Planning and organization are key to any happy, well-run household. This simple, easy to implement, great for everyone household planning binder system will have your life organized and on track in no time.
Planners, binders, agendas, and things like that are so popular right now aren’t they? I’ve always been kind of a planner geek so I’ve really enjoyed seeing the rest of the world finally catch up to what I already knew. 🙂 Well, actually, I think I was thought to be sadly behind the times for the last few years as I’ve continued to do a lot of my planning and scheduling on paper instead of a screen, so I’m just glad I don’t look crazy anymore for using an old-school grandpa-style day planner for all mu household planning and organization.
There are so many cute and stylish day planners flooding the market right now and they look so fun! You can get one in just about any color scheme you can dream of and they come with all kinds of stylish, glitzy, glittery accessories too so you can spend hours writing down every little thing that you could possibly ever need to do in life, highlighting it all in three color-coordinated shades of highlighter, and then adding in cute little gold-toned arrow flags to each page to help you find everything faster! And then never getting anything done at all. Because who has time to craft a fancy planner page for every activity/task and then also actually do the stuff that they need to do?
If you can’t tell already, I won’t be buying one of those planners. Been there, done that.
The problem with those fancy planners is that you can end up feeling almost afraid to use them because they’re just so pretty and perfect. And you don’t want to dedicate one of those pretty tabs to anything because what if you need it for something else later? And what if you can’t buy any more? And so the whole thing just sits in a cupboard somewhere collecting dust and never actually being used. I have tried to set up a cute household binder before and while some sections were very useful at certain times of the year, most of the time I was just afraid to use it or add to it, or mess it up.
About a year ago, I got smart and decided to free myself from the shackles of the need to have my binders look cute and I went ahead and bought some plain navy blue binders for all my bindering needs. And I have never looked back!
Today I thought I’d share my super simple system with you in case you’ve been looking for something that actually works!
So here’s my household binder. I get navy blue for business and home binders, and then I buy plain white for organizing the kids’ school papers. One binder per kid per school year. Easy!
I love using these plain-jane binders because there’s no fear about using them up as soon as I get an idea for something that might be best organized with a binder. There are always almost exactly the same that can be found at any office supply store, or on Amazon, or even at the grocery store a lot of the time. They look neat and tidy and no-nonsense and I love that. 🙂
Inside the binders, I use the plainest, most basic dividers that I can find.
I have a tab for every season in the front of the binder. Right now it’s fall, so I’m working through my fall checklists that I have pre-made in there. Basically it’s a bundle of 12 pre-made checklists that I put together to guide through the fall season so I can stay organized, have fun, and get prepared for the cold weather ahead in my home, family, garden, and life. I love them. 🙂
Behind the first set of seasonal tabs, I have another set of basic tabs for other areas of life that work well for bindering.
I keep extra sets of tabs so that I can always add more whenever an idea pops into my head. I love that I don’t even have to second guess whether I want to use up a tab at all! I can always get more for a few cents! 🙂
I have a tab for cleaning, which basically just has print outs of the checklist pages and a few other pages from my new cleaning book that will be coming out in January. My contacts tab is for mailing addresses and phone numbers of family and friends that I need to have access to every once in awhile. The appointments tab has all of our upcoming doctor, dentist, optometrist, and vet appointments listed, as well as any papers that we’ll need to bring to those appointments. The soccer and school tabs just have any papers with schedules and notes on them that I want to keep handy just in case.
This system is all about keeping things really simple and usable and also practical for real life, not some fake glitter-coated life that you feel like you’re supposed to be living when you scroll through Pinterest. 🙂 I know that I’ve finally found the household binder system that works for me because I find myself actually using this one! For real things too!
If I need to know a teacher’s email address? It’s in there! If I need to know when the next PD day at school is? It’s in there! If I need some guidance for how and when to plan for fall yard clean up? It’s in there!
And, as a bonus, I use my handy dandy label maker to write the subjects for each tab (this one looks pretty similar), so it keeps things looking super neat and tidy and makes me feel like just a little bit more of a homekeeping superstar! 🙂
I’m hoping to be able to put together some more helpful household bindering pages soon to share with you to make this whole thing even easier, so keep an eye out for those!
If you’ve tried the whole household binder thing before but have always failed miserably at actually putting it use, I definitely encourage you to start fresh with really simple, basic supplies, and then don’t worry about messing them up and actually using them. That’s what they’re for! I love having everything right at my fingertips in a way that finally actually makes sense and I know you will too!
Have you tried setting up a household planning binder before? What tricks worked well for you? What did you struggle with?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.