Category: Home Management Binder

Project Home Management Binder Day 2: Tweaking the Command Center

As I mentioned the other day, I am working towards creating an efficient Home Manager Binder that will house pretty much everything we need to run our home/life more smoothly. (See this post to see the materials I am using as well as the categories I have chosen to include here.)
I also mentioned that we have a command center that serves
some of this purpose as well.

Here is a picture of our original command center.


Here it is after I added the chalkboards.
Now because I am truly trying to be deliberate in how I design the binder, I wanted to tweak our command center a bit to make it work even better for us.

The first little “tweak” was to paint the chalkboards using left over paint from our laundry room project.

With vinyl labels, I am able to quickly glance and check what
household chores need to be done each day.
(You can see more about how I came up with this chore schedule here.)

Although you may be thinking that wasn’t exactly necessary, I am a firm believer in creating a space to motivate you to want to maintain it.

I also bought these little fasteners from Walmart (which are essentially velcro circles)

and attached them to colored markers.
Since I have assigned each family member a color, this makes it so much easier to grab the marker I need to add to our calendar when needed.
I also found these cute lil’ magnetic clips (Target) to hold
various notes and messages.

Which leads me to our wall boxes, where I made a few minor adjustments as well.

Each person already had an “Info” folder to hold things to read or do at a later date. Just sort of a place to keep personal things we aren’t ready to get rid of. We also had an “Action” folder to hold things that need to be taken care of the next few days or so.
After talking to my hubs, I decided to make a “Mail” folder for him to hold his unopened mail, magazines, etc.
I added a “Creative Order” folder to my pocket to hold time, expense, and mileage sheets that I need to keep record on for my business.

The kids'”Info” folder is more for school info and such that changes monthly (i.e. snack schedule). The “Action” folder doesn’t get used a whole lot yet just because they are young and their “action” is typically my “action”. But the idea is that when they get a little older and hold more responsibility, this will be their folder of things like weekly homework, etc. that they need to act on.
I decided to add an “Artwork” folder for each of their boxes to hold little masterpieces they create (at home and at school) that hasn’t gotten hung up but that I can’t seem to let go of (quite yet anyway). It also holds it until I decide whether it is worthy of filing away long-term. (See our “Waterman Art Gallery” here.)

The middle “Pending” box is a condensed sort of Tickler File. I have a folder for each month of the year. This is when things come up that don’t need to be taken care of or referenced for a month or more down the road.

For example, I stuck the Winter issue of the Rec Center catalog in the January folder because I knew I would be needing it this month to sign the girls up for gymnastics.

 This honestly has been really handy and helps give those random papers that we don’t always know what to do with, a home.
For whatever reason, I don’t have a picture of the wall pocket below this but it holds a “To be payed/Take action” folder for bills or other things that need to be taken care of on my bill paying day and a “To be filed” folder for things that need to be filed away. I pay our household bills and use a program called Quicken to do so. I will try and do a post to describe our bill-paying method in more detail one of these days. Now that we do them this way, I would never do it any other way.

Last but not least, actually resides in our pantry. But I thought I’d revisit it just because you could also have these as categories in a Home Management Binder. It holds our Take-out Menu/Coupon holder (see more QD stores discount codes here) and a place to hold coupons before they’ve been clipped and put in my organizer (see that post here). Again, another way to get paper off of the counter. 🙂
Okay, that does it. I think I’m officially ready to start on my first category, Planning Ahead of my Binder. Join me next week as I do just that! There will be lots of printables! 🙂

