This week, I'm focusing on Back to School Prep to transition us to a regular weekly schedule again. Yesterday, I shared how Meal Planning helps me feel organized and saves me time during busy seasons like this. Here's another habit I've managed to stick to:
This thin binder has replaced my previous system of sticky notes, lost papers, and forgotten information and takes up very little space on my desk. I use a regular 3-ring binder, nothing fancy, divided into the following sections:
- Budget: There's a copy of our yearly budget and monthly recaps here. It's also a good place to keep a written copy of your financial goals to help encourage you to stay on track.
- Gifts: I keep a list of all the birthdays, upcoming parties, and any other gift-giving events here. I've also had my husband make a wish list of board games, video games, and anything else so I can keep an eye out at Slickdeals for good deals throughout the year.
- Household: If I do a long-term meal plan (like I'm doing right now for back-to-school), I keep it here. Then I can reference it each week when I make my shopping list. I also have any other important household papers that need to be available (as opposed to filed away in the basement) like the estimates we're collecting to get our windows replaced.
- Miscellaneous: Sometimes you just have a few things that don't fit anywhere else. This section has my HOA newsletter, some fliers about upcoming rec center classes and sports leagues, and things like my notes from the last yard sale (so I can plan for the next one).
- Rosters: This is where I keep my lists for the different clubs I'm in (MOMS Club, Mothers of Multiples, etc.), my babysitting co-op, etc. It's faster to flip here to find a phone number than to track down someone on the computer.
- School: I keep the school calendar, class handouts, class list, and those types of papers here. You can have a separate section for each child, if necessary.
Just as when organizing a small space like a closet or drawer, having a Household Binder gives paper a home when it comes into the house. That way, it's not piling up on counters and other surfaces. I keep it upright on my desk, along with my blog binder (organized very similarly), my current notebook of brain scribbles, and everyone's computer games (you can see where the priorities are in this household). For more ideas on organizing for the school year, head over to Org Junkie's Command Central linky. Updated: For 2010, Southern Fried Dreams has a Back to School Tips linky!