A Three Binder System for Organizing Important Papers
Three-ring binders are one of my favorite ways to declutter papers and keep track of important information.
Simple three-ring binders are versatile, convenient and inexpensive. They come in a variety of colors, styles and widths. They line up neatly on a shelf, but they can also be stashed in a deep drawer or basket if you prefer to keep them out of sight.
It’s easy to add papers or to remove them when they are no longer needed. Store papers in plastic page protectors for extra protection and greater ease in adding or removing information.
I like to categorize my binders by topic or theme. I have narrowed it down to three themed binders which I use to organize important information and declutter papers. My three binder themes are:
Busy families deal in massive amounts of loose papers – everything from soccer schedules to take out menus. A good way to declutter papers associated with all your various activities is to create an Activities Binder.
Include tabs for school, work, sports, activities (music lessons, community theater, book club, church groups, Scouts, etc.), volunteer work, shopping, eating out, entertainment, and anything else you might be involved in. Within each section, include calendars and schedules as appropriate. Also include rosters, price lists, menus, business cards, brochures, and whatever else you want to keep track of.
Creating an Activities binder is a great way to declutter papers from your refrigerator and other surfaces where they tend to collect.
A Household binder is the place to declutter papers relating to your home. Use it to organize warranties and instruction manuals for all your major appliances. Be sure to include the date of purchase and, if possible, the receipt in case you need to make use of the warranty. Simply staple the receipt to the front cover of the instruction manual.
In addition to appliances, include information regarding roofing, carpeting/flooring, windows and doors, HVAC, water heater, gas fireplace, and any other items inherent to your home.
Also include a section on décor
in your Household binder. Keep a paint
sample for each of the paint colors used in your home. Write on the back of the sample the room
where the color is used and the date the walls were painted. Also include fabric scraps, tile samples,
wall paper samples and other finishes as well.
If samples are too bulky to include in your binder, take a photo and
include it in your binder along with a notation regarding the actual location
of the sample. This information will
come in handy in the event you need to make repairs or touch ups.
Further declutter papers by using your Household binder to keep a maintenance log for your home. Keep track of the dates when services were performed – everything from pest control to septic maintenance to roof repairs. This is also a good place to store business cards for services related to home maintenance, decorating, landscaping and so forth.
Create a Family Facts binder to
house all the important information regarding your family. The information you keep here will be of
value not only to you and your family, but also to any others who care for your
children in your absence or who might need to assist you in an emergency.
Include the following information in your Family Facts binder, insofar as it applies to you, as well as any other information you feel is relevant.
Keep a list of policy numbers, basic information regarding coverage, and contact information for your insurance company. Include auto insurance, home owners’ or renters’ insurance, health insurance, and life insurance information.
Free Printable - Insurance Information Form
Compiling all your family’s health-related information in one location makes it easier to fill out forms and answer health-related questions. It can also be vital in the event of an emergency.
Here are some examples of what to include:
Free Printable - Medical History Form
Free Printable - Prescription Drug Information Form
In addition to contact information for emergency personnel, include a list of phone numbers for family, neighbors, and close friends – anyone you, your children, or your children’s caregiver might need to contact in an emergency.
Free Printable - Contacts Information Form
Another important piece of information to store in the emergency section of your Family Facts binder is written directions to your home. This will insure that anyone calling for emergency services from your home (including children and babysitters) can easily guide ambulance, police, fire fighters, or others to your door if need be.
Make sure everyone in your home and anyone caring for your children knows where the Family Facts binder is located and what information it contains. Take it with you when you visit a new health care provider (or remove the relevant pages to take with you). Grab it in an emergency should you be forced to evacuate your home for any reason. A Family Facts binder is a great way to organize as well as declutter papers.
These are just a few of the many ways to utilize binders to declutter papers and organize all your important information!
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