Get Organized

With the start of the school year, my immediate goal is to shake off the summer slackies and get organized.  Currently, my “system” consists of jotting a few notes on random pieces of scratch paper and losing them in the pile of stuff on my desk.

So effective. {rolls eyes}


And eye-appealing. {snort}

When I put out a Twitter all-call, I was alerted to some fantastic organizational tools.  Check these out; I know I’ll be trying out a few, and I’m sure one or more will meet your productivity needs, too!

  • Simple Mom’s download page has several calendars and checklists.
  • Problem Solving Mom shares a tutorial on how to make your own custom planner sheets using exel.  I may get brave and try this for my kiddos’ chores and morning/evening routines!
  • Everything Mom also has great resources for home management.  Thanks for sharing, @bitofmomsense!
  • List Planit is a site with over 400 lists to put your life in order.  They are currently offering a free trial membership.
  • Extra Sprinkles Please has a computer passwords cheat sheet along with a grocery list.  Great stuff!
  • Stephanie also has several helpful home management forms available.
  • Phoebe alerted me to  They have a variety of calendars to print for free.  Maybe I’ll stick one on my fridge for menu planning purposes.
  • Mom Advice has some great printables, including an exel budget planner and diaper bag checklist.

The phrase that I keep hearing over and over is Home Management Binder.  I never in a bazillion years would have thought to create a binder to keep my life organized, but I’m going to give it a shot.  (It has to be better than my current system, right?!)  Here’s what I think I’ll include:

  • Monthly Menu Plan (I’ll probably still plan a week at a time, but with a full month in my face I can work ahead as I think of meals or find bargains at the store.)
  • Grocery list.  Not sure how this is going to work, because I actually like my current “small notepad in the kitchen” system.  Easy access.  Maybe I shouldn’t mess with a good thing.
  • Master Weekly Cleaning Checklist similar to this one.
  • Calendar to keep track of the extra kids in my house.  This is really important since they don’t come on a regular schedule.  I have to keep track of my hours.
  • Daily and weekly to-do lists.  I really like this Daily Docket concept.
  • Wish lists.  I have one hanging inside a cabinet door in the kitchen.  I like to add to it when gift ideas pop in my head.  Beats trying to think of something at the last minute, and then I have time to search for it on sale!
  • School calendar, ball games, programs, etc.
  • Extended family birthdays, with a list of the gifts I’ve picked up ahead of time (on clearance, of course).  😉
  • Computer passwords.  If something ever happened to my computer (where I have them all stored) I would be in serious trouble.  A hard copy would be a very good thing.

Do you have a Home Management Binder?  What works for you?  Help me create and organize mine!  What is in your binder?  How do you stay organized and motivated to maximize productivity?  Please leave ideas and links in the comments, and/or hop over to my BlogFrog forum where we can chat about some details.

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  1. I don’t have a home management binder, mainly because our former 800-sq ft apartment didn’t require much management. I could practically sit on my sofa and swiffer the whole house aside from the bedrooms.

    That said, I now have to figure out how to manage a 2800-sq ft home without becoming overwhelmed! Thanks for all the links, I’ll definitely join you in putting together a binder.

    One more thing, I menu-plan weekly as well, but I’ve found that using a monthly calendar helps keep track of when you last ate a certain meal (otherwise I’d be making the same things every week because my memory for such things is horrible). Works great for planning ahead too!

    I need to join your Blog Frog, this would be a great topic to keep track of there!

  2. Since we are also back in school, I’ve been on a mad dash to become re-organized. My system last year didn’t really work well for us, so I’m revamping. I’ve put up a dry erase/cork board combo in plain sight for us to keep track of upcoming things. So far so good!

    Thanks for compiling the list of resources, I can’t wait to check them out and get my binder finished up.

    Here’s to an organized year! 😉

  3. I don’t have anything like this, but I really need to get one together. I am in the process of putting together one binder for recipes, freezer and pantry inventories, and other kitchen oriented lists.

    I really want to start on a general household binder once i get this one together. I’ve been really amazed at how many valuable things I have found on Martha Stewart’s site lately. She has lots of lists:

    The ones that are a little beyond what I actually need at least serve for inspiration for my own lists.

  4. I made up a GREAT home management binder in the throes of the baby blues . . . and it’s collected dust for over a year. Time to shake it out and take another look, I think! My favorite part was that it spells out everything that needs to be cleaned in certain rooms . . . my mom didn’t involve us in that much, so I don’t really know how to clean (which sounds silly). Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I do have a home management binder. LOVE IT!! When I use it, it makes life much easier. When I get lazy about it, chaos creeps right in.

    Besides the list of things you are including I have a folder in there for take out menus, a section for addresses, contact phone numbers for businesses I use and my master menu list.

    A sturdy binder is a must!
    I have had mine for about 1 1/2 years and it is time to get a new binder. My binder does have a clear pocket on the front so I can decorate the front with family pictures.

