here: Gift Tracker
This section includes my bill payment checklist, monthly Mint.com reports, donation information, and tax information. At the start of the section is a folder that holds receipts that need reconciling along with other to-do items, and in the velcro folder behind the section I keep tax information (W2’s, interest statements, etc.) and reconciled receipts.
Bill Payment Checklist: This is a simple checklist so that I can keep track of what bills have been paid for the month. It includes the date the bill is due, what the bill is, whether or not it’s auto-pay, and a column for each month so that I can check off when they’re paid. This gives me, at a quick glance, what bills I have already paid and what I still need to pay for the month. View the template here: Bill and Payment Checklist
Mint.com Reports: I’m not going to include my specific Mint.com reports; however, this site provides wonderful insights into where your money is going. The report that most interests me that I print out each month is the spending trends report. This gives me a pie chart of categories where I’ve spent the most money, a listing of the top categories and how much money spent in each, and which category houses the most purchases that month. This allows me to track our spending month to month and set budgets for the things that we spend the most money on. Mint.com allows you to link all of your accounts, e.g. checking, savings, retirement/investments, for free and then analyzes for you. It takes a little while to set up because you need all of your account numbers and info (about 20 minutes for me), but it’s absolutely worth it. Check it out!
Note that these sections and the templates included are things that I’ve decided to use because they work best for me. Different people have different ways of organizing, and by doing a quick search on Google or Pinterest, you can find a million different ideas. I’ve used my home management binder for January and so far for February, and I’ve absolutely loved it! It has made organization of simple life things so much easier and by writing down information on these templates, has allowed me to either throw away or archive a LOT of paper.
You could also take this 100% electronic and fill out the templates on the computer and keep them stored in a folder. Although I LOVE technology, when it comes to this type of thing, I’m a little old fashioned 🙂 It helps me to remember by writing things down.
Stay tuned for the next part of the Home Management Binder series: Health Information, Home Maintenance, and Home Projects!
If you missed the first post on Setting it All Up, you can view it here.
What are some things that you’ve done to organize yourself? I would love for you to share your ideas here!