Organizing your home and family with notebooks

On Friday, I wrote about creating an information notebook for every person in your family. Notebooks are great because they keep all of your important papers in one place and they are easily portable. In our home, we have a recipe notebook, appliance notebook (instruction manuals, purchase receipts, maintenance and repair receipts, and warranty information), and important information notebooks for all four of us (our cat even has one).

We store these notebooks in a place where we can find them quickly, easily spot if someone hasn’t returned the notebook to its shelf after use, but in an area that has minimal guest traffic. Our personal notebooks are valuable to us and we would be devastated if we lost them, so most of the information in them has also been scanned and then the files backed up online.

The appliance notebook lives with our house — we got it from the previous owner, who got it from the previous owner, who got it from the couple who first owned our home — and we plan to pass it along to the next resident whenever we move. We know what company and what person at that company has worked on our house and its appliances since it was built, and the second owner of the house even commented on every repair and if he felt the repair person did a good job.

As we’ve mentioned before, all you need to do to build a notebook is get a three-ring binder, a pack of sheet protectors, and you’re ready to go. If you want a more elaborate notebook, you can use tab dividers to separate types of documents, and a zipper pocket at the front of the notebook to hold sticky notes, pens, pencils, maybe scissors and a highlighter, and paper clips. The hardest part of the project is remembering to take out information as it becomes irrelevant. Otherwise, notebooks are a breeze to use.

We don’t currently use a system like this for our car, but I would think it would be simple to create one and use it. It’s uncomfortable to think about, but an emergency notebook that each person in the family creates in case of death or serious injury could be very helpful. Also, a notebook for chores and instructions and images explaining how to do those chores could be beneficial for families with young children just starting to help out around the house.

Do you use notebooks to keep your home and family organized? Tell us about the notebooks you have created and how you use them in the comments.

49 Comments for “Organizing your home and family with notebooks”

  1. posted by Gumnos on

    For recipes, I felt sad to see your binder — all that wasted space on the outside occupied only with a big page identifying them as “Erin’s Favorite Recipes”. :) Our recipe-binder has several frequently-used favorite recipes slid into the outside sleeves so all we have to do is pull the binder off the shelf and plop it on the counter. I also slid a conversions-chart down the spine’s clear protector so I don’t have to rummage when I need to convert units of X into units of Y.

    It’s the only 3-ring binder among our regular/bound recipe-books so the lack of labeling doesn’t cause any confusion.

  2. posted by Guen on

    I have two instruction manual notebooks – one for electronics, one for everything else. I don’t currently need a notebook for my home (I live with my parents) but I plan to start one once I get my own place.

    What kind of information do you keep in your personal notebook? My concern would be that keeping sensitive (i.e., medical) information in an easily stolen binder would lead to ruin if my home was ever robbed.

  3. posted by Stephanie on

    I recently organized all of my clippings into notebooks: home/health, knitting/crocheting, sewing/quilting, gardening, and food reference. Every time I print a pattern off the internet or tear an article out of a magazine it goes into the corresponding reference binder. The best part is that we store the binders in our library: the gardening binder with the gardening books, the sewing binder with the sewing books. Now everything is neat and easy to locate when needed, and the binders make it really easy to add notebook paper with notes and comments!

  4. posted by Amy on

    I tried this for a while. But I found keeping my recipes in OneNote easier for me. I can print them when needed or just pull my netbook into the kitchen.

  5. posted by PrarieGal on

    I have a recipe binder, and I love it. Especially because I have set up my own, unusual categories, among them Rubharb and Bread.

    For house manuals, I set up an accordian file. Every time I buy something for the house, I just throw it in there.