Project Home Management Binder Day 1: Creating Categories and Finding Materials

I’ve been continuing to cross off my January Organizing Checklist a little at a time.
  1. Make/Work on New Year’s Resolutions/Goals (I’m probably not going to cross this one off just because it really is ongoing and ever changing. I don’t really believe in setting one or two long term goals without breaking them into manageable chunks and reflecting/editing when needed.
  2. Take Christmas stuff down. (See how I did that here.)
  3. Return or exchange any needed holiday gifts
  4. Write or make any necessary Thank you’s.
  5. Organize holiday cards. (See the holiday card place mats I made here.)
  6. Organize Photos. (I’m still working on creating our yearly photo books but I’m almost done. See my posts about organizing photos here, here, and here.)
  7. Find homes for new gifts. This one is still a work in progress. I had a plan as to where they would all go but as we all know, plans don’t always work when put into action. Stay tuned next month as I tackle some new projects in the play room again to accommodate my kiddos new interests and “stuff”
  8. Make annual doctor and vet appointments.
  9. Sign the girls up for gymnastics.
  10. Register Tessa for Kindergarten. (Happening this week.)
  11. Organize/de-clutter storage area. (This is also ongoing and something I am  hoping to reallytackle this spring–fingers crossed.)
  12. Create/Edit a Home Management Binder /Command Center


Which brings me to today’s post:

Creating a Home Management Binder.

You’ve probably seen a version or two of these all over blog land and truthfully, I already sort of had one. But it was just kind of thrown together and wasn’t really serving its full potential. So, I thought why not spend some time really making it work for our family? January seemed like the right time too–to sort of get all of our ducks in a row for the new year.
I’ve seen tons of different categories that people have used when making their own but since this isn’t for anyone but our family, I had to really think about what would be beneficial to us. We also have a command center that alleviates some of those categories as well (which I will discuss more as they come up.)

These are the categories that I plan to create/add to our binder:

Planning Ahead–This includes yearly, monthly, daily goals;  to-do lists; weekly menu/meal planning, etc. (I’m sure I’ll add more as I get into it.)

School–This is a section for my kiddos’ school info that I need to keep for any period of time.

Reference–This includes emergency info; other contacts; babysitter info; pet sitting info; home maintenance, etc. (Again, I’m sure the list will grow.)

Good Times–This will include holiday/birthday preparations; other celebration planning; Special memory/tradition log; vacation planning, list of special dates and occasions, etc.

I think that is it –although it will possibly change as I get deeper into it.

***There are a few other categories too that I either have already or plan to devote an entire binder to rather than just a section in the Home Management Binder. I will definitely discuss these at a later date. They include:

Medical–this is for all of our medical info, receipts, etc. from doctor or hospital visits as well as birth certificates, social security cards, etc.

Home Improvement–this is for the ever evolving projects that are consistently going on in our home.

Recipes–this is to house any recipes I find either online, magazines, family recipes passed down or just ones that I jot down.

Blog–this is for organizing my thoughts when planning and writing blog posts each day.

Product/Warranty Info–This one is a maybe for me. As of right now they are in a file box. However, I’m always looking for ways to make this one simpler. A binder might be a possibility.

Some other great ideas but have other places/systems for are:

Financial or Budget section (We use Quicken which takes care of all of this. This will be a post on its own—one day.)
Automobile log (I keep record of this in Quicken too as well as where I file our bills/statements, etc.)
Personal (We each have a file box in our command center for this. I’ll discuss this more soon.)
As I mentioned above, I want to create a binder that is meaningful/useful to our family. Which means I want to put some thought and time into putting it altogether. So, I’m going to break this project into smaller-more doable pieces throughout the month. You are more than welcome to join along. The idea is that by the end of January, I will have a central place to house pretty much everything that we need to manage our home/family efficiently.

Today’s task: Getting the materials.

I chose a pretty 3 inch binder. I debated between this and one with a clean plastic cover. I decided I wanted something that I could keep out if needed.
So pretty won. This one came from Target. (Shocker I know.)
This particular binder doesn’t have pockets inside but it has a little clipboard in the front that I figured I could surely put to good use. 🙂

The other little goodies I chose were:

hole-punched plastic folders
plastic tabbed dividers with pockets (you can never have too many pockets, right?)
clear page protectors

I also found some clear page protectors with tabs at Staples that I thought would be great to help divide my categories.

So that’s it for today. Remember–manageable chunks. Getting organized is a lot like losing weight: it’s about small changes that we can achieve and maintain.

Can’t wait to continue. Stay tuned!