  6. Thanks for the fantastic links and ideas. A binder never crossed my mind but I think I’ll have to try that! I, too, am on an organization quest because I just had my 2nd daughter in June and want to start a day care facility. I’m going to need some serious order. (By the way, my desk looks just about the same!)

  7. Thanks for the links! Our apartment definitely needs some managing, I will have to check them out!

  8. I do have a binder, although it is time to reinvent it again! I haven’t used it much this summer but am looking forward to getting back into routines and schedules this fall. I love my binder!

    My biggest way to stay on top of things is to have some planning time on Sunday evening. I plan my week, my grocery lists and menu, my goals, etc. When I do that I actually use my binder and get a lot done!

  9. I have a Flylady one, but need to get back to using it. Ugh!

  10. I have followed the Flylady system for 4 years now. It was a good way to start out simple and I have adapted to meet my needs since having a baby. The only thing I need to work on is a BUDGET!!

  11. I have a Household Binder, I posted it here Besides your list, I also have a Price Book for the grocery stores, finances and receipts.
    You are gonna love your binder, it’s great to get organized.

  12. That is my tackle for next week! Have a great day!

  13. has tons of free downloads too. My household binder is (like everything else in my life) a work-in-progress, but so far I think it’s helpful.

  14. Have you thought of keeping your Home Management Binder in the Cloud? Check out Office Live Workspace for a fantastic, free option

    MSFT Office Live Outreach Team

  15. What an INCREDIBLE idea. You have a planner for all other jobs. Why not one for the home? I love it! I’m going to start working on this!

  16. Wow. You inspire me!

  17. I don’t have one binder but I do have a system. On line, I use Money for budgeting, The Living Cookbook for inventory, menu planning and grocery list making and Excel to keep track of blogging projects. Offline, I have a binder to keep track of coupons and I also do binders for travel (which may make it’s way online now that I have an iTouch:-).

  18. I live and die by my Franklin Planner. I love it. I tried to go digital but I need to be able to write things down. I have a little, portable coupon book and a receipt book at home in case I need to make a return.

    Then I have the files.

    I have a file for each month and that’s where the paid bills go. Each dog has a file with info from every doctor visit they’ve ever been on. I have medical files on Joe and I. I also have files for all our appliances, repairs…you name it, I file it. Everything has a place.

    My other trick it sorting the mail everyday. Bills to be paid go in a file (they get paid on Thursdays) and all the junk goes right in the trash. There’s more but I think you get the idea. 🙂

  19. Wow, great resources! I am so completely unorganized. I’m hopeful one of these links will help me get it together. TFS!

  20. I made a binder a few years ago and it has made a huge difference. I also include a business card organizer and put all of our doctors, vet, home repairs etc cards in it for quick reference. I have the kids schedules for school and important numbers taped to the inside front pocket.

    I also keep a folder for when we are out of town with medical release forms signed and mapquest maps of important places for my parents since they don’t live around here.

    Lastly, I have an accordian folder with a slot for each of us, including the dog. It has our passports, birth certificates, ss cards etc. in it.
    hope this helps.

  21. I swear by my palm centro. Phone and all my lists in one place. I have spread sheets with my grocery list, memos, gift ideas, passwords….whatever a mom of 7, wife to one and home schooler to 6 needs to know. Right at my fingertips all the time.

  22. I’ve started putting my household notebook together (after years of saying I was going to) and I’ve been blogging bout it too. I have so much that I want to include in there that it’s going to take me awhile to get it all together.

  23. I seriously did a double-take with that photo– it looks just like MY desk! 😉 Thanks for the links! One site that I’ve found to be helpful is What you can do is make virtual notebooks and keep things organized! It was a great help when I was job-searching a couple months ago and needed to keep all my information in one spot!

  24. These are so wonderful. This tip comes at just the right time for me!

  25. I’m still working on mine! But it is going to be very similar to yours.

  26. I have shared my planner here

    But I want to say that the one thing that has made the biggest change for me is this: NEVER USE SCRAP PAPER. Have a place for everything in your binder and always write everything in its place the first time. You will never be searching through stacks of papers looking for that one little scrap -I think it was yellow, maybe- that had EVERYTHING you needed on it.

    =D Good luck!

  27. thanks for sharing all these great ideas! im going to check them out right now

  28. great list of helpful resources! Simple Mom is one of my personal faves. I just recently discovered for interactive online chore/behavior charts for kids with rewards & games…like Webkins, sort of.

    happy organizing!

  29. Thanks for sharing those links, I’ll be checking them out and bookmarking the ones that I want to come back and investigate more closely.

  30. A home management binder (I call it my Sanity notebook) is great! And you have listed fabulous sites for online resources as well!

  31. As organized as I like to think I am, I still need help from time to time! Kara Rozendaal, a professional financial planner and stay at home mom, has put together a home organizational binder. I love it! If you’d like to see what she has put together, go to her website:

    Thanks for all of your advice!

