Thursday, March 31, 2011

87 March Challenge: Project "Household Binder" {Link Party!}

All free printables mentioned within the post are now expired and available for sale!  Please check out my Etsy Shop for a large selection of personalized printables to fit all of your household organizing needs!

  Thank you!

It's been thirty-one days of Household Binder heaven!  We created, we shared, we drained our printer cartridges, we were binder-makin' fools!  The time investment in the binder this month is sure to reap endless rewards for our family.  I have always been intrigued by the idea, but it took making one to really see how this will create a new "ease" to our lifestyle.

Let's recap why the Jones abode is sure to run smoother as a result:

1.  The very first step in creating this essential household tool, was to brainstorm categories, pick out our materials and create a cover sheet:

2. The first tab I created was "School Info" which is a place to store all of the important fliers that come home from school, which includes: sporting schedules, newsletters and spelling words.

Now instead of digging through individual mail stations, all current school related materials are located in one easy to find location.

3. Next I created a "Finance" tab.  This is where I include our current bill paying checklist:

I also took full advantage of having pockets in the binder divider tabs!  One side get's to hold our checkbooks for when we pay our bills...

And the other is a great place to slip those billing statements as they come in the mail and need to be paid:

Now, twice a month when we pay our bills, we can go right to the Finance tab and log our expenses and send out our payments.  There is never a question where anything is!  Love that!  And right now we do the rest of our budget tracking in Microsoft Excel, but I am fond of the idea of printing out our budget and keeping it here as well.... more on that as we migrate!

4.  Next, the all important "Contact Info" tab.  This one was a doozy, chock full of information, yet, a great place to keep all of those important numbers in one very central location.  Need to look up the number for your pediatrician?  Check.  How about your auto insurance agent?  Check.  Air conditioner not turning on as the weather get's warmer?  Come to this tab to find out the repair man's number!

I also added a baseball card sleeve for any business cards we accumulate along the way!

5.  Sometimes we travel or need to leave our little ones and furry friends with a sitter.  The next tab encompasses everything we need when we head away from home.  I slipped some travel checklists into the divider tab pockets.  Then, I also added a couple copies of Babysitter Note Sheets, which provides anyone watching the boys with some important information.

I didn't want to forget about our Bentley, since he is just like a kid to us!

I also thought it would be a nice option to add a daily schedule breakdown, so that the kid's can maintain their daily routines while we are away....

I also popped in a CPR reference sheet to remind anyone what to do in case of an emergency {hopefully it's never needed, but better safe than sorry!}:

6.  What good would the Household Binder be, if it didn't help me keep my Household in tip top shape?  The "Home Maintenance" tab is next

Here, I placed a laminated copy of our cleaning checklist:

Along with a Home Maintenance checklist, that includes all sorts of reminders to check the gutters and change the batteries in our smoke detectors!

7.  We have oodles and oodles of movies.  It was a phase that has since ended {except I am still a sucker for a good kid's movie}, but we needed a way to keep track of the media we do have.  Again, this is the perfect place to keep that information, which includes a copies of our movie inventory {you can download a PDF of the Movie Inventory HERE}.  I also decided that the pocket was the PERFECT place to keep our Netflix envelopes so they aren't floating all over the living room, under the couch or inside books and magazines... just sayin...

I still would like to keep a media library "Check-Out" checklist, I will be sure to let you know as I do!

8.  This next tab is all about me and this happy place I call a blog!  I tossed a couple of Blog Ideas sheets into the front of the tab, which are great when a reader suggests I do a blog segment on my favorite meals or how my kitchen is laid out:

I also included a blog "To Do" checklist, which is perfect for me to keep Style Tile and Etsy orders in check, manage giveaway emails and work with my sponsors:

And to keep track of Reader Spaces and Giveaways and Blog Post Topics and slate out a decent schedule, I utilize this 12 month calendar I whipped up:

9.  Because our automobiles are an extension of our home, I decided that keeping track of our Auto Maintenance was a great idea!

The tabbed pocket dividers are great for holding any auto maintenance receipts and statements as well!

10.  Aside from needing to remember/locate important home information, it's also important to remember your mom's birthday.  So the next tab is all about keeping track of those annual important dates.

