These Must-Read creative storage solutions will get you organized and keep you organized in 2018! Check out Part 1 in our mini-series, “The Ultimate Guide to Staying Organized: Must-Read Solutions!”
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As the new year arrives, everyone gets super excited to get decluttered and organized! I too am one of those naive people! Ha! I kid…kind of.
Every year I look at my organizational goals with rose-colored glasses, and eventually I just give up and live with looking at least three places before I find what I need.
Well, this year is slightly different! I’m still looking through my rose-colored glasses, but this time I’ve got some help! This year I enlisted the aid of my friend Jenna, who has recently started her own home organizing business. I’m telling you, people are knocking down her door! With a BS in Finance AND a BS in Secondary Math Education, she has always been VERY organized (and clearly driven!). I lose track of numbers when adding them up on a calculator, so to major and work in finance, you HAVE to be pretty organized. I do know a little something about being organized as a teacher, but imagine the discipline she had to have to survive the day with moody tweens and teens!?
Not only is she super organized (with so many unique storage ideas), but her house is a gorgeous combination of contemporary and mid-century modern decor. Every space has a purpose and is clearly defined. I SO envy her natural ability to organize! I’m sure my husband does as well. Here are a few pictures from Jenna’s house!
I’m not a total disaster when it comes to organizing, but I have a hard time putting things back. In my defense, it’s often due to needing to tend to my kids or not knowing where something should go, because it doesn’t have a place. Being a “collector” makes it difficult to find a spot for everything, and honestly, I’m feeling overwhelmed with where to begin to declutter, get organized, and stay organized. I started out this year by purchasing some storage baskets for my kids’ rooms, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. You can see my post, “Think Outside the Box: Storage Bins Don’t Have to Be Cubes!”
That’s where Jenna comes in! She has come up with so many unique ways to organize your stuff, whether your home is large or small. My biggest hurdle is probably STAYING organized! I thought there might be one or two more people out there like me, so Jenna and I teamed up to give you “Stay Organized: Must-Read Solutions!” I’m telling you, some of these ideas you have never thought of!
Jenna could write a book about organizing (Seriously, you should write a book Jenna.), because she has so many wonderful ideas! Since she has a ton to share, we decided to break this into a four part series!
Whatever you do, don’t feel overwhelmed! This is meant to help you by giving you the ideas to move towards your organization goals, and then you can move at your own pace to achieve the level of organization you want or need. And now, without further ado, here’s Jenna to share Part 1 of her creative solutions! Look for her FREE printables below!
Stay Organized: Must-Read Solutions Part 1
by Jenna (Home Organizing Solutions)
Part 1: Binders
Even in this digital world, we still manage to collect mounds of papers. Binders are a great way to categorize it all and to have everything easily accessible (and even look pretty on a bookshelf!). I keep our set of binders in the kitchen. For others, it might make sense to keep them in a home office. Do what works best for you! A trip to Staples and you are on your way…
7. Sharpie Marker
8. Label Maker (optional)
9. Decorative Scrapbook Paper (optional)
I have created 7 binders for our house. However, you might find that you need more or less. Below I’ll describe in detail what each of my binders includes. They are in no particular order. Scroll down for the FREE printable Family & House Binder forms!
I have recipes that I’ve printed out online, handwritten on index cards, or cut out of a magazine. Either way, each recipe goes into a Clear Sheet Protector. The sheet protectors fit a standard 8.5” x 11” piece of computer paper, so some recipes that take up a whole sheet get their own sheet protector, while other smaller ones get mounted onto computer paper, with multiple recipes on one sheet. You can even mount recipes on the front and back, since the sheet protectors are clear on both sides. The great thing about keeping recipes this way is that you can just pop out the sheet that you need from the binder, and any food spills can be wiped right off! When you are finished with the recipe, it goes back into the binder. I also used Binder Dividers to categorize my recipes, such as “entrees”, “sides”, “appetizers”, and “desserts”.
Gift Cards, Coupons, Receipts, Tickets, & Brochures Binder
I tried to think of a shorter title for this one, but couldn’t!
We have so many gift cards for everyone in our family. The first thing I do when someone receives a gift card is to take it out of the original packaging or envelope, because that just takes up space. I then use a Sharpie to write who the card belongs to and the dollar amount. All of our gift cards get stashed into a Business Card Holder Page (they fit perfectly!). Side note: there are some gift cards that go directly into my wallet (Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, etc.) because it just makes more sense to have them there. Keep a Sharpie in your purse so you can update card balances.
Coupons go into a Clear Binder Pocket. Some store coupons do reside in another place (my glove compartment), and for you, that might be your purse. But for coupons that come in the mail, especially for online shopping, this is a great way to keep them organized.
