Organization: Home Management Binder

I've been looking for a system to keep our home running smoothly for a few months now. Goose is at an age where she will go off and play for a bit independently, allowing me to do things around the house in more concentrated bursts. Of course, I'm usually standing at the kitchen counter so her sticky little hands can't grab whatever it is I'm working on, but still...

I recently stumbled upon the concept of a home management binder, or control journal. I'm amazed. It definitely appeals to my OCD/organization side and my longstanding love of office supplies. I made it my project of the week and decided, after looking at several sites (links below), what I would need in my binder. I also used the kitchen counter as inspiration. It has become my desk and is usually covered in papers. Not conducive to having guests over, preparing large meals, etc without significant work beforehand (read: shoving it all in a laundry basket and stowing it away on top of the washer).

Here's what I have so far.

At the front of the binder, I have a pencil pouch for pens, highlighters, and scissors. I have a pocket divider with "Action" items-- mail to discuss with J-bird, bills to pay, things to do that week. I also have a weekly to-do that includes space for each day for what I need to do that day around the house (laundry, etc) and dinner plans for the week.

Following those two important items, I have an index for each of the sections so that J-bird can just as easily refer to the binder as I can. It's for the home, and primarily but not exclusively mine.

Section 1: Calendars, Schedules, and Birthdays 
-printout of monthly Google calendar
J-bird and I started sharing one years ago and it's really helped our marriage. No, really. Each person can add appointments and each person can view it anytime they're connected to the internet. So simple.

-copy of Goose's music class schedule and contact info

-a year-at-a-glance calendar

-a birthday list with a pocket divider to hold birthday cards to mail.

Section 2: Meals, Grocery List, Freezer Meals Inventory
-printout of our monthly grocery list
I can highlight items as we run out so I know how much to buy for the following month.

-recipes that I will use that month (on loan from recipe binder)

-freezer meals inventory
Freezer meals save us on busy nights and will undoubtedly keep us from starving when Baby Boy arrives. 

Section 3: Cleaning
I've never really had a cleaning schedule. I've just cleaned as I've needed/had the energy. I've also struggled with not having a schedule because I don't want to be a slave to the schedule. Crazy. So I worked on a weekly list and added some monthly items to the list as well. I think this will help us when Baby Boy arrives so that whoever is doing the cleaning on that particular day will know what tasks need to be completed. And maybe my toilets will finally be clean all the time. Maybe.

Section 4: Financial
In this section, I have a printed copy of our monthly budget from YNAB and a pocket folder to store receipts that need to be entered.

Section 5: Contact Info, Other Information
-Frequently used numbers

-business cards in a baseball card page

-quick CPR reference

-newsletter from Division of Waste Management about what is recyclable and make-up trash days

Section 6: Goals
For something as important as our family goals for the year, this deserves its own section. We've written out our goals in three categories: Financial, House, and Personal. Working our way through them all, together.

Section 7: Home Maintenance, Auto Maintenance
-home maintenance checklist

-coupons for oil changes, etc and schedule of when cars are due for maintenance so we can plan/budget accordingly

Section 8: Projects, Ideas, Blog
This section is a random smattering of items, ideas, research for future home purchases/projects, pages ripped from magazines. My own little crazy section.

For inspiration/information, I referred primarily to these sites:
A bowl full of lemons (what a beautiful binder!)
Love to Save
IHeart Organizing 
I'm an Organizing Junkie
life...your way 


Do you have a system to keep your home/life running smoothly? What have you found that works?


  1. that's so interesting that you posted that b/c i'm on my way to walmart this morning to get supplies for this exact thing! we have way too many activities going on around our house and i'm beginning to lose track of them all. thanks for the info!

  2. Great, or OCD, minds think alike! I love my binder. Far from perfect, but a great start to helping keep things in order around here and keep my kitchen counter clear of paper.