    And for house projects, I keep a small binder. It started because I always have a few house projects going on at the same time, and when I go to the home improvement store, I might have to buy a few things for different projecs. It has various measurements (fridge size), quotes (fridges from various stores), paint chips, flyer clippings…

  6. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Amy — At least for me, a computer in the kitchen is asking for trouble. An iPad behind a cookbook stand might work … but I don’t have one. I must cook like the Swedish chef on the Muppets :)

  7. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Guen — If you live in a high-crime area, keep the notebooks in a locked drawer. However, based on conversations I’ve had with cops over the years, most burglars are looking for things to sell really quick for drug money, like electronics and cars. Taking the time to go through a notebook isn’t really something most criminals want to do.

  8. posted by Mrs. G on

    I have several active notebooks —

    1. Documents Notebook (marriage and birth certificates, original and photocopies of important documents, extra ID pictures, etc.)

    2. Appliances Notebook (for manuals, warranties and receipts)

    3. Household Manual (important numbers, instructions for chores, reminders, food delivery numbers, etc.)

    4. Christmas Notebook (gifts and Christmas cards list, budget and expense tables, gift ideas)

    I also keep the notebooks I made for special projects —

    1. Wedding Notebook (plans and ideas, list of suppliers, receipts, budget, etc.)

    2. Home Renovation Notebook (budget and expenses tables, floor plans, sketches) This is handy for finding replacements and estimating their cost.

  9. Profile photo of

    posted by HappyDogs on

    I’ve always kept a notebook for each house I’ve owned. When I’ve put a house on the market, I put the notebook out on the (extremely clean & uncluttered) kitchen counter. Realtors have told me it is a valued selling point for buyers, and in fact the last house I sold that book was the tipping point for the buyer. He felt I had maintained my house well “despite being a woman”. LOL!

  10. posted by Celeste on

    I’ve been doing this for years. I organize TONS of stuff in them. Design ideas in a decorating binder. Gardening stuff in another binder. I have a household notebook where I keep all the kid stuff….class information, school lunch list. Keep the fridge clear, and you can always find all those papers that get lost. I use the method so much, that I buy the report sleeves by the box when they’re on sale, and pick up binders at garage sales because you can often get large size ring binders for .50 or less. It’s even a good way to organize coupons. I’m always coming up with new ways to use this system.

  11. posted by Nicole on

    I teach 2nd grade and binders help keep me on track. Over the years I’ve invested a lot of my own money in teaching books, and I finally got smart enough to rip the pages out and cull them by topic. For next year I’ve already done a scope and sequence for my teaching team, and it was so easy to access the best ideas I’ve come across.

    I also have to give the Flylady big kudos for her guidance on putting together a “Control Journal” for my home. It’s a great place to get started: http://www.flylady.net/pages/cjmain.asp. She has one for teachers too that could prove useful for new and veteran teachers: http://www.flylady.net/pages/teacher_cj.asp

    And Erin – you’re one of my heroes! I’ve learned so, so much from your writings here and in your book! One of the articles that changed my thinking was “10 Ways to Let Go of Your Stuff” in Real Simple: http://www.realsimple.com/work.....000010583/. I keep it in the front of my magazine clippings binder!

  12. posted by Celeste on

    I forgot to mention….I’ve been through two remodels on my house. Both times I had a binder with report sleeves holding pictures (from magazines) of what it was I wanted. I had two different contractors for these projects, and both LOVED this. Gave both of us satisfactory results.

  13. posted by Nicole on

    I just started learning how to cook (yes, I’m a bit old to JUST start but I come from a long line of non-cookers. My mom and Grandma don’t cook either) so I have copies of all of the recipies I’ve tried and did well with in a binder organized by category of food. The last one is “Waiting to be tried” for recipies I haven’t tried yet. They are all in clear plasti sheets so I can wipe themoff if mess gets on them while I’m cooking (or as I call it – experimenting!). Great idea about the appliance notebook. We have them all stuffed in a drawer which is very messy and cluttered. I hink I have a new project!!

  14. posted by Owengirl79 on

    I use hanging folders instead of binders but it works great and we can find things so easily when we need them. I have a metal mesh hanging file container just for my recipes and have separate folders in each hanging file to make it easier since I have a lot of recipes. For example: I have a hanging folder “Desserts” and within that I have folders for pies, cakes, cookies, etc. I keep that file in my pantry and all the others are in a file cabinet.

