Managing a home might be an underrated job, but it’s one that everyone needs to do on some level. Such a task usually falls largely on a housewife, but either or both halves of a couple should ideally have a part in making a home.
Unfortunately, teaching home management skills at school isn’t really a priority anymore, so many adults might find it a problem to run and manage a home when they really have to. Fortunately, there’s a lot of help available for this dilemma, especially if you know where to look. Aside from all the tips and tricks you can find, perhaps making a binder should be one of the first steps.
A home management binder might seem like a lot of work, but investing a little time now will save you a lot of hassle in the future. Those organized pages will hopefully help to avoid stressful situations and sort out your life a little better. There are even free printables online that can help you get your binder together in no time. Hopefully, this will help you improve your home management skills.
You still don’t want to print out everything that’s available, or try to do too many things at once. Let’s take a look at how you can get started on your home management binder in a simple, easy-to-follow manner:
Step 1: Collect What You Need
Before you start working on your home management binder, make sure you have everything you need on hand. You don’t want to make a trip to the store in the middle of this project; that can get frustrating and make you lose your motivation altogether. If you’ve decided to do this once, it’s best not to put it off.
Fortunately, there’s not much you need for this task. The basic essentials include:
- A binder
- Stickers, the plain labeling kind (colors are recommended)
- A pen
- Washi tape
Step 2: Dividing the Binder
It’ll be much easier to navigate through your binder after you divide it into sections with the help of the stickers. You can make a new section by simply place a sticker on a page and writing down what it deals with, e.g. laundry, kitchen, bathrooms, etc. If you’re in the mood for a sturdier divider, you can use a plastic sheet protector with some scrapbook paper inside. Some binders also come with their own separators, so that’ll be a plus.
The categories you might consider include:
- Time Management: This will help you keep a track of your daily to-do list.
- Goals: This could include your long-term planning
- Stop Doing: This might contain a habit that you need to stop, or perhaps an item that you need to stop buying for whatever reason
- Cleaning: This will help to keep track of cleaning chores, whether they’re the adult’s responsibility or that of a child/teen’s. You can jot down lists of spots you forget to clean, or cleaning chores that you need to delegate.
- Information: This section has emergency contact information for all family members. The list might include information about the babysitter, the vet, fire services and important contacts in addition to passwords.
- Food: This section will include grocery lists, food inventory, recipes, meal plans, and anything that will help create a healthier eating lifestyle for your family.
- Laundry: This section will have your current inventory of clothing, perhaps with the name of your preferred products. Read this guide to organizing laundry for more information.
- Health: This section might contain vaccination records, a daily food log, fitness challenge details, etc.
- Budget: This includes an emergency fund tracker, your monthly budget, account information, bill trackers, etc.
You don’t have to include all the details above in your sections. These are just a way to guide you and give you some ideas of what your binder can help you with.
Step 3: Filling In
Now that you have some idea of what goes inside your binder, it’s time to start filling it in. You might have one of those snap ring binders that allow you to take out and add pages easily. If not, you might have to be content with writing everything down.
If you have access to a printer, it’ll be easy to print out some of your lists. There might even be some readymade forms online that you simply have to fill out with your customized details. This will save you the hassle of thinking about every category and all its nuances on your own.
Step 4: Adding Your Own Thing
A proper home management binder might help you in running things for your household, but it can also be of help in achieving certain goals. For instance, it can be easy for a couple to slide into a rut with the same old routine every single day. This isn’t very healthy for any relationship, so use your binder to set aside a special night once a week just for you and your partner.
Another goal you might want to work towards is improving the academic record of your child. You can make a separate section for extra worksheets, learning activities, and any resources that might help him/her along. For parents with special-needs children, such a section could be a lifesaver.
Step 5: Protecting the Binder and Pages
While you might not want to make so much effort with the whole binder, there are some pages that need extra protection. If you want to have the binder open to a recipe while you’re cooking, for instance, it makes sense to have those pages in a plastic protector. Sheets with emergency information (which isn’t likely to change much) should also be laminated to prevent loss or tearing.
You can have a few extra plastic protectors at the end of your binder for receipts, vouchers, coupons, or anything else of importance. This way, you’ll have all you need in one place.
The binder itself should be of a sturdy material. If it’s not, you can put a plastic cover on it to make the whole thing more durable. Make sure to keep it in a safe place, though ideally every family member should be able to access it for the emergency information.
Step 6: Color-Coding and Decorating
Since you’ll probably be using the binder almost every day, it makes sense to make it aesthetically pleasing. This will encourage you to open it up several times a day without feeling overwhelmed or bored by the multitudes of lists and pages.
Some people might like to decorate their home management binder like a scrapbook. On the other hand, you might like clean lines and simple color codes for your binder. The final choice is up to you, but a little bit of color here and there will help your pages stay organized.
You might want to use differently-colored stickers or different colors of ink for labeling your sections. This is actually a highly recommended step, as it will help you flip to the right section much more quickly. If you’re organizing the binder by the people in your home, every person could have their own color.
Your washi tape will also come in handy here, both for color coding and for decoration. Use it to make borders for important pages, or just for separating one section from the other.
Step 7: Digital Backup
So far, we’ve talked about a home management binder as a hard copy. In this age of digital technology, you can easily have the ‘binder’ all sorted on your computer. Physical binders will be much easier to navigate, though, so you can compromise by digitally backing up whatever you can.
If you use online printables for your binder, save them all in one folder and back it up on your cloud storage. You may also have several spreadsheets running online and made available to every member of the household. This way, everyone will know how to access important information easily and also be aware of their responsibilities.
Making a home management binder might not be easy at first, but it’s worth the effort and focus. You can make the project easier by getting a label maker, a ring binder, and ensuring that the paperwork is a standard A4 size.
Finally, keep in mind that the perfect home management binder does not exist unless you make it for yourself. You alone know your needs, preferences, and requirements. Get started today, and you’ll hopefully be much more organized in the coming months.