For current receipts, stash them in a Clear Binder Pocket. Once you know a receipt is no longer needed, throw it out. As for important receipts for big-ticket items (appliances, etc.), we file ours in a separate file cabinet in our office.
Tickets for upcoming concerts, movies, or sporting events, along with brochures for camps, workshops, or anything you are researching get their own Clear Binder Pockets.
Nowadays, people pay most of their bills online, but there are some bills that we still get in paper form, especially if it’s an invoice for a contractor. I always open bills right away, tear off the payment tab and tuck it into the return envelope, and shred the details of the bill (unless it’s needed for some discrepancy). This eliminates a lot of the bulk. I then tuck the bill into a Clear Binder Pocket until it gets paid. You might need more than one Binder Pocket if you have a lot of paper bills! I have another Clear Binder Pocket for blank envelopes, for those annoying bills that come without a return envelope. A stash of stamps can be tucked right into the front pocket of your binder, along with any preprinted address labels that you might have.
These fit into Clear Binder Pockets perfectly, no matter what size. Since the pockets are clear, you can see exactly what’s in each one, and you can fit a few small manuals into each pocket. Use Binder Dividers for categories if needed. A larger binder (2-inches or more) might work better for this one.
Here is where I keep our printed-out Christmas card list of addresses, school directory, and class email lists. Each gets their own Clear Binder Pocket.
All of our take-out menus also get stashed into Clear Binder Pockets. If you have a lot of them, you can organize into categories!
Family & House Binder
This is what I refer to as the “Manual of Our Life”. Anyone that stays here as a guest (and we have lots of family who visits) or any babysitter that is taking care of the kids can find out anything they need to know in this binder. I make sure that this is the first thing I show new babysitters the first time they are here. I broke down this binder into five categories, but you might find that your categories differ. My categories are: Emergency Contacts, Medical, School, Kid’s Activities, and House Stuff. I used Binder Dividers to separate the categories.
In the Emergency Contacts section, I’ve printed out a list of numbers for police, fire department, poison control, close family members, neighbors, close friends, and babysitters. I slid the paper into a Clear Sheet Protector, and I update it frequently as needed.
In the Medical section, I’ve printed out a list of numbers and addresses for our family doctor, dentist, and local pharmacy. This goes into a Clear Sheet protector. I also made copies of all of our health insurance cards, cut them to size, and placed them into a Business Card Holder page. In the event of a medical emergency, whoever is taking care of the kiddos has everything they need! This would also be a good place to keep information about allergies.
The School section contains anything school related such as calendars, announcements, schedules, what days library books are due, what day to wear sneakers for gym, flyers for upcoming events such as chorus concerts or field trips, and contact information for teachers and principals. This is also a great place to keep all of those forms that teachers hand out on Back-To-School Night with usernames and passwords for online textbooks. These are all placed into either a Clear Sheet Protector or a Clear Binder Pocket.
In the Kid’s Activities section, I printed out anything related to the kids’ extracurricular activities, including schedules for practices and games, locations of fields, equipment needed, etc. This gets updated frequently with the change of seasons, and can be placed either in a Clear Sheet Protector or Clear Binder Pocket.
The House Stuff section contains phone numbers for all utilities, trash and recycling schedules, and a list of where to locate household items such as our first aid kit, batteries, flashlight, matches, candles, electrical panel, extra house keys, etc. (basically anything that might be needed in an emergency). These lists are kept in a Clear Sheet Protector. This section also contains business cards of any contractors who have worked on our house, as well as any company that we currently have service contracts with. For example: electrician, plumber, general contractor, landscaper, HVAC, roofer, exterminator, painter, and locksmith. You guessed it…we keep these in a Business Card Holder Page!
FREE Printables for the ‘Family & House Binder’
Here are the FREE printables for this binder! Just click on the link for each corresponding sheet!
As you can imagine, setting up all of these binders does take quite a bit of time and effort. Since we all lead different lives, the ideas I’ve talked about can carry over into any category, and be as detailed or as general as you want. You might find that you need a combination of different sized binders. I even decided to make my binders look pretty with decorative craft paper, along with using a label maker. As plain and simple or as detailed and pretty, once you have those binders all ready to go, any paper that enters your house now has a home!
Thank you so much Jenna!
Is anyone else super pumped to get started!? Yes, you have to set aside the time to create them, but it’s SO worth it in the end! I need clear cut ways to keep the papers from piling up, and this is as clear as it gets!
How do you organize your papers? Is it similar or completely different?
Where else are you going to get this much information and step-by-step instructions on how to create binders to store your mounds of paper!? Make sure you come back to check out Part 2 in our series “Stay Organized: Must-Read Solutions” and you’ll get to see more pictures from Jenna’s beautiful home!