    If you sell your house you can easily leave instruction manuals and transferable warranties for the new owner since they are so easily located. My parents did this and the new owner was beyond impressed.

  15. posted by Reader on

    I really like the appliance notebook idea. I currently have a file folder that’s called something like “manuals.” But one day many years ago, when I was trying to get organized, I felt paralyzed by the effort of figuring out how to categorize things. So I went micro in order not to have to think about it.

    My boyfriend laughed when he saw my “Blender” file.

  16. posted by Reader on

    I also like to scan things into computer and email them to myself or type notes, which I also send to myself. With Gmail’s searching capacity and labels, it’s not hard to find things.

    Of course if the computer goes down ….

  17. posted by Reader on

    Erin:

    You can get an Asus netbook and mouse for $350 to $400. They have an impressive amount of computing power, are small, yet have a good-sized keyboard.

  18. posted by KateNonymous on

    Instead of a binder, we have a magazine file for appliances. I’m not particularly worried about backing those up, because so many manuals are now available online if you lose yours.

    We’re building a home reference guide, though, with information about model numbers and the like, including things like what size air filter goes in the ceiling vent. We may use a notebook for that, or we may just keep it on the computer and back it up.

    By the way, if anyone is looking for ideas about what kind of information might be useful in a notebook, Flylady has lists on her site. I’m sure there are other sources, but that’s one place to start.

  19. posted by Liz on

    I have the recipe notebook.

    I also keep a car spreadsheet/envelope instead of a notebook. The spreadsheet is on the outside of a half-letter sized envelope. I put in dates of services and if it was for a recurring service (say 3 years of alignments). I keep a copy of it along with all the receipts in my glovebox. It really helped when I needed new tires and they tried to charge me extra. I looked at the spreadsheet and was able to reference the receipt! Every quarter I take the spreadsheet and update it in my computer and print a new one. I love it because I can never remember when I last changed my oil!

  20. posted by Shelley on

    I have a notebook with documents I would print over and over, like a packing list for travel, my ‘pantry list’ for things I keep in stock, etc. What goes in your ‘personal’ notebooks…if that’s not too personal?

  21. posted by infmom on

    We have so many manuals, they fill up an entire file drawer. We save the manual for every item we acquire, and file them in folders according to which room the item usually resides in. Makes it spectacularly easy to get our hands on whatever manual we need.

    The corollary to this, of course, is that I have to go through those folders on a regular basis and dispose of all the manuals for items we no longer use. And I had to insist that the construction instructions for IKEA items (which my husband absolutely, positively, WILL NOT get rid of even if we never intend to dismantle the whatever-it-is again) be put in their own separate folder, which we have in our document-storage area in the storage room. I have considered moving all the manuals out there, because we use them so seldom, but I need to free up enough space for that first.

    I have a cherished small binder full of recipes I have collected and/or written down over the years. I’ve been trying to figure out an efficient way to transfer them all to standard 8.5 x 11 paper so I can put them in a new, well organized ring binder. Sticking these little pages in full sized sheet protectors doesn’t work well. I may end up just scanning everything and printing it out on regular paper.

  22. posted by DJ on

    I’ve used something similar… cloth file folders with tabs inside, that can be zipped shut.

    I have one for the house; one for the pets; and one for each person’s records.

    I keep a 3 ring binder of recipes.

    They work great.

  23. posted by Claire on

    I like seeing how other people use binders to keep themselves organized. The small amount of time invested is made up for quickly when the ‘’cost per use’’ is actually realized. I have them for recipes, manuals and as a personal address book.

    After realizing my software wasn’t keeping up with changing computers, I finally made up my own address list in a Word document including all business, family & friend contacts. Besides addresses, phone numbers and e-mails, adding birthdays, anniversaries, names of kids, pets, and business store hours, made the information even more complete. I printed out extras, and made a binder for each car. I access this information all the time, and am able to send cards, double check an address, or see if a business is open. Having the information in my car has saved me on more than one occasion, and one of the best organizing moves I’ve ever made.

