I have been reading a lot of posts lately about how to put together a Home Management Binder or a Command Centre lately and have spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I can best adapt this to fit my family and home life.
I decided that the best way for me would be to combine the two styles, Home Management Binder and Command Centre and use a bit of inspiration from each of the systems.
I like the idea of the Home Management Binder – being able to keep important and frequently used information together and in the one spot and thought it would be perfect for me if I combined that with a Command Centre that I could use to keep all of the other loose pieces of paper that come in and out of the house on a regular basis.
After doing a lot of reading, I sat down and thought about what information I needed to keep (this is going to be ever changing, especially once my oldest starts school next year) and what sort of filing system I wanted to use. This can be dependent on the space that you have available to keep your system, so if you are limited for space, keep this in mind when planning your filing requirements.
Once I had done the initial planning, it was off to the shops to get the supplies. Here is what I came up with.
I have gone with a 3-ring binder with insert cover. As I am planning to keep the binder standing up, the 3-ring binder will keep the pages in more securely and the insert cover lets me easily customise a front cover for my binder. I have used extra wide tab dividers as I am planning to keep my printables and information inside plastic sleeves and the extra wide dividers allows the tabs to still be seen when using plastic sleeves so these were a must have.The label maker, plastic sleeves and pen I already had on hand. I purchased some pretty manilla folders to use inside the basket I purchased.
The basket I bought is slightly too narrow to fit the folders in lengthways but I purchased this anyway as the area that I plan to store my completed command centre is only small and the larger baskets that I found that would have easily fitted the folders were far too big for the spot I wanted to keep it. I decided that I would trim the folders down to the right size for my basket as they will still be big enough to hold A4 paper. This project is all about customising the system to fit in with your own family and the size of the basket or storage area is a big part of that. I definitely didn’t want something completely oversized as that would defeat the purpose of trying to streamline and cut the cluttter!
The folders are also not exactly what I had planned to get when I set out. I was looking for the type of folders that have tabs that you can label and clearly see each tab when they are stacked in the basket. I came across these cute folders at Big W which I liked, were cheap (important factor) and I decided I could simply cut tabs into the top of the files (I also had my two young sons shopping with me and they were completely over it, one of the deciding factors in me getting these folders and adapting them!).
Now it is time to put it all together. Firstly, I have printed out a variety of printables that I believe are going to work for me. I have sourced these from a variety of resources online. I started with Home Life Simplified and her fabulous round up of free printables. I also printed a cover for my binder from The Nest Effect.
The way you divide up your information is going to be different for everyone, but the tabs I have decided to use are Kindy (kindy rules, newsletters, upcoming event details etc), Extra Curricular Activities (details for swimming lessons, sport, playgroup etc), Information (perpetual birthday calendar, website password list and important phone numbers), Health (scripts, details of after hours doctor, copy of medicare card and private health insurance card) and Shopping (special offers & vouchers, gift suggestion lists, details of presents “stashed” for future birthdays, Christmas etc). I have decided to start with a small number of printables and adapt the binder as life moves along.
I know many people include their grocery lists, meal planning and bills in their binder. I keep my grocery list and meal plan on a clipboard inside the pantry and I already have a bills system set up that works for me. Putting the bills in a binder wouldn’t really work for me as I deal with our personal bills as well as all of the bills for both my business and my husband’s business. This is where customising comes into play, you are free to add in or leave out sections as you see fit.
Here are the links to all of the printables that I have used:
Binder cover page from The Nest Effect
Perpetual birthday calendar from The Project Girl
Things on loan from Life Your Way
Lunch Box Ideas: Snacks from Mummy Smiles
School Lunchbox Meal Planner from Home Life Simplified
Important Numbers from Everything Mom
I took further inspiration from this post at I Heart Organizing. I decided to use a basket to store my binder as well as some folders to keep incoming mail, outgoing mail and items to action. I hope that this will save on paper piles around the house as it will give me somewhere to put all of the mail, newsletters and other papers when I get home if I don’t have time to sort and file them straight away. I also plan to keep my weekly planner pad in the front of the basket. I often keep this on the kitchen bench during the week to refer to regularly but I am hoping that keeping it in the front of the basket will be just as handy but tidier.
I am planning to keep the binder and command centre on the bar which is situated in our dining room. This is a nice central spot as it is just at the entrance to the house from our garage and the bar tends to gather a lot of junk that gets put down as we enter the house. In front of the basket is a wooden bowl that we use to place all of our keys and sunglasses etc.
I hope sharing my solution helps you get organised. Don’t be afraid to take ideas from here and other blogs to come up with your best solution I would love for you to share details of your home management binder or similar organisation solution.