"Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home for there the heart can rest." -Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Organizing with binders: Minimize the mess!

Lately, I've been busy doing plenty of organizing like creating a household binder with dividers. It's the perfect solution to minimize paper clutter that was piling up like crazy in our office and on top of the dining table. For years, I've tried a variety of methods in getting more organized but nothing I'd stick with. In conclusion, I love the binder system and it really works! I keep everything from our calendar, daily meal plan, grocery list, to-do list, take-out menus, important phone numbers, medical records, manuals, warranties and special dates like birthdays and anniversaries.

A couple months ago, my husband used the checkbook and he couldn't remember where he placed it. I spent half an hour wasting time trying to find our check book. I grew tired of constantly looking for something … therefore, another practical binder for our 'finances' was born. Inside I keep a calendar, bills to pay separated in clear sheet protectors (so we won't be late again), paid bills for the last 3-4 months, budget worksheet, receipts, important documents, taxes, bank and insurance papers, checks, postage stamps, a few envelopes, return address labels, pens and a calculator too. 

Our office is not only small but a DISASTER. We used to take forever to find important things. Last time it took me less than a minute to pull out the cell phone bill receipt! Dear hubby was amazed. So then my organizing OCD kicked in (what Bryan calls it) and I made another binder solely for recipes that I keep in the kitchen. You know how sometimes we print recipes, maybe someone gave you a printout, or you clipped recipes from magazines? I began to sort them all with dividers. I'm still in the process of compiling recipes, I have a lot of them.  

One time, I saw a lady at the market and she passed by me. I glanced at her for three seconds. I noticed in her shopping cart, she had a large binder where she kept coupons in clear sheet protectors. The woman gave me an idea … I've been wanting to use coupons for a while – I had a whole bunch collected in a manila folder, many of them were expired, so I finally made a coupon organizer. I already owned a 5 x 8 binder, it's compact and I rather carry that with me to the store. Inside my binder is a small pouch for calculator and pens. 

I've been using the coupon binder for a month. It's simple to use and helps you see the coupons clearly. Of course, I categorized them with dividers too. We're saving cash on groceries, restaurants, clothing, and craft supplies too. We're currently living on one income and in this terrible economy, it makes sense to learn how to save and be frugal. For free printable coupons, check out the links below. I thought I'd share! :) 

I'm a happy homemaker and I like being productive while saving time. One of my goals this year other than to get in shape at the gym is to become more organized. Life is sweeter when you stress less. 

If you're wondering how to make a household binder, it's easy and affordable. All you need  is a heavy-duty binder along with dividers, plastic sheet protectors, note pads, 3-ring paper hole puncher, and a pouch for calculator, pens and highlighters. Plastic folders are optional for keeping manuals, warranties, or important brochures. 

We also keep three portable bins in our home. One is an inbox assigned for sorting mail, bills, etc. then I can designate where each item go later, a shred pile and a recycle bin. When the portable recycle bin gets full, we take it outside to the big blue bin. While sorting papers, you can then separate the trash. Older paid bills, bank statements, etc. can be archived in a filing cabinet or expandable filing folders. As needed, you can toss confidential papers later in the shred pile.

I'm a graphic designer so I designed and customized some of my own binder templates like the daily menu plan where you can fill in the date. I cook mostly everyday. The menu plan is nothing fancy and I converted it to grayscale to save on ink. Go ahead and print my template if it helps in any way.

There are tons of organizing resources and nice templates online you can download for free. Here are my favorite links to get you started:


There are no rules or particular style on how to make a household binder, it's entirely up to you to organize your way. Just be sure to keep up with the papers and use your binder or binders ( I made a few) regularly.

With my organizing quest, I became inspired to create a garden binder and seed packets organizer. Yay spring is around the corner and I'm getting ready to start planting! I'm looking forward to sharing my garden journal with you. It's exciting … stay tuned.   


  1. I am in the process of doing my spring cleaning and could use some organizing of a few things too. I will use some of the links you have provided to see what I can come up with. Years, I mean years ago I put all of my recipes in two binders and that in itself was a week project. But it has really helped me to keep them accessible. Also I make sure to make the recipe once before putting in the binder, no more saving until I know I want it.

    Thanks for the motivation!

  2. Thanks for visiting Carla! You're welcome and I'm glad you stopped by here. I hope the organizing links help. I'll be posting about my new garden journal and seeds organizer soon. I've been doing a lot of planting, I'm so happy spring is here!

  3. Hi, I'm with an online vintage dress boutique called Shabby Apple (www.shabbyapple.com) and I adore your blog. Shabby Apple offers affordable, stylish attire perfect for a day at work or play, or a night on the town. We would love to partner with you and offer your readers a 10% off coupon as well as the opportunity to giveaway one of our dresses on your blog. Please check us out at www.shabbyapple.com and let me know if you are interested.

    I look forward to hearing back from you soon!


    Chelsea Wakley

    (this is only open to US residents, if this is not a possibility please let me know)


I'm glad you stopped by. I love reading your comments and thank you for taking the time. Have a wonderful day! :-)

♥ Priscilla