    When we remodeled the bathroom, I kept all the information in a binder, and used Post-It index tabs to categorize items. Whenever there was a question, or I needed a part, model, order number or invoice, the information was all there.

    I do something similar when we travel. All goes into a soft-sided notebook and is categorized by city, lodging, restaurants, and attractions, along with calendar.

    The recipe binder only gets my Favorite recipes. Those are time tested and family approved! I change the font on each recipe before I put it in the binder, so I can instantly tell if it’s T&T. Besides any changes I may have made to the recipe, I also make a personal note on how the recipe was received, whom I served it to and the date. An unexpected benefit of storing my recipes this way was realizing the recipes in the binder read almost like a personal diary. There’s a story with each one!

  24. posted by Leasa on

    I love using Binders. I have several that others already mentioned, although instead of an appliance binder, I keep two: one for indoor items and one for outdoor. I slip instructions and receipts for items such as electronics, furniture, applicances in the indoor binder and for BBQ grill, irrigation system, lawnmowers, etc in the outdoor binder.

    I keep records for my daughters in another – medical shot records, copies of birth certificates, doctor information.

    My favorite binder and most used binder is also for my daughters – I have sections for School, Sports, Scouts, Summer Camp, and Other activities. For school I keep records such as the quarterly newsletters, receipts for yearbooks, school calendar, forms that need to be filled out and returned. For Sports we have the sports calendars, team rosters, and any other info from the coach. This makes it real easy for all of us to find just what we need. We still put dates in our family calendar, but this allows us to see the source data if we need it and all paperwork from one activity is gathered together.

    I also include a few plastic pockets in the binder for bulkier items. For instance, the school provides an annual updated school policy handbook. I keep the current one handy each year and slip it into one of these pockets.

    I like how easily I can flip through page protectors to find things instead of rummaging through a bunch of hanging folders.

  25. posted by schismarch on

    For me, logging just about everything important in my iPhone is essential. It can be an amazing tool for this kind of database management, because it always travels in my pocket, syncs with some online services, and gets backed up regularly.

    I keep hard copies of relevant documents–invoices, receipts, warranties, etc.–in a locked filing cabinet sorted by functional area. But having just the basic information available for my car, for my health, money, etc. at the swipe of a finger is invaluable.

  26. Profile photo of

    posted by Maura on

    One of the things I did right over the years was to create page-protected binders for each of my two children. Actually, I only started it when they were in middle school (wished I had thought of it sooner!) So each have a “Middle School” binder and a “High School” binder, separated by grade (and through the following summer). In it goes any mementos worth saving….lots of school related stuff: report cards, awards, etc. Additionally, any souvenir type items: ticket stubs to baseball games and concerts with a program, any birthday cards worth keeping, some photos, etc. Much like a scrap book, but not nearly as creative. It works for us!

    I’ve also had a “Family Reference” binder for many years (kept in the kitchen) — this is one that needs continual maintenance (usually purge once a month or season). It contains current schedules, addresses, important frequently-used phone numbers, current year school info, take-out menus, local baseball team schedules, etc. Can most of this info be accessed online? Sure — but not nearly as convenient when we are sitting around the table eating and someone asks who is the opponent in this weekend’s soccer game? Or, which parish are we going to mass (and what time?). Or, is there a piano lesson the same week that the schools are closed? Or, a relative calls to ask for an address of another relative. When does the gym-we-belong-to offer Pilates classes? Etc., etc.

    Very handy to have all this info as hard-copies in one place.

  27. posted by Mike on

    One thing to make the utility / appliance binder neater is to go to the manufacturers website download and print the Manual for the appliance. You can limit the print out to only english, and it fits perfectly in the binder vs the thick multi language books that come with everything… you can also keep a USB stick in the binder with the PDF’s as one moves more towards electronic only documentation.