  32. I’m not much of a list person. But I do keep an agenda.

    Have a great day!

  33. I started working on my binder a few months ago. It has all the basics -pens, dividers, lists, but I want topretty it up a bit.
    One of these days I’ll get around to posting about it.

  34. I call my binder my brain–I needed one after pregnancy with my daughter. I now call it “Momma’s Brain.” As in, hold on sweetie momma needs to find her brain before we go to the store…
    I just broke it out today as I am organizing my entire house. Everything stored in numbered boxes with a corresponding 3X5 card numbered and all(most) contents listed in a little recipe box.

    now I have all my brain in one binder and all my stuff in a little recipe binder. This takes time to set up but saves loads of time when I need to find a seasonal item or baby item to loan. Oh, how I love organization–it seems that I have been organinzing since I was born but I have never been organized–maybe someday.

  35. Thanks for adding us to your list, sure appreciate it! Glad I found your blog, looking forward to popping in more. 🙂

  36. I have had a home binder for a couple of years, and I really love it. I have a section where I keep all contact info- my address book, business cards from companies that have provided good service, a list of most often called numbers (cause who has room in their brain to memorize them? Not me!) I have a meals section where I keep recipies and meal plans. I keep the old ones a while, cause they remind me of things that we haven’t had in a while. I have a holiday section, where I write down those special menus or activities that we enjoyed that may need to become a yearly tradition. I have a section for each of the kids where I stick stuff for school. It’s great cause I can stick something in there from the end of the year in May and pull it out again in August (or even later!) I don’t have to go hunting for it, it’s right there! I also have a Church section where i keep a copy of the directory and other stuff I might need. It’s a little bulging right now, and I need to clean it out once in a great while, but it saves me so much time. I always know where to go look for stuff, and where to stash paperwork that I need to get my hands on again!

  37. I have a home management binders. It’s not only helpful and organized for me but if something were to happen to me, my husband would have important numbers and other information all in one spot so he doesn’t have to search the entire house for all that he needs.

  38. I was happy to help, but I should take your great advice and get organized! I have a fridge calendar but that’s it!

  39. I’ve been working over the past couple of weeks to put together a binder for myself so that I can start staying a bit more organized now that I have so many irons in the fire. I’ve found that I need a “week at a glance” calendar in addition to my monthly calendar to better plan how my week is going to work out. I’m planning to add a homeschooling section in the next week or so (since we’re starting school 9/14), and I’ll probably add a tab for the Bible study I’m teaching on Wednesday nights to keep myself organized and have it easily accessible at my finger tips during “down time”. I also keep a running list of my coupon database here, and I am hoping to revamp my Q organizational methods to be included in this binder as well. My goal is to have a “one stop shop” that is easily portable and becomes an extension of my hand/arm.

  40. I am soooo on the organizing bandwagon right now! I finally cleaned out my bedroom and brought 2 boxes of stuff to our churches rummage sale. Next up is my office! Yea – looks kinda like yours with 3 guitars, a keyboard, and all my craft stuff laying out. It’s rather ridiculous!I July I started working on my own binder, but umm… got in the way a bit! In it now is just my July and August calendars. Hmmm, it’s now Sept. 5! My goal this weekend is to get working on it!

  41. How nice to see my web site password sheet added to your list! Thank you. I love the convenience of creating fillable PDFs that you can type, print and add to your binder. Wonderful visiting your blog as well. I’ll be back soon!

  42. Why be organized?

    You must first understand the fruit in having everything you touch represent you. You are your own brand. In business you have to build a brand, a name. How you look, how you carry yourself is important; these things communicate your true brand. It all begins with how you manage your life. It is important to have an organized mindset, organized behaviors; at home, at your business, it all matters.

    Visit my blog site and post your comments on what you do to stay organized:

  43. Hi there. It looks like some of your organizational and filing needs could be solved with the use of some clever software! There are a lot of options for filing software. We do document management and filing for a living with clever twist. The Paper Tiger Filing System is a proven tool and we are ready to help you in any way we can to meet your filing needs!

  44. Long time since this was written, but here goes…

    Regarding passwords, I was incredibly frustrated by the pages of account information i had written down. From pinterest, etsy, and cooking sites to my bank and credit cards it has got to be at least 50 separate accounts. And don’t even mention password changes. Finally my DH came to the rescue. He set yours truly up with a free (!!) Lastpass account. I was nervous, but its highly recommended by pretty trustworthy sources cnet, cnn, etc. .

    We recently had a laptop stolen. I’m so so glad we had last pass. We were able to ensure that no one got into our online accounts. What a relief. I was also able to set it up soe my financial sites don’t have the same login as my less secure sites. And, its quick to change or add new info and sites. Oh, and you can share account info with other members
    Such as DH.

    Anyway, i sound like an infomercial. I hope that helps!


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