Tuesday, March 29, 2011

27 March Challenge: Project "Household Binder" {Let's Eat!}

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!

When I started this whole Household Binder project, I had decided that one binder may not be enough.  My brain had so many categories and ideas, that I ended up with four binders that I would eventually fill up.

And that I have been doing!  My Household Binder is now packed with goodies, and nearing completion!  Oh the joy my happy heart is feeling!

So while I continue to fill up the main Household Binder, I realized there were a couple of items that actually belonged their own separate binders.  Today, I am focusing on all things FOOD!

That's right.  Food is such an important part of our lives that I think it's definitely deserving of it's own little binder tribute!

I actually had a binder for all of my recipes that I had put together a long while ago and shared with you here.  Those got moved to the "new matching binder", tabs and all!

Then, I added a stack of my personalized shopping lists to the front tab.

This way, the lists are accessible in the same binder that I use to pick recipes and meal plan!  Then, I just tucked my coupon envelopes in the pocket on the other side {you can see I updated my coupon envelope system to use larger sized envelopes}:

The next page includes a laminated Meal Planning Calendar, which we can reuse from week to week as we go through our meal planning process:

The next tab is a new tab for me and something I have been wanting to add for awhile.  A freezer inventory list!  I never know what is stock piled in our freezer, and then I tend to over buy since digging in two separate freezers before my weekly shopping trip isn't really my idea of a good time! 

I laminated this pretty new friend of mine, in hopes to keep it in an up-datable/reusable format!  Now, I can just list meals and frozen items that we keep chilly in the freezer, along with the date it entered, how many we have and check it off when we run out!

click HERE to download PDF

I am certain that there are some great benefits to doing this!  Now I can meal plan based off of current inventory.  And I can easily add items we have run out of, to my shopping list.  And it's super easy to use, so I fully anticipate the hubs can manage this right along with me!  {Oh, and if you are wondering, you can see how we organize our freezer here in this post.}

The next tab in my binder is for take out menus, which can either slide in the divider pocket or be punched and placed behind!

The rest is just pages and pages of recipe clippings in page protectors, which rounds out the rest of the binder!  

Again, these binders are such life changers!  Keeping everything together saves us SO much time!  I can't boast enough about how much I just adore this month's challenge!  Why did I wait so long?!

So who's with me on this one?  How do you organize all those recipes?  And manage your meal plans?  And shopping trips?  Any tips and tricks that work wonderful for you that any of us can snag up?  Is there a limit to how many binders one can/should have, because I may become a binder making addict after this!

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!


  1. awesome! one quick question for you. What type of pens do you use on your laminated forms? I want to try to do this with contact paper, but dont want to mess it up. Also, how do you get the ink off the laminated forms when you are ready to change it out? TIA! great job on your binder!

  2. I have a recipe binder and it’s fantastic. I added a section recently. (Please feel free to judge my insanity.) My husband and I recently started a special diet, so I went through all the cookbooks I own and made an index of the recipes we can still enjoy. It’s organized by food type, and lists the cookbook and page number next to the recipe title. It took time to do, but now it’s easy to add those foods to our meal plan without fumbling through the books all the time. Some things we eat now that I’m sure we would never have tried otherwise.

  3. I second the question about what kind of pen to use on laminated sheets. Do you use dry erase markers? I'd love find out so I can reuse my cleaning lists and such. Thanks!

  4. This is the one I was waiting for. Thanks Jen! I decided when you started this challenge that this was one of the topics my home really needed. I hate when things go to waste and it can happen because you forget about it. I can't wait to start to use this. I still have to finish setting up my binder and I'm excited about it.

  5. I wish I had found your site earlier. I ended up making a dry erase freezer inventory myself and attached it to our freezer. I use dry erase markers so that I can easily update. I love your idea too!


    Stephanie at Full of Great Ideas

  6. For now I already have six binders - without a food binder! :-)

    But I have to say: here in Germany we have so much paperwork, that needs to be archived for several years.

    I'm looking forward to getting all the important binders done this week, so I can share it on my blog and link it up!

    Silvie :-)

  7. I will be using the idea for recording all of our favorite recipes. That way, my boys won't starve if I'm not here!

    I use a menu-by-the-month method I developed myself. I posted about it several weeks ago.
    It sure has made my life easier!
    Thanks for all the goodies!

  8. Can I just say that I adore. I strive to be you. Seriously. Must organize. Thanks for all the ideas and pdf's! Look for them on Today's Top 20 tomorrow!! :)


  9. Ok seriously Jen...I just want to say that you amaze me every single day and I want to be you when I grow up :-)

  10. Oh sweet Jen girl...you just AH-MAZE me!!!

    I am taking notes though for sure, and when all is said and done, come April (when the master bedroom is done)....the binder project begins.

    I did get my index card system going (http://www.lemusingsofmoi.com/2011/02/change-your-lives-with-3x5s.html) but I think the binder will be a PERFECT compliment.

  11. I also love organizing our meals! I plan a weekly menu and grocery list for me and my husband each week, and as a dietitian who loves to cook we have different meals all the time.

