Organizing in Small Spaces: Family Planner & Household Binder

by Katie on January 11, 2013

In addition to my Motivated Moms chore planner, I also rely heavily upon my family planner and my household binder.  As I mentioned at the end of last year, I utilize the Erin Condren Life Planner to keep track of our family’s appointments, schedules, and events.  This customizable planner has everything I need to keep our weeks running smoothly (you can read more about this planner here).

The third main key to staying organized this year is our household binder.  This binder helps me keep all of our family’s essential paperwork together in a coherent fashion.  Between sign-ups for baseball and dance, homeschooling tests and worksheets, catalogs from various homeschooling vendors, recipes I want to try, and flyers from upcoming events, there are far too many papers floating around our household.

And to be honest, piles of paper are not just annoying; they are counter productive to efficiency and frugality.  Because after all, time is a very valuable commodity.  The proverbial saying rings true – time is money.

Creating a multi-functional household binder has been a huge help in keeping our family organized.  Each category houses papers that our household uses on a routine basis or would need in the foreseeable future.  Within the binder, I created the following categories:

Schedule

This category includes our family’s daily routine, as well as a running list of things to be accomplished on either a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  I keep an updated list of goals that our family is working towards in this section as well.

School

In the front of this section, I have an updated daily school schedule for quick and easy reference.  I also keep a listing of our classroom rules, our goals and expectations for the current school year, and a listing of the curriculum materials we plan to use throughout the year.  Additionally, I keep running lists of lesson plan ideas, creative writing prompt ideas, books we either loved or would still like to read, as well as a listing of helpful articles, resources, and websites.

House

In this section, I keep the printed sheets from my Motivated Moms Planner, as well as a list of projects that need to be accomplished around our house.

Meals

At the beginning of this section, I have a master list of all the meals our family has grown to love over the past decade and a half.  Behind this listing, I keep blank menu planning sheets for the upcoming week’s meals.  Plus, since the dividers have pockets, I place the loose recipes for the current week in the pockets for easy reference.

Finances

This section includes our family’s monthly budget, our financial goals, and a running list of both current and upcoming expenses.  I also use this section to keep tabs on our monthly variable spending (a.k.a. – our envelope money).

Inspiration

I love coming across inspirational quotes, funny stories, or meaningful snippets.  This section allows me to hold onto those most meaningful articles, without having a pile of clutter sitting around, collecting dust.

Blog

As suggested by the heading, this section contains everything blog related.  Whether it’s ideas to post about, my weekly posting schedule, or helpful online resources, this divider holds it all.  It’s a simple way to keep myself on track.

In the back of the binder, I keep all of my blank forms, articles I’d like to read through (although not necessarily keep), and ideas for frugal family fun within the Greater Cincinnati area.  And that’s it.  A compact binder that holds our family’s “stuff” all together.

Next week, I’ll be tackling the living room.  Since our front entryway connects directly with our living room, this is one area of the house that needs to stay “put together” at all times.

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