How to Use a Home Management Binder to Get Organized
Have you ever needed to contact a vendor who has done work in your home before but can’t seem to remember where you put their card? Have you needed to contact the head of the PTA but can’t find that one paper with her number? Do you lose track of friends or family members birthdays? You need to make a home management binder!
I was once like you. Lost and confused. Not properly trained in the management of a household. Who knew you needed the chimney cleaned each year? I didn’t have a number for an electrician when the circuit breaker panel needed replacing. But you live, you learn, and you get organized. As I started to get a handle on the type of information I needed to manage the household more efficiently, I created binder sections in what has become my household management bible. The following are the sections I created and what I put in them.
My binder started out with a list of contacts. This includes all the people you might need to contact to help manage your home and family. First and foremost, this includes extended family members and close friends. This isn’t meant to be an address book of everyone you know, but those close friends that you would trust to watch your kids or who come over on Christmas. Next is your neighbors whom you might work with for the summer block party or borrow a cup of sugar from. Then I have play groups and sitters for the kids.
The next group of contacts is for companies that help with managing the household. This would include home service and utilities contractors, maintenance and repair vendors, insurance contacts, and telecommunications companies. At the end I include a few take out places and a place to list important birthdays and anniversaries. This last page is clutch each year when I start a new planner.
This section came about after having to fill out various forms and tax information about different members of the family. I created a page for each person including the dogs. For the humans, we have their name, DOB, SSN, doctor and dentist, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size, ring size and for the adults, job info. For the pets, I have name, DOB, veterinarian, gender, and whether they have been spayed or neutered. There is also a section to list their vaccinations. The last part of the family section lists our doctors, dentists, and school contact info.
While I like to use apps like Mint to actually track daily spending, I do like using pen and paper to track all the big bills. I created a month at a glance page that lists all of the major expenses and how much was paid. I also track what was put into savings and any goals for the month. Then I have a page that lists all the bills and when they are due so that I can track what has been paid and make sure everything is paid on time.
Towards the end I have a tax checklist for all the financial documents that are needed when it is tax time. I also have a savings challenge page to see if we can save up some funds for vacation this year. Lastly, I have a no spend month chart that I use whenever we decide to have a no spend month. This helps track how well we are doing.
In Case of Emergency
This section, I think, is the most valuable part of this binder. No one wants to think about an emergency occurring in their family, but they do happen. It is far better to be prepared than to be left in the lurch. The first part of my emergency section is documents that my family would need if something happened to me. It lists all of the important information like birth certificate, will, marriage license, 401k plan, etc. and where to find them.
Next is all of the insurance policy and contact information, investment info, retirement info, and passwords. Lastly, is funeral and burial preferences. This stuff is hard to think about, but if you think about how much your family would appreciate having this info all together, its well worth it.
The next part of the emergency section is for when there is an emergency at home. I have a checklist of what we might need if we have to leave the house. Also a list of who to contact and where we would meet if we are not all together. There is a home safety checklist of things we can do to keep our home safer. In this respect, being an insurance adjuster helped me put together this list since I look at building safety all the time. Last is a diagram of our home evacuation plan.
While health is obviously always important, the need for this section didn’t become as apparent until my daughter was born. When she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at 6 days old, this meant prescriptions and specialists, and monitoring her development. Having a medical sections can also help if you are a caregiver for a family member or loved one.
In this section, I track all of the vital information of each member of the family. I have what to do in case of a health emergency especially for Hailey. Then I list health records, family history, medical contacts and specialists. I have a place to track any incidents as well as prescriptions and dosages. There is a place to track doctor visit information, well visits, symptoms, and dental visits. I also have a medical release put together that can be used if someone else is watching our kids.
I love that I have all this info in one place and can bring it with me to doctor appointments and checkups. When a doctor asks for medical history or family history, it’s easy to forget something, but with this binder, we have all of the info on hand.
The last section in my binder is for school info. With Tyler in dance, swimming, and preschool, we are already having to track information for all his activities. I have pages for all the school information including PTA, school nurse, teacher, school policies and more. Then there is a place to write down school events and extracurricular activities. For future use, I created a section for class schedule and camp research.
By creating this binder, I have all the essential information for managing the household in one place. When we need a plumber or an electrician, I know where to look. If we want to know if our savings are on track for vacation, I know where that is too. All of our essential information is in one spot.
I hope you were inspired to get your information organized and in one spot. If you would like printable versions of the binder sections I use, I have all the pages available in my Etsy shop. Each section is available individually or as a complete bundle.
Creating this type of binder may have an up front time cost when you are putting it together, but it will save you so much time in the future. Do you have a home management bible to help you with caring for your home and family? let me know in the comments.
Emily Bendler is a mom, wife, full-time insurance adjuster, professional dancer, dance teacher, graduate student, and founder of I Hope You Dance, Inc., a non-profit supporting youth dance. Read how Emily used her dance ambitions to become a time management maven. Feel free to send Emily a message using the email me tab above.