If you love looking at pictures of all the amazing Home Management Binders on the internet, but don’t think you have the time to make one of your own, take a look at this one I put together with things I picked up from an office supplies store.
I bought a cheap A5 binder and some A5 inserts and refills and assembled it one rainy afternoon. This binder has clear windows on the front, back and spine so I was able to customise the cover too. This was back in the days before I bought a Filofax, and I wanted to make a DIY planner or ‘FauxFax’. I wanted something to replace the family calender (which was of limited use because I couldn’t take it out the house), to store bills and important information, and to be a GTD capture tool. I also wanted something that was cheaper than a Filofax.
I think that A5 is a better size than A4 for a Home Management Binder because you can easily take it from room to room, or pack it in your bag when you go away. You can print your important documents at A5 size, or fold them in half and punch them to store in your binder. And there is a lot of stationery that is made in A5 size that is compatible with the two-hole punch that is standard in Australia. This binder became our family calendar as I used to keep it open to the calendar page on my book holder that I bought on eBay (see right). But these days, everyone in the family knows to look in my Filofax before scheduling anything.
You will need:
- Binder. I used the Bantex A5 Insert Binder. This binder also has pockets on the inside covers too, which are handy for putting documents in.
- Scrapbook or craft paper to personalise the cover. I used Christina Re papers and then I slipped in some family photos. But you could create a cover on the computer and then print it at A5 size to slip in the clear windows of the binder.
- Clear zip pocket for storing stationery. I used the AusInc EVA Zip Binder Pocket. Now you will always be able to find a pen when you need one!
- Dividers. These Marbig dividers are cheap and fit a two-ring binder. Bantex have these ones too.
- A5 plastic pockets for storing documents or bills. I used these but kikki.K also have some.
- Monthly calendar. I used the Collins Debden refills for their Desk size organisers. This size is similar to A5 and is compatible with most organisers in this size, including Filofax, DayTimer and Franklin Covey. It will fit an A5 two-ring binder too, but the pages do slip around a bit.
- Removable tabs to mark important pages. Post-it make tabs you can write on.
- A5 writing paper. You can buy pre-punched A5 paper that is much cheaper than organiser paper.
Assembling the binder
When you label the binders, decide on the categories that make sense to you, but also think about other family members who may be looking for a document or piece of information. The more detail you put on the Contents page of the binder, the less time you will have to spend explaining to others where things are kept :).
You could also keep an A5 notebook in here for taking notes or as a Phone Calls log. Then you can take this with you if you think you might need to write things down as you run errands. A book with pre-punched holes would be perfect for this because then it wouldn’t fall out of the binder.
If you don’t use a personal organiser, try to make this the central place where you store your most-used information and papers. Think of it as a ‘ready reference’ file where you keep all the information you need to have at your fingertips, like customer numbers, important phone numbers and upcoming bills. And if you’re the kind of person who needs to write things down to remember them, you can keep all your To Do lists here too:
Using the binder to manage your home budget
You can store upcoming bills in the inside pocket of the binder. That way, every time you open the binder, you’ll see what bills are due. The pocket is clear, so you’ll have a visual reminder.
Also, write the due date of each bill in the calendar section. You can print your own calendar inserts from Philofaxy, but I use these Collins Debden Desk-size refills which are A5 size.
This binder was one of the most important things in my home for keeping myself organised. I used it daily, and when I went away for the weekend, I always took it with me in case a bill was due, or I needed some important information. In fact, I began taking it with me everywhere, so I decided it was time to upgrade to a Filofax. Happily, I was able to transfer all my documents across to the Filofax which was A5 size too.