Recently, I had a brilliant idea.
I was sick and tired of all the clutter and paper and stuff-I-needed-to-keep/file/mail on my kitchen counter. It was literally like a sea of papers. Not trash. Important papers.
So I had an idea. A binder. A thick binder with dividers and categories to house all of my papers.
Oh, and it could also house my meal plans and lists and to-do's and stuff.
I'm a genius, I thought. This is gonna be huge.
Then I got on Pinterest and realized that apparently about 3,411 other moms thought of the
SAME BLOOMIN IDEA
about a year before I did.
But that didn't stop me from making my own.
In fact, it just made me wanna make mine better.
I'm joking, of course. Kind of.
In all seriousness, I really did have a mess going on.
I managed to find one picture I had taken, and this really doesn't justify the mess. This was taken on a good day. A realllly good day. Usually you can't see the countertop.
Bills, school forms/newsletters, insurance stuff, Sam's PT review papers, auto stuff, etc.
And with life, you just never know what's gonna happen. If something were to happen to me, I honestly don't know if my husband would know when to take Emma Kate back to the doctor... or whether or not the water bill had been paid, or when to show up for Mary Ella's programs at school. You know, it's just nice to have all this information in one place.
And so far, this has been such a great way to keep it all organized and keep my counter almost clutter-free. Now the clutter is made up of the usual: Cheez-its and sippy cups and crayola products.
But no more paper mess!
Here's what I did...
Bought me a 2-inch binder at Target; the kind with the clear plastic on front so you can add your own cover. Then I made myself a cover on PicMonkey.
In the very front, I stuck some post-its, a check book and a few envelopes, a sharpie and my handy dandy 3-hole punch. The 3-hole punch is a must. I would also recommend a pencil bag; the kind that has 3 holes and can be put directly into your binder. You'll also want to go ahead and satisfy that OCD part of you that wants the 12-pack of colored fine point pens that will make your life's schedule ohsofantastically color-coded. Go ahead, buy your pens.
I bought 2 packs of dividers with pockets. I labeled them with the categories I needed most.
You can do whatever categories work for you, but here are mine in order:
Holds a cute monthly calendar with all of our planned activities and birthdays, special events, etc.
I found a cute printable monthly calendar on Pinterest.
This category also holds weekly planning sheets which I bought at this Etsy shop.
This helps me stay organized.
This is really just a folder/divider, but you could also put your budget or a checklist in this section.
We only have about 3 bills that we actually write checks for, the rest are automatically debited, so
I didn't need a checklist. I keep my checkbook, my stamps and a few envelopes in this divider, as well as any bills that have come in that week, and then I pay whatever I need to pay at the end of the week.
Grocery lists, needs, meal plans, recipe ideas, etc.
I am still searching for a meal plan/grocery list combination printable that I like. Open to suggestions!
I'd like one where I can list out the meals and list out the ingredients I need by category.
Running list of daily/weekly cleaning that needs to be done.
Sometimes I use this, most of the time I'm too busy to even check it.
Mary Ella, Sam, Emma Kate
I created separate sections for each of the kids to house their information (height, weight, medical info, etc... you know, the things your husband doesn't know but YOU know, haha), as well as their latest check-up sheets from the doctor, their blue forms, their school calendars and newsletters, etc.
Basically a long running list of things that need to be done.
I also use the divider pocket for business cards of people who've done work for us and also have a list on paper of all their names, companies and phone numbers.
This printable is from this Etsy shop and she has tons more that are all really cute.
All those insurance forms you get after doctors appointments. We have tons of them.
I'm going to try to file them at the end of each month, or every couple months.
Anything to do with our cars.
List of people who have bought me gifts and lists of gifts I need/want to get people.
Yes, I am behind on THANK YOU NOTES and honestly if you receive one you can just go ahead and thank the good Lord for a miracle because I'm way behind. Most of them I included on the birth announcement. But I DO have a list and I WILL send out thank you's. One day.
This folder also contains invitations we get in the mail for birthdays/weddings/graduations and that way I know that I need to buy gifts for people.
And yes I'm behind on the gift buying, too.
Whew. I need a day of catch up.
Lucy's information - her AKC stuff and her medical info.
I still have 3-4 dividers left and I'm sure I'll find a purpose for them soon enough.
This has seriously been such a great project - one that I literally use in some way every single day.
Love that my schedule, my to do lists, etc, are all in one place!