Our Family Binder

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.

Family Binder

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! Smile

Family Binder   Family Binder


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).

Meal Planning

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! Smile

Meal Planning


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.

Family Binder


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:

Important Dates Template

Directly behind the dates, I use the dual pocket inserts to house cards for the next few months.

Important Dates

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.

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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  1. I just started reading your blog and absolutely love it so far! When you have a chance, can you please send me the link to download the meal planner and important dates template? I think they’d really help us get organized before our little one arrives this fall. Thanks!

  2. i am going to make this! we are expecting our little one in 3 weeks. i will feel so good putting this together, i’m all new at trying to be organized. i would love to download those templates if you please!

  3. L<3ve the ideas and that folder!!! I can't wait to get started on it! I have started organizing EVERYTHING now that I too have my first little one on the way (not till Sept. though) luckily I have a little more time because I feel so BeHIND!!! My husband has actually jumped on the bandwagon too, perhaps just to make me feel better about my newly discovered O.C.D. My fingers (and toes) are crossed he sticks with it and helps me stay organized!!! Can't wait for more and good luck with Mr. Dylan and his near arrival!

    1. Thanks Amanda and congrats on your little one!!! That’s awesome your husband is nesting too. Mine actually just started but I have my fingers (and toes) crossed too that he sticks with it :)

  4. Hi Jamie,

    I just wanted to stop in and say how much I am loving reading your blog- I found it through a pin on Pinterest, and I too follow IHeartOrganizing on a daily basis. I am also expecting(a little girl) in August, and once I finish up working this Friday, I cannot wait to begin nesting for the next month and a half before she is here! I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming bundle of joy and can’t wait to read all about it when he is here!

    – Kacie

    1. Thanks so much, Kacie and congrats on your little one! Have fun nesting :) With just 5 days to go… I think I’m finally starting to slow down and feel “nested”

  5. Please send the meal and the important date templates. Love your blog! Just found it today and can already tell i will be back soon!

  6. Hi Jamie,

    I found your blog through pinterest a few days ago and I am already loving it! My husband and I have recently started trying to conceive so I’m sure when that happens I will love your blog even more. Best of luck with having your son, I can’t wait to hear all about becoming a new parent! :)

    – Natalie

  7. Thank you so much for this…I just found your blog and am loving it! Would you please send me the download info?

    Thanks again,


  8. This is really neat! I’ve been meaning to make a Family Binder for a LONG time, but never mustered the courage to tackle it. As I am nesting myself, I’ve been craving organization like it was my life support. I grabbed the templates you have for Meal Planning and Important Dates, but I wonder, do you have a template for the Contacts/Emergency section you did not include for privacy reasons? If so, could you link me to it to see how you organized all the info? Thanks!

  9. I am so inspired by your posts. I am a new mommy with a 5 month old daughter and I am fairly organized but I can see that there is so much more I could do. I would love it if you sent me the templates for the notebook inserts you used. Keep up the good work. It makes a difference when the little one arrives.

  10. I love your blog! Found this on Pinterest a few weeks ago and since we’re expecting in a week what better way to be prepared than to have a family binder. Just curious what kind of things you have under “Dylan” section?

  11. I am inspired by your blog! I love all your ideas:) and what better way to keep organized than to have a family binder! LOVE IT. And since we are expecting our first child in a week I figured I would take your advise and start our family binder so we are better organized when this baby arrives. I was just curious and was wondering what you keep under Dylan’s Section? And if you have any templates that would be handy to have under that section? Thanks

    1. Hey Jaqui! Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. In Dylan’s section I keep paperwork that I need to read: information about his vaccinations, paperwork from his dr, magazine I got for Halloween costumes… haha so really anything I need handy for him.

  12. Oh Jamie, you just made my day. I happen to stumble upon you and this is a blog dream come true. Thanks for the templates and the great tips!

  13. I know I am partial but I love your blog!! You’re so cool and so your readers don’t think I’m creepy you can tell them I am your mom!

  14. Lovely idea, and beautifully executed!

    Just some advice – you may want to include a “babysitter” chapter. As a baby, it may be helpful to list allergies, the best ways to soothe him when he cries, emergency contact information. As he gets older, you can note rules that he is expected to follow (Bed Time? How late can he eat?), rituals (Does he need a story to be read to him before bed?), emergency information (Where is the first aid kit located? You can also print up Emergency procedures online so that they have a handy reference guide.), or even habits the babysitter should be aware of (Does Dylan cry just to get his way? Does he have a bad habit of fibbing, or a favorite hiding spot that he often disappears to?) What is your prefered way that he be disciplined if he misbehave?

    I don’t have children of my own but, as a woman who babysat other’s regularly, I can’t tell you how many times I wished that the kids came with a manual. ;o)

  15. Hi Jamie!

    I just bought the Martha Stewart smooth finish binder today and I was wondering if you like it so far? I’m having second thoughts about it. I see that it leaves some fingerprints and it’s sort of flimsy to me. Have you had any similar problems and if so, how did you fix it? Thank You:)

  16. Jamie! Your totally rock! I am enjoying your blog and all your organizational tips completely! I am a teacher and off for the summer – can’t wait to spend my summer organizing! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas.

  17. I would love to have the important dates and meal planning templates! I am trying to get organized before moving into our new home and this is so perfect for us! thank you! You can email it to estaylor87@gmail.com

  18. Hi, i think your family binder is awesome, would you be able to email some printables so i can start one myself?


  19. I’d love the printables for this binder; maybe i will finally buckle down and make one!!

    (Also, your “junk drawer” puts me to shame. Just thinking of our drawer gives me hives)

  20. Hi Jamie

    I absolutely love the binder! Please could you tell me where you bought it? I’m having trouble finding it and would like to use it as my wedding planner



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