And those tab pockets come to the rescue one more time, by holding greeting cards for the given month!

11.  I created a whole binder for the next category, because for our family, it's a BIG ONE!  We feed a family of five plus little daycare munchkins each week, which requires couponing, meal planning and grocery shopping each and every Sunday.  This binder is dedicated to all things FOOD.

Let's start by keeping a stash of Grocery Shopping Lists in the front pocket of the binder.  I can easily just grab and fill out as necessary when something runs low or as I do our meal planning for the week:

I popped my coupon envelopes in the other side of the divider pocket:

I laminated a copy of our Meal Planning Calendar, so that I could fill in our meals each week, and always have a quick reference for the hubs or I when making dinner or taking out frozen chicken breasts for the next evening....

I wanted to ensure when we were planning out our dishes, that we were using what we already had, so I created a freezer inventory for us to keep track of that endless black pit of a freezer:

And for those crazy busy nights when a meal isn't planned or there isn't time or we just feel like being lazy, we have a pocket just for "Take Out" menus!

The rest of the binder is used to house recipes we have printed off or cut from magazines, just as I chatted about here.

12.  Find a place for your binder... where are you going to keep it now that you have it?  Our typically is right on the end of our counter or next to my workspace in the living room, but we also ensured that we could tuck it away in our kitchen closet when we pick up for company:

And that is that!

Holy moly macaroly.  Well, that's what my little Parker would say.  I just say, WOW!  LOVE IT!

If that doesn't show you the endless benefits to a central command station which is, The Household Binder, then big Tom Callahan couldn't sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves {name that movie}.

But enough about me.  Seriously, that's why IHeart this blog!  Because I get to see what you have been up to!  How you organized your binders!  What printables are working best for you!  Why you love your household binder almost as much as your first born!

And a button for you:

IHeart Organizing

I want to say THANK YOU to everyone for providing your comments and ideas this month!  You really pushed me to succeed and add some important pieces to our binder!

So what do you think?!  Leave a comment to sum up your feelings on this project!  What benefits have you found!  What is your giant printable wish list for me?  What do your family members think of all this Household Binder stuff?

I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are creating a Home Management Binder!  Wanna Join in?  Take photos and blog about your awesomeness as you go!  I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our binder creating success stories at the end of the month!

13 March Challenge: Project "Household Binder" {Taking Note of those we Heart}

All free printables mentioned within the post are now expired and available for sale!  Please check out my Etsy Shop for a large selection of personalized printables to fit all of your household organizing needs!

  Thank you!

Today I am focusing on getting my "sitter" section in my Household Binder prepared.  Why?

Because IHeart my boys:

And IHeart my dog:

Leaving them either for 10 minutes or 10 days, is never an easy thing to do.  And to give myself some peace of mind, I have created some tools that provide the one caring my for loves, the information necessary to be successful and safe.

I have been using this babysitter notesheet for quite awhile when it comes to the little men.... it's worked out really wonderfully thus far!

I also sell customizable options in my Etsy shop:

I decided that the more information we could keep in the binder, the better.  We also needed a pet sitter notesheet for our lovely pooch!

And one for you?

click HERE to download PDF
The pet sitter note sheet will be great when he is in care of another, so they know how much to feed him and when, emergency contacts and that he loves to be scratched behind his ears...

Now, back to the kiddos.  I have found that my guys really thrive off of maintaining a good routine.  So, to make things as easy on them and the sitter, I have created a new sheet, that allows me to place information into time slots for each of the boys.  That way, the one caring for them will be able to have a glance at what to expect and when, and keep them in the norm as much as possible while mom and dad are away!

And the free printable for you:

click HERE to download PDF

And just to ensure that anyone hanging out with the kiddos has an idea of how to handle a scary episode {not to be Debbie downer, but to be prepared}, I found some resources on on CPR, that I printed off and inserted as well.

So there you have it!  Tomorrow I will do a giant celebratory WE DID IT post where I will share the binder from front to back and ask you to do the same!  I am SO giddy excited about this!

And someone asked about the free printables.  I will extend the free PDF's on the sidebar until the end of next week {4/9/11}, to give everyone time to finish up.  After that, I will be offering personalized options in my Etsy shop.