  28. posted by kalavinka on

    I’m vegan (no meat, no dairy diet) and sometimes when I’m out driving around and get hungry, I would like to eat without making compromises, especially if I don’t know the area, or at least knowing what major chains I can make substitutions at. For this, I’ve created what I call the “Green Bible”. It’s a (green) binder with lists of vegetarian-friendly restaurants (just take data from city lists from vegetarian web sites, clean it up and print) in my county and the neighboring county. As I eat at different places, I also pick up their to go menus and throw them in the binder. If you have a GPS or mobile phone with internet, you just enter a nearby address from the binder or call them to make sure they still exist, are still open, etc.

  29. posted by Jack on

    And for those really tough days…
    http://dailyemails.blogspot.co.....azing.html

  30. posted by GadgetBoy on

    I have been gradually building notebooks over the past few months, but have been organizing them through Evernote (www.evernote.com).

    Works better for me and I can search things much easier…

    GB

  31. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Jack — That is one AWESOME notebook! I need one.

  32. posted by Trudy on

    I have a simple 3 folder system. I have 2 large folders (A4 as I am in the UK) and 1 smaller (A5 leather).
    Folder 1 (A4) – archived documents that need to be kept accessible but don’t need to be referred to often. I also have copies of these documents scanned and saved on my PC.
    Folder 2 (A4)- all the items that need to be referred to regularly – this includes recipes, family schedules and to do lists, contacts, travel plans, gift ideas, etc
    Folder 3 (A5) – contains all the information that I refer to all day and that I often take with me when I leave the house. This includes my personal schedule, to do lists, personal goals and actions, contacts etc.
    Even with all the technology that is available I still love the feeling of having certain things down on paper that I can just pull and refer to. And there’s better feeling of accomplishment than ticking or scoring through a completed item with a pen!
    All the forms I use are from http://www.fizzymilkjelly.com. Because they are also interactive I have key pages typed up and saved on the computer, and the printed copies in my folders.

  33. posted by Wendy on

    At work I keep “idea notebooks” arranged by subject and holiday. When I find a new craft or programming idea I file it under the appropriate subject. At program planning time I browse through the notebooks. I use sheet protectors and space permitting will add a sample or templates for future use.

  34. posted by How To Fish - Productivity Assist » Organizing your home and famil… on

    […] Organizing your home and family with notebooks – http://unclutterer.com/?p=9476 […]

  35. posted by Catrina on

    These notebooks sound like such a great idea. I don’t have a family of my own (I’m only 20!), but I think it’d be great to just make inventory of the possessions I own and the documentation attached to them. I’m a design student, so I have several electronic gadgets and software on hand for my work and a bunch of manuals and troubleshooting info for them, so it’d be most ideal to organize all of these in one place for easy access. I also think that doing this will help me get a start on keeping track of the things I use and have.

  36. posted by L on

    I agree with everybody’s categories and things to save, but I’m surprised more aren’t suggesting using a scanner for clutter reduction. These days, most manuals are available electronically or can be quickly scanned, and other key papers can be similarly scanned. With a good backup program on your hard drive, it’s as reliable (and more searchable) than paper. I do have a paper binder….but boiled it down to an annual summary of financial accounts, simply printing out the year-end statements. Everything else I just scan in and make sure I keep Time Machine working. My approach is to save the critical data, but electronically if at all possible.

  37. posted by Dawn F. on

    Jack wins the Binder of the Year award. Totally.

    I love notebooks, too.

    My Holiday binder stores a current Christmas card address list, previous menus for holiday meals, Official Gift List with ideas and purchases (this is a lifesaver), pictures of previous holiday decor and even some travel information.

    I have a School Days binder for my son with page protectors to store all awards and copies of final year-end report cards, as well as a few extra special reports written.

    Our Master Home Inventory binder has a running spreadsheet of upgrades we make to our home, as well as relevant information, receipts, pictures, etc.

