Sunday, January 6, 2013

Creating a Home Management Binder in 2013

I talk a lot of talk on this blog about getting organized...but what I really need to work on is staying organized. I can't begin to explain how many times I have organized a space in my home, only to find myself re-organizing it months/weeks/DAYS later.

I know there are two very important factors that play into this:

1. I have kids.
2. I have a husband.

It doesn't matter how neat and tidy I make my closet, my husband will ALWAYS miss the hamper that is literally 2 inches away from where he dropped his dirty clothes on the floor. 

No matter how many times I rearrange my pantry to make all food easy to see and accessible, someone will always say, "MAAAAAM! (or JEEEENNN) Where's the peanut butter?"You know...the peanut butter that is seriously RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.

And of course, no matter how many times I organize the kid's toys or our little craft cabinet, stuff is always falling out all over the place and no one can seem to find the one random Matchbox Car they want or the box of Princess crayons they swear they had yesterday.


BUT...the one thing that has stayed organized and consistent in our home over the last year has been our Home Management Binder. So many professional organizers/blogs/websites talk about having one notebook or binder that is your central command station in your home. It's where you can keep schedules, school calendars, meal planning sheets, emergency contact lists, important information, etc. 

I had pinned so many great printables and binder options and even started a Pinterest Board for it. But in the end, nothing was ever exactly what I was looking for (or FREE). So I decided to make all my own printables to share with anyone that was interested!!

All of these fabulous printables have now been updated {as of August 2013} and are made to coordinate with our Printable Planner Pages. Click here for the updated downloads. All original downloads are still included in this post.

The great thing about searching Pinterest for a project like this is that there are so many other great FREE printables out there that you can add to your binder to meet your specific needs. In fact, the great thing about a Home Management Binder is that you can customize it any way you want! But in case you need a little more guidance, here is a little peek at mine, including links to some other printables I use:

The materials you need to get started are as follows:

1. An extra wide binder

2. Tab dividers w/pockets
3. Page protectors
4. Hole punch
5. Dry erase marker (I'll show you why later)
6. Pen/pencil to keep with your binder
7. Paper and a new printer cartridge :-)

Once you have all your main supplies, you can get your binder set up.

And of course choose your tab categories. This was actually kind of hard for me, because I wasn't sure how I wanted to divide things. Some people like to include recipes and home projects/crafts in their binder but because those sections would be out of control huge for me, I decided those needed their own binders :-)

So I stuck to some pretty basic tabs.

Let's break them each down shall we? I will also link to all the great printables and info I used in each one.


Under this tab, I included anything that was important for our family to keep track of:

I decided to create the Annual Appointments Calendar so that I could have a quick reference sheet to help me remember when to schedule biannual dentist appointments, jewelry inspections, yearly "Lady Check-ups", kids well-checks, etc. 

I am also using the Emergency Info page as my "Babysitter" page because it has all the necessary information they would need in the event of an emergency. I have also included some CPR instruction under this tab because that is something important for all of us to have on hand, not just babysitters. You can find those instructions here:

 I have also included an extra pocket folder under this tab to keep important prescription refill information. This is a lot easier than digging through my file cabinet :-)


For some homes, this section may need a binder of it's own :-) But because we are only dealing with preschool, tot classes for Blake, ballet, and a few other activities, this tab works great. I didn't use any printables in this section, other than a blank calendar for jotting other important activities dates that don't have their own calendar. You can find that blank calendar here:

Addie's preschool sends home a calendar each month, along with their Scholastic Book club forms, field trip and class activity information, etc. and I love having it one place. I also have Eric's softball schedule, the catalog for our Park District Classes, reading times at our local library, hours and events at the zoo, and any other activity flier or calendar we acquire :-)


Eric thinks it's hilarious that I have a "housekeeping" tab since all of it should be pretty self-explanitory. But I guess he forgot how much I love lists, even if everything on the list is already in my head. I came across some AWESOME cleaning checklists on, as well as Here are some of my favorites:

The seasonal checklists remind you of all the important cleaning tasks ahead, but also remind you to check other household maintenance items you might forget about (like checking smoke detectors). Eric and I are working our way through the Fall & Winter checklist right now and even he said it was helpful to remember to do these things.