I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are creating a Home Management Binder!  Wanna Join in?  Take photos and blog about your awesomeness as you go!  I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our binder creating success stories at the end of the month!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

14 Reader Space: Life Changing Laundry

Who know that anything laundry could be life changing?  It can be, I promise!

Today proves that the single powerful word, "ORGANIZING", comes in many different versions and formats and styles and meanings.  It can be defined as reducing clutter to simplify our lives.  It can mean containerizing the items we utilize, so they make sense and are easy to locate.  However, it can also mean strategically placing things {big and small}, to save time and provide a great quality of life!

It's stories like today's Readers Space, that explain my severe crush on organizing!  It's that special phrase, "Life Changing", that gives me an organizing high and makes me come back for more!

Laurie, who is also one of my incredible blog sponsors, wrote to share a game changing project that her and her husband completed in their home, to give them a better quality of life!

Hi Jennifer,

I love your blog!  I love organizing, and I try to declutter our house on a regular basis.  I’d like to show you one of the projects that changed my life:

When we first moved to our house, the washer and dryer were located in the basement.  We have a two story house, and our bedrooms are on the second floor.  This meant that I had to drag the laundry up and down two flights of stairs.  I hated it! 

We have a stackable washer and dryer.  When we remodeled our upstairs bathroom, my husband made a closet that was big enough to accommodate our machines. 

There are also hooks on the wall for cleaning supplies; and a small rolling cart to hold laundry supplies.  I love it!  No more lugging heavy blankets and towels up and down two flights of stairs.  

Thanks so much for all the inspiration on your blog.  After reading your blog, I always want to go find something to clean!

It honestly makes me ponder, how does anyone get any laundry done, with a washer and dryer down in the basement, one or two flights of stairs away from all the bedrooms?  Why do we create our homes this way?  I realize that we all do it, and it's great for our cardio, but it doesn't necessarily make the most sense to place machines that are crucial in our daily lives, so far from the hub of the home.  That's why IHeart this story so much!  Laurie and her husband didn't settle.  They organized their new space to ensure it was functioning better for them, and were able to move their washer and dryer to the "right" place in their home.  While also creating additional storage for their laundry and cleaning supplies.  So Super Smart!!

And a button for you:

IHeart Organizing

Thanks everyone!  And THANK YOU Laurie for letting me feature your incredible idea which makes me extremely gleeful for you!

Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please send your story and photos to and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and un-editted.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

** Unfortunately due to the increased amount of submissions, I cannot feature every project that is sent to me, however I want to encourage you to try!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

64 IHeart: Blondie's Shop & a Giveaway!

 **  Attention:  This Giveaway has since ended.  Thanks everyone for participating!!  The winner selected was #24, Jenna {wahoo!}, and has been contacted via email!  ** 

Last week I spilled all the details about my wonderful blog sponsors!  They are such a great group full of talent and inspiration!

One of the uber talented sponsors I was able to highlight, was Heather, who run's Blondie's Shop on Etsy!

Blondie's Shop is full of all sorts of beautiful goodness... like incredible handmade knitted scarves!

It also showcases Heather's craftiness and creativeness through her stationary designs!

Seriously, how pretty are these cards?  And who wouldn't feel special receiving a quick, "Just Because" or "Thank You" on something so lovely and handcrafted? 

The hardest part would be trying to decide what to pick....

And one of you will have to do just that!  That's right, Heather is offering to giveaway a set of stationary cards to one lucky reader!  So sweet she is!

Anyone in the US is eligible to enter and you will need to ensure you leave your email or blog address so I have a way to contact you when you win!  There are three chances to snag up a set of cards for yourself!  {each requires a separate blog comment}

1} Head over to Blondie's Shop and pick out the set of stationary you would pick if you win!  Then, leave a comment here on the blog with your choice.

2}  For a second chance to win, follow Heather on Twitter here and let me know you did!

3}  Become a follower of Heather's fun blog here, and let me know you did!

Giveaway is open from Tuesday, 3/29 through 9 p.m. central time Monday, 4/4.  One winner will be selected using {and announced right here on this post Tuesday, 4/5}

Thanks everyone and Good Luck!!