    When my stepfather’s mother needed to move to a nursing home I made a special binder that included notes from my visits to area nursing homes (for comparison), Medicare information and Hospice Care information. The sections were divided and labeled including pictures and brochures from each of the nursing homes. I wanted my stepfather and his sisters to have a master guide to help them make a good decision for their mother during an incredibly stressful time.

    Some of my friends make fun of me for my love of binders, but guess who’s laughing (quietly to myself) when they can’t find an important document or receipt or warranty information?

    Binders rock.

  38. posted by H on

    I use clearbooks (is that the same as binders u mean?). I already maintained 2 clearbooks for years. One for work (employment records, payslips, service contracts, certificates of seminars, trainings attended, diploma, transcript of records, birth certificates, etc) and another for finance/invesments like stocks, real estate documents, receipts for payment of loans, contracts, etc).

    i have a small fancy notebook on my bag in case an idea or a must-do or a reminder that pops in my head so i wouldn’t forget.

    for contact nos., addresses, birthdays, i have my iphone. and there are plenty of apps for managing that. i also have an app for monitoring the balances of my bank accounts and credit cards.

    im single, so i guess i don’t have much yet.

  39. posted by Letitia on

    I don’t know how everyone does it but my notebooks are too much work to keep tidy. When I start a notebook it looks very nice. After a few weeks all the pages that I find that should go in there are filed as a stack in the front of the notebook. For some reason I think making holes in the page or cutting of the edge to make it fit in the sheet protectors is too much work for storing it. I found a solution that works for me: I bought 20 white magazine file boxes (like Flyt from IKEA, any office supply store in the Netherlands has a similar item). They are on a bookshelf and I wrote on the small side what is in there: papers for tax, manuals, banking etc. Now all I need to do it throw it in there! And if I want the office area to look nice I turn the boxes with the short side to the wall and I have a very sophisticated bookshelf with identical white boxes.

  40. posted by Kristine on

    I have a recipe folder that includes all my favourite recipes. If I know I’ll use it often I type it up and print it out and keep it in the folder (which has plastic sleeves). One really handy part of the folder is a shopping list which I keep in the front cover. It’s a list of all the foods I commonly buy; and it acts like a memory prompt. I blogged about it here:

    http://townmouse.typepad.com/t.....tchen.html

  41. posted by Mary C. on

    Erin, I think this is one of my very favorite ideas! I recently set up a filing system that is great. (I think it was from a link on your website, The Fast Filing Method.)

    However, this notebook system takes care of things that don’t work as well in the filing system. I can file things that I don’t need to keep in the notebook anymore but still need to keep. I have our recent bank statements in a notebook.

    I can’t wait to make a notebook for all the appliances. That will save me a lot of trouble!

    Thanks for a great idea!

    @Kristine – That might be a good place to keep coupons, too!

  42. posted by Cynthia on

    I have a recipe binder that I received a few years ago for Christmas. It was an awesome gift. Although I could have created a binder on my own with tabs and what not, it was great to receive a gift that is very useful.

    I also have a binder for my son’s school notes, announcements, etc. The binder gets cleared every year. And I go through it and scan any useful information, or keep any moments in a box. Everything else gets recycled. It’s nice to have all the school announcements, school directory, registration paper all in one location during the school year. I have tabs so everything is easily filed.

    Reading all the comments, now has inspired me to create other useful binders. Thanks all!

  43. posted by claire7676 on

    Just a thought…if you are making a binder for the first time and do not have a home inventory, use the process of making the binder as a start for your home inventory. As you put paperwork in your binder, stop for a minute and enter the items in a spreadsheet with identifying information (Make, Model, serial #, etc). Having an inventory is invaluable if your home is ever robbed (heaven forbid, but having the inventory greatly helps police locate your possessions).

    Great idea about putting things electronically for PDA’s. I’ve kept an abridged price book as a spreadsheet in Documents to Go on my Palm, but did not think of putting my car maintenance spreadsheet in there. Thanks for the tip.

