I’ve always thought the main benefits to being organized were two fold – (1) You know where everything is and can easily get to it without tripping, digging or cussing and (2) It just looks better and gives you that warm-fuzzy, yet super in-control feeling that you are a woman that has “got it goin’ on!” <insert flamboyant triple finger snap>. Sometimes I find myself organizing for reason #2 – take for example, my recent linen closet makeover. Sure, I could access all of my sheets and blankets while they were balled up in the linen closet, but don’t they just look so much better in neat little labeled bins? And every week (slight exaggeration on how often I change our sheets) when I open that closet, I totally give myself a little mental fist pump because I know I showed that closet who was boss.
So while I still have this full supply of nesting crack running through my super pregnant veins, I thought I would tackle a project that often makes me cringe – the mail/junk/remember-to-do/crap-should’ve-mailed-this-weeks-ago bin. Jer and I are famous, like mega-supa-star famous, for throwing random and important papers into our junk drawer. I think it’s the whole outta-sight-outta-mind concept, but every month I find myself sorting through this crap and realizing I forgot to mail or do something important. So to tackle this chaos, I turned to one of my most favorite blogs iHeartOrganizing for some tips and literally found myself taking a page out of her book… or should I say binder!
So without further ado, I’m proud to introduce to you… The Dorrough Family Binder. The one stop shop for all important family information. Although I totally intend for it to grow with our family, right now it has 4 sections: (1) Meal Planning (2) Contacts (3) Dylan (4) Important Dates. And yes, this is the Martha Stewart binder that I showed you guys a few weeks ago…told ya I had big plans for this bad boy.
I wanted the first section of the binder to house stuff that I might need quick access to for the other sections. Scissors for coupons that I’ve stored in the Meal Planning section, stamps for cards in the Important Dates section, zip-drive and itty-bitty tape measure for… Ok, Ok busted. They needed a home!
The first tab and the most frequented section of this Binder thus far is the Meal Planning section. Since my Relay Foods post, a few people have asked how I meal plan and this my friends is my answer. Sure, there are note pads and free word doc templates for doing this, but I think having your meal plan and shopping list on one piece of paper together is super helpful. So here’s how this goes down:
1. Every Sunday I pull out one of my Weekly Meals templates and in the left hand column plan our meals from Monday – Sunday. In the second picture below, you’ll see I’ve listed out some of our favorite meals for easy reference. This is super duper helpful and without it, I’d probably schedule pizza and spaghetti way too many times.
2. After listing out our meals, I then list out the ingredients I need to make it happen. I also do a drive by on our pantry and fridge to see what else I might need for the week.
3. I then log onto relayfoods.com and either quickly fill my cart from “my favorites” list or search out new items and place my order. (yes, I just grocery shopped in 5 minutes…. it’s life changing!)
4. Finally, I hang up this week’s meal plan in our kitchen for easy reference (and because I think this baby has literally eaten my brain and I can’t remember anyyyyything).
Aside from our list of favorite meals, I also use this dual pocket insert to house any coupons and last week’s Relay invoice, which actually had a 12% coupon on it!
Nothing fancy here… not even images, as I didn’t think my neighbors would appreciate their phone number and address on my blog. So in this section I have printouts with the following:
1. Our neighbors contact info
2. Emergency Info – Police, Fire, Family, Doctor, etc.
3. So I don’t have this in here yet, but one day when I have nothing to do (which I hear will be never, once Dylan arrives), I thought it would be a neat idea to print labels with addresses of those I frequently mail to – family and close friends, and have those live in this section for easy and quick reference.
Being the responsible parents-to-be that we are, Jer and I took a baby class a few months ago as we both have 0% experience with those tiny little people. The class was so worth it and we picked up a ton of information on vaccines, food, and hygiene. And since I have a hunch that we might need to reference this info in T minus 7 days, I decided that it needed a little home in the binder as well.
As Dylan gets older, I think this will also be a great place to house some of his daycare and school info.
So how many times have you forgotten a family member or close friend’s birthday? Sure, saying it on Facebook counts but there are some people in your life, you like to go that extra step for and send a gift or card to. As our family continues to grow, it’s been harder and harder to keep track of all of the dates, so taking another tip from Jen’s binder, I created an Important Dates template for our family:
Directly behind the dates, I use the dual pocket inserts to house cards for the next few months.
So that’s our Family Binder. I’m sure it will grow with time and take on new “chapters” but for now it’s working perfectly and has found a comfy little corner spot in our kitchen junk drawer.
More than happy to give y’all a free printable of both the meal planner and important dates template. Just let me know in the comments and I’ll send you a link to download.
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I'm Jamie, just one new mama organizing her way to a sweeter and happier home