Everyone and their brother, plus their in-laws, ex-girlfriends and college roommates have talked about the household binder. For me, there’s little I find more satisfying than an organizing project. So after I got sick of looking at my important papers stacked on the table, I tackled this binder.
This is a relatively quick and oh so terribly satisfying way to consolidate your family’s business and feel organized and in charge in the process. There are many ways to go about it, but I wanted our binder to be a quick reference guide with copies (not originals) that could be referred to quickly for any and all important family information.
Why it’s important.
(1) Husband and wife are on the same page.
Often, the family member who does the bills or finances is way more in the loop than the other spouse. If you pay the bills, does your husband know who the service providers are? If so, does he know the account or policy numbers? If your husband takes care of this information, do you? I do the household administration in our family, as admin is my strength.
My husband keeps in the loop as much as possible but doesn’t necessarily know the days the direct debits come out or our account numbers without digging through files. This way, I’ve created a tab for our various bills and accounts so if either of us need to know a number in a flash, we can flip to it quickly. It prevents one spouse from feeling in the dark or not being able to answer important questions because the other spouse isn’t home.
(2) You’ll have your accounts in order in case of a theft or lost wallet, etc.
If you lost your wallet tomorrow would you even know who to begin calling after the DMV and the bank? If you keep a section in your binder with photocopies of your wallet’s contents you’ll be able to quickly get your affairs in order and will have all the information in one place.
(3) Great place for things pertaining to children’s school and activities.
With permission slips, field trips, menus and school fees on the mind, this is a great place to keep it all together. If the family binder is central and you visit it regularly, you’ll know what’s happening when and what you need to do for things to flow smoothly. You might include coaches’ names, numbers, class syllabi, etc. in the appropriate file.
What to keep in your family binder?
Note, I keep copies of all these things, not originals. Where possible I keep originals in a filing cabinet, and this for a quick reference or in case I need a lot of personal information at once. This isn’t to be used as a filing cabinet, per se, but as a place to store important info in snippets.
- Driver’s license
- SSN cards
- Passport/visa/immigration information
- Birth certificates
- Bank statements
- Bank card information
- Savings account info
- Investment info (including broker info)
- Stock info (including broker info)
- Automobile information
- Insurance information
- Mortgage or rent info
- Emergency contacts
- Will and Testament, Living Will
- Home Business Docs
I’ve actually created another section with more personal or family related things, and you can really add a lot here including:
- Birthday Lists
- Christmas present tracking list
- Parenting Goals / Things to teach the kids
- The Garden Notebook (which I bought here)
- Budgeting / Calendar / Task List / Everything packet (found here on Etsy)
- Birthday Interview sheets you can copy and use on your kids’ birthdays
- Username and password logs
- List of books you want to read
- Bank Account Info
- Go to recipes or ones that require specific ratios (like freezer food recipes)
All in all, this shouldn’t take longer than an evening or two to compile since it’s only copies of documents you already have or it’s simply filing papers that have been kept in different areas. But believe me, after it’s put together you’ll feel like you could be the President of the United States’ secretary for how organized and efficient you are. It’s a good feeling and one both your husband and children will benefit from as well.
Do you have a binder? What do you keep in it?
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