Paper clutter. I swear it takes over everything: counters, tables, desktops… It’s everywhere. Think of everything that comes into our lives every day: mail, kids’ homework/artwork, permission slips, flyers, brochures, newspapers, reminder cards; the list goes on and on. I know the refrigerator can be a prime location for keeping the important stuff in view, but, seriously, I would never find anything if I put it all on my fridge. A couple years ago, I found the perfect solution: A Family Binder. It has been a lifesaver… and time saver. I can find the important paperwork I need, all in one place.
Here’s What You’ll Need
Think about all the lists and documents you use on a regular basis… or would like to use on a regular basis: budgeting tools, school forms, chore lists, sport schedules, etc.
Group these items into like piles.
Using your dividers, label each according to the “themes” of your piles.
I decided to use clear sleeves for some items in order to protect from them from spills, and they allow me to use dry erase markers on frequently used lists so I don’t have to print new ones as often.
The sections I have included in my binder are:
- Chores: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, & Bi-Annual Chore Lists
- Weekly Menus
- Addresses: An Excel Spreedsheet of Addresses for Friends and Family. (This helps SO much when I need to send a quick thank you note or address Christmas Cards.)
- School Information: Lunch Menus, Bus Stop Information, Children’s School Schedules
- Budget Sheet- I know there are many programs that allow you to keep your budget on the computer, but I’m a paper and pencil person when it comes to the budget. #oldschool
- Gift Giving List- Years ago, my husband and I realized that we were spending well beyond our budgeted amount for gifts, so we created a list of all the gifts we give over the course of a year: birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, weddings, showers, Valentine’s Day, Easter… We set a maximum amount to spend for each person at each event. For example: We will spend no more than $____ on each child for Christmas. We will spend no more than $____ on our moms for Mother’s Day. You get the idea. Once we had a realistic view of our expenditures for the year, we were able to budget accordingly. We made a list of these “maximum amounts” for reference.
- Information Sheet for Babysitters– This is one of the forms that I keep in a plastic sleeve, so I can update it whenever we have a babysitter come to watch the kiddos.
Other Ideas you may want to include:
- Calendar OR an “Important Dates” Page
- Daily Schedules
- To Do List
- Grocery List
- Password Tracker
- Business Card Holder
- Sports Schedules… for your kids, yourself, or your favorite team
Obviously you can put a lot of things in this binder and make it as elaborate, or as simple, as you would like.
Here’s to less paper clutter on the counters 🙂
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