You might also find that you just need your own blank cleaning checklist to designate your own tasks and I've got you covered :-)

I've also been using this tab for other housekeeping tips and tricks that I have ripped out of magazines over the years. I have been getting Real Simple for years so I have some great clippings of how to care for different types of fabric, how to treat certain stains, how to make your own household cleaners, etc. Again, it's just nice having all of this in one handy place.

This is also the section where your dry erase marker will come in SUPER handy. Instead of printing countless sheets of checklists, especially ones you will use on a daily/weekly basis, put your lists in a page protector and check off your chores with a dry erase pen.

Then you can just erase and start over when you are done!!! Go green people :-)


I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for ripping exercise routines out of my Fitness and Women's Running magazines in the hopes of actually doing them. But then of course I stick them somewhere and when I actually have the motivation to do them, I can't find them! So now I have a handy place for those, as well as any other health and fitness clippings I collect along the way.

I know that "Health" is in the title of this tab, but I have decided to keep all important health/medical information in it's own file in our cabinet. This section is more for basic health and fitness, so I have included some food logs, calorie counters, and other things I have collected along the way. I also see that a lot of people keep their exercise logs and running logs in tabs like this. I use my iPhone for that, but I am sure there are some printable logs online.

This is also where I will keep all the fliers for the races I plan to run in the future, along with a "Race Calendar" so I can set goals for the year :-)


Like I said, I am creating my own binder for recipes because I have WAY too many to stick in this one section. So what I have decided to use this for is menu planning and party planning. I will also be adding all of our take-out menus to this section as well.

I did come up with my own Weekly Menu Planning Sheet with shopping list, and you can download it here:

But while I was on a cleaning mission last week, I came across this fabulous menu/grocery notepad I purchased fromMomAgenda ages ago! It has a side for the weekly menu, and then the grocery list is perforated so you can rip it out and take it with you to the store!!! So much smarter than my large list that I have been taking with me! And, it fits perfectly in my pocket divider folder :-)

As you can see, the grocery list is really only big enough for one weeks shopping trip, so if you really want a great comprehensive shopping list, you can print this one for free at MomAgenda.

Grocery Shopping List

I've also seen lots of printables for pantry and freezer inventory, which I guess is pretty smart (if I would take the time to do it). OrganizedHome has a few nice ones to work with.

Pantry Inventory
Freezer Inventory

As I said, this is also going to be my party planning and entertaining section because it makes sense to me to keep those things together. MomAgenda also has a great free printable for party planning and you can find it here:

The number of printables I've found for this category is incredible! If the ones I've included aren't what you are looking for, just Google free printable and you will find a million. These are just the ones I liked the best :-)


If you read my blog at all, you know that the majority of the traveling that Eric and I do is in our camper. But of course, I have an entirely separate binder for that :-)

But if you are planning a big trip for this year (or next) it is helpful to have a place to jot down all of your plans. Here are a few printables I found to help with that.

Vacation Planning
Travel Packing Checklist


My FAVORITE tab!!!!! Of course, over the last year I have made all of my own Christmas Organizing Printables, but you can find plenty others online as well.


Well I hope you all found this post helpful!! If you are like me, you are in full-on organization mode right now and starting with a Home Management Binder can really help you out this month, and all year long!!! 

Happy Organizing in 2013!

Linking up for "Hey! That's Pin-Tastic!"

i love you more than carrots


  1. Stopping by from the link-up!

    This is Fabulous! Look how organized everything is. You go Girl :)

    Check out the superhero canvas and hair clip holder I made! They could be fun projects for your darling kiddies!

  2. I love this! I have been looking for a way to organize all the lists I make. Thanks Jen!

  3. You need one more list RACES I have run!!!! and will run for 2013 !!!!

  4. I LOVE YOU! Can we be best friends? ;-)


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