I found a cover page and spine for my binder here (why re-invent the wheel right?), affixed them to some scrapbook paper and found a binder with sleeves on the outside so I could just slide them right in. Then I have the option to change them someday if I like.
Inside front cover: I affixed a clear envelope (from my scrapbooking supplies) with photo mounting corners (also from the scrapbooking supplies) and in it is a note pad, pen, dry erase marker, YMCA passes, upcoming event and draw tickets, return address labels, Makenna's name labels for school, and other small items I don't want to lose. The pocket at the bottom is built into the binder and currently holds fast food coupons.
The first page is our "Caregiver Info Sheet" which lists all the important numbers
The first few pages of my binder are as follows:
The master phone directory, so all the phone numbers we regularly need are in one place and Jeff doesn't have to ask me, for the 569786th time, what a specific number is.
This "Online Passwords" sheet, which I think will be a great. I have a terrible time remembering certain ones.
A kids password tracker sheet just for Makenna and her websites. She is at the age now where she enjoys playing games on online sites like Webkinz, LPSO, Moshi Monsters, Petropica, etc. Each site requires its own user name and password and this is a great tool for her to keep track of them, and for me to keep an eye on what she's doing.
These really cute kids lunchbox notes.
Also in the very front I have our Garbage and Recycling yearly schedule and coupons.
I like coupons. I'm not an extreme couponer or anything, but if I see some for products I am likely to use, I save them. Up until now I have kept them all in my wallet...just a big wad of 'em. I liked the idea on another blog of using some plastic trading card sheets to keep track of them better and found some of those sheets in my local Dollar Store.
I like this set up, and the plan is that when I am making my menu plan and grocery list I can just flip through these at the same time. There will be the times that I am just "out" and come across something, when I could have used the coupon but won't have it because it's no longer in my wallet. But, I still think I will make better use of this system because half the time I can't be bothered to rifle through the stack in my wallet, or I simply forget. This way they are visible and right near the menu planning and grocery list sheets. The goal is to be organized and to better pre plan.
My Notebook is then divided into the following sections:
Fire Dept (My husband is a Volunteer Firefighter)
And Summer Activities.
In the calendar section I have monthly calendars as well as this Week at a glance itinerary, and this Daily to do this.
Meal Planning Section: I found this menu planning sheet here. It's just for dinners, which is all I plan out anyways so it works well for me. It reminds me to take items out of the freezer and asks me if I need to buy anything to complete the meal...which I can then transfer to my grocery list.
I slipped it into a page protector so I can just write on it with the Dry erase marker, which is much more eco friendly than photocopying a new sheet for every week, and it's also good for those times that plans change and need to be re written. I also have this "favourite recipes" and "recipes to try" master sheets where, at one glance I will have access to a variety of meal ideas.
In my grocery section I have this master list, which Jeff and I can just tick items off on throughout the week as we realize we need them. I also have a master Price Book sheet. The purpose of this is to compare prices of specific items from store to store. So for example, we quite often buy fruit cups for lunches. The idea with this sheet is to record the price of them from both local grocery stores so I know where the better deal is. This sheet will also work well for me when shopping at Costco; I can record the prices per unit size of items from the regular grocery stores to see if in fact it is a better deal to buy at Costco.
I also have these Freezer Inventory and Pantry Inventory Master Sheets.
In the Fire Dept section I have the list of contact info for all the firefighters as well as the meeting schedule. It was on the fridge (like so many other things) and I feel better that it's in here. Less likely to get ruined, or coloured on or lost.
I am hoping this sheet in our Finances section will help me to feel more on top of our monthly bills. They always get paid, I just think this sheet will help both my husband and I feel much more organized about it.
I found some great sheets for the Holiday Section; this Gift Tracker, Gifts to Make List and Holiday Baking Sheet. I know I am going to very much appreciate these during the Holiday season.
In the Cleaning section I have a few different master lists; this one, this one, and one from a manual we got when we bought our house, outlining a yearly maintenance schedule.
The "Summer activities" section will primarily be where I collect the info sheets for summer camp/activity options for Makenna. Having them all neatly organized in one place will make it much easier for me when it comes time to make decisions about what she will be doing this summer. If she decides to play soccer or baseball I will keep her schedule and any other info here as well.
The back inside cover of the binder has a folder for take out menus (Pizza, Chinese, etc), the rest of the trading card sheets and this info sheet.
I sat Jeff down and showed this binder to him, page by page. Now he knows where everything is, and (in theory) will feel much mroe informed and able to figure some of this stuff out on his own, now that he knows where to find the info.
I feel good about this binder and am glad I was a part of this challenge. The only costs I incurred were for the page protectors (I bought a pack of 50 because I needed some for another project) and the trading card sheets - both of which were available at my local Dollar Store. I think my binder will continue to evolve over time. It's not as "pretty" as I'd like it to be, but at this point I'm just happy it exists!
There are so many awesome free printables available online. Even if you don't make a binder, you could post them on your fridge or any other area of your home that would work for you.
A few of my favourites sites:
Here is the link to the Bowl Full Of Lemons Home Management Binder Challenge. At the bottom you will find links to a whole host of other bloggers who undertook the same challenge. Browse through them if you like.
Looking forward to next week's challenge!