    My question for Jen: I subscribe to a monthly recipe magazine, and I don't know how to organize all my favorite recipes. On average there are at least 10-15 recipes per magazine that I bookmark for to make for a later date. Right now I write the names of my favorites recipes on a sticky note on the cover, instead of ripping out all the pages. I wonder what's the best way to do this? I now have a large stack of magazines that I am hanging on to. But I'm not sure if ripping out that many pages is organized either, as I don't know how to file them - by main ingredient, by prep time, by season??
    thanks! Amanda

  12. LOVE!! Thank you so much Jenn!!! Our house will run so smoothly with all of these pdf tools and ideas!!

  13. random question: what kind of dividers do you use? i am having a hard time finding ones that stick out past my pages once i put them in the protective covers.

  14. @Lacey, I use a fine tip Expo dry erase marker, I have noticed if it sits on the laminate {or any other dry erase board}, it seems to get dry/stick. Nothing that a damp rag doesn't clear right off though!

    @Amanda,I used to receive the cooking magazines as well and found they just took up too much space so I clipped and moved to the recipe binder, which I divided out by meal type {sandwiches, breakfasts, snacks, main courses, etc...} It saved a ton of space and everything is easy to find when I meal plan. Another option would be to input the recipes into a digital recipe organizing program which would store them all for you electronically. Some even create grocery lists for you based off of the ingredients needed in your selected recipes.

    @sara, I found the divider tabs at Target, but I didn't save the original packaging so I honestly can't tell you which ones they were. I had the same problem as you previously but got lucky this time around. The ones I am using also have pockets front and back and came in a pack of 8 in multiple colors.



  15. I just found your blog and I am in love, love, love with everything. I am especially excited about your home binder. I have been wanting to start one for quite some time. I have read many blogs that utilize the home binder and help with set up; however, yours is the first one I have come across that actually fits with what I am looking for.
    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dawn - dsimon8@aol.com

  16. Hi Jen! When the project started in March and had thought
    organized into two folders, one for food. Now
    pdf greatly thank you for giving me the job. I remain
    the problem of translation (you can pass by email
    original format for editing?) but I do not care!
    When it is completed I will send you photos of my folders!

    A kiss!

    Noelia (Barcelona, Spain)

  17. Totally love this idea. I truly need to go through my fridge and freezers to figure out what is in there. I love the idea of having everything in binders where it can be found at a glance. This organized stuff takes a lot of work! I am changing one thing at a time.

  18. you can also use a wet erase marker on the laminate. vis-a-vis is a brand ive used before. it wont come off unless you put water on it. it wont smudge like dry erase

  19. I am so in love with all your stuff - I'm a newbie to your site. I'm SO excited about the freezer inventory - that is something I've been struggling with! Thank you. Curious if you have come up with good ways to organize recipes on the computer?

  20. I have just completed a binder and done a makeover on my laundry room- adding a family command center! I was so inspired by so many great blogs and I have linked the top five that helped me get my very first project underway, completed, and my life on the path of being ORGANIZED (yay!) I appreciate it so much and loved your printables- which matched my "BRIGHT HAPPY COLORFUL" theme PERFECTLY! When I do the blog post about the binder I will be sure to link you again! Here is what I've done- it's amazing- (for me the domestically challenged clutter queen stressed out messed out mom that I am).... http://inspiredpieceshome.blogspot.com/2011/03/this-mess-is-place-project-1-laundry_30.html

    THANK YOU FOR ALL THE INSPIRATION! And the great/perfect printables!

  21. @Michelle, there are some great programs out there for organizing your recipes, some are web based {like AllRecipes.com} and others store on your pc {I have heard good things about this one: http://www.amazon.com/DVO-Cookn-Deluxe-6-0-Organizer/dp/B000056B63/ref=sr_1_7?s=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1301492182&sr=1-7}.

    I personally am still a cook book/binder girl, but am itching to update this year! :)


  22. I featured you today! Woo Hoo!


  23. I started my household binder last week & am still perfecting it. Thanks for all the free printables! They are going to be a huge help in finishing my binder! Now if I can just get my printer to work, LOL! Once it's done I'll blog all about it! Yay!

  24. Hi Jen

    I am a new reader to your blog. I am sure this question I am going to ask has been asked a million times, especially from new blog reader like me. ;)

    How do you do the colorful font in all your printables? Do you manually do each letter a different shade? Maybe you can do a short tutorial if time permits. Btw, what is your favorite font to use?

    Thanks so much and I am going to continue reading your blog right now.


  25. Hi Jen,

    Love your blog! What font do you use that does the multi color letters or do you do it individually?

    Thanks, Tina

  26. I was trying to load the freezer printable and it is not working any help would be great.


Thank you so much for taking a moment to join in on the conversation! I read and appreciate each and every comment, however, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious, or spam-like. I would love for this comment section to be used as a place to engage in purposeful dialogue, I only ask that everyone remains constructive and considerate.

All comments will be moderated and may take a moment to appear.