    I have a recipe notebook too because I really don’t like cookbooks. I buy a cookbook and only find so many recipes that I like….why would I want to keep the entire book? Also, we have been trying to eat healthier and I have figured out just how bad some of our favorite recipes are. So, I dumped the entire recipe book. I made a few tweaks to some of the recipes (they are a lot healthier now and the flavor hasn’t been sacrificed), reprinted the modified recipes, and stuck them back in the notebook. I’m also trying to only keep quick recipes in the notebook (but that’s hard to do…some of the best recipes take longer than 30 minutes…my preferred cooking time…to make/cook).

  44. posted by Darcy on

    I recommend starting an Entertaining binder.

    We rotate hosting Thanksgiving dinner, which usually involves seating upwards to 45 people. In my binder I keep:

    Floor plans: i.e. how to configure tables and which chairs to use (where I borrowed them from and what fits best)

    Tables: Which linens fit which table, how many to seat at each table, what silver and glassware I use, and what else needs to be on the table i.e. spoon for cranberry sauce and jelly, relish dish, butter dish and knife.

    Serving dishes: which ones to use

    Table decorations: what I’ve done in the past

    Notes about things that work best, like baskets of dish towels around the kitchen so no one has to stop and go through the kitchen drawers.

    It’s amazing what you have forgotten when your turn to hostess comes around! Plus, the floor plans allow me to set my dining room table and have the living room free for watching football before dinner. 30 minutes before we’re ready to eat, I hand out the floor plans to the guys who rearrange the furniture to accommodate all the seating, and separate trays prepared in advance for each table that hold the linens, silverware, glassware, candles and decorations. Even first time guests can contribute without feeling compelled to ask “what can I do to help?”

    My guests love it because I am relaxed (relatively…) and don’t feel like they are imposing. We don’t have large home, and family gatherings are important. We use Grandma’s linen and silver, augmented by simple white plates I bought on sale…

    but it’s the binder that saves me! I don’t have to re-invent the wheel every three years!

  45. posted by Courtney on

    Great ideas! I definitely need to make and appliance binder at my house- those instruction booklets are everywhere!!

  46. posted by Ann on

    Great idea! I’ve been using the binder method for years. Family Info, User Guides. Holiday Planning. Etc.

    I’ve tweaked my recipe binder over the years. I use Mastercook to store the recipes. I print them out on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets and laminate them, then 3-hole punch and put into the binder. You can spill on them and just wipe off. My new iteration of my recipe binder looks as new as it did when I set it up. Also I only put tried and loved recipes in the binder, pending recipes are stored in a pocket file folder until tested and approved. I also put a full size sheet protector in the back for the assorted restaurant delivery menus I have accumulated.

    I have my User Guide binders in the general area of the house that they are used. Kitchen appliances, in the kitchen. Electronics, in a drawer in my coffee table. Tools and garden equipment, in the garage. Etc.

    I also staple the receipt for the item to inside the first page of the user guide. VERY useful for warranty needs.

  47. posted by Megan on

    I use an artist portfolio notebook for recipes; it allows me to tear them out of magazines and put them in plastic sleeves so they won’t get dirty when I cook. I use the electronic equivalent of a personal notebook – Google Docs. I have a Master Records File on there with all my information, usernames, etc, and a Master Address File, etc. Now working on trying to get my budget in order, the next frontier, and will make a 3 ring notebook with all pertinent financial docs – they’re all scanned right now but need to be compiled into “my brain in a book.”

  48. posted by Graham Allcott on

    that’s a nice idea. I love the idea of the cat having its’ own notebook! We use folders for a similar purpose. Organizing your life outside of work is as important as getting this right at work – the mental head-space it creates can be very liberating. We run workshops on How to Get Things Done and it’s amazing how many people resist organizing their home life simply because they’re tired of having to do so at work!

  49. posted by Nelson on

    Have you ever considered using OneNote or any other software to store recipes on your computer? It would save the hassle of making a binder and keep them safe and easily accessable via your computer.

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