For as long as I can remember, I have been making lists. Coming up with charts. Labeling. Color coding. Organizing information.
I remember the first time Donnie caught a glimpse of my class notes when we were in college. “What are those?!” he asked me, looking at page after page of my typed, color-coded notes that included a complex system of symbols, charts, and graphs along with my detailed explanations.
He had discovered exactly how big of a nerd I actually was. And I was fine with that. That was my thing.
My love of organizing information didn’t stop in college. In fact, it continues to this day in the form of organizational printables and planning sheets!
These two tools are absolutely essential to keeping my own home and life organized, and I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well! Let’s take the grand tour!
Simplify: 35+ Printables to Help You Organize Your Life
It’s hard to believe that we’re already on the fourth installment of Simplify! This year’s version includes a bright and happy color scheme, a sleek new design, and few new printables. All of the pages in the set are available in both a standard 8.5″ x 11″ size AND a junior 5.5″ x 8.5″ size (which fits nicely in your purse)! 🙂 As with the previous versions, the printables are accompanied by explanations and a list of ideas for how to use each one– most of them have multiple uses!
What would any home binder be without a pretty cover, amiright?! I typically print out my cover on white card stock so that it is more durable, and pop it right into the front of my binder.
Goals & Planning
I always put goals and planning right up front (maybe because I am slightly fanatical about those things… 😉 ) so I can get to them easily. Like every section of my home binder, the goals and planning section starts out with a divider page to help keep all of my printables neat and organized. Here are the printables that the Goals & Planning section includes:
Goal Setting Sheets: Simplify includes two types– one that is broken down by categories, and another that is organized in priority format. I’ve used them both in the past, and they each have been effective in helping me reach the goals I set out to attain.
12 Month Calendar: The 12 month calendar is undated on purpose so that it could be used for any year you might need it. Monthly calendars are always one of the organizational tools I use most, and I give tons of ideas for using this one within Simplify.
Weekly Planners: Along with planning out my month, I need to be able to write down the specifics of each week as well, and there are two weekly planning printables to choose from. The first type is a simple one page option that helps me set goals for the week and plan out my action steps to achieve them. The other is a two-page spread, with the weekdays broken down by hour so that it’s easy to do some time blocking.
Planning My Day: If you didn’t think I was crazy enough about planning already, sometimes I break it down even further and use a “Planning My Day” sheet. I can make my to do list at the top and write down everyone I need to contact for the day. Then I use my time blocking method to schedule everything I need to get done into a specific time slot to help me stay on track and not get distracted.
Project Planning: If I have a big project that I’m working on, this printable helps me to write down all of the details in one place so I don’t forget anything!
Build a New Habit: So much of what we do in our days comes down to habits and routines, and this simple printable helps me to form positive habits and make the most of my time!
Food & Meal Planning
After I have my goals and planning section all set to go, I move on to my next favorite section– that would be food, of course!
Grocery Lists: Simplify is equipped with a few different grocery lists. There is one that allows space for meal planning (one week and two week versions) and then separates the list by area of the store to make sure you don’t forget anything. There is also a list you can use if you’re visiting multiple stores and need to know what to purchase at each one.
Meal Planning: Along with a sheet to plan meals on a normal week, my binder also includes a meal planning page for holidays, when meals are typically larger. I can list everything I need for the meal on one page, so it is neat and organized.
Inventory Sheets: Easily keep track of everything in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer with these cute inventory sheets. You can pop them into the binder or hang them closer to their respective destinations for easier use. I’ve even laminated mine before and used a dry erase marker to update it so I could use the same sheet over and over again!
Recipe Binder: I was always frustrated because my recipes were scattered all over the place, so I created a pretty little recipe binder to contain them! Along with pages to separate the different sections, there are blank recipe sheets to write down your favorite recipes. Prefer recipe cards to keep in a box? Those are included too!
Health & Fitness
Fitness has always been an interest of mine, so I had to include some pages for keeping track of all things health-related!
Fitness Tracker: This handy sheet helps me keep track of my workouts, food intake, and water consumption all in one place!
Progress Tracker: I always think it’s encouraging to see how far I’ve come. This page helps me keep track of my weight, measurements, and photos so that I can track my progress.
Visits to the Doctor: I don’t know about you, but it can sometimes be hard for me to remember the details of each doctor visit, so I created this sheet so I could have it all written down in one place.
Medical Information: Filling out medical paperwork is a breeze with this sheet that keeps track of everything from medications to surgeries to family history all on one page.
Cleaning & Organizing
Cleaning may not be my favorite thing in the world, but it becomes a teeny bit easier when I have a pretty printable to keep me organized! 🙂
Cleaning Plans: I know there is no one-size-fits-all cleaning plan, so I’ve included three different options in Simplify that can all be customized to fit your life and schedule! Sometimes I like to keep it simple. The list of cleaning tasks allows me to mark off when I’ve done something, and I can easily see which tasks I need to tackle next. This sheet can be used in the binder or can be laminated and used with a dry erase marker so you can update it over and over again.
The second cleaning plan breaks tasks down by occurrence– fill in the tasks you want to accomplish each week at the top, and then list your daily, monthly, and yearly cleaning items at the bottom to make sure nothing gets missed.
Finally, you could also break up your home by room or “zone.” List every task you need to complete in each zone and write down what day you will tackle that particular zone each week.
Labels and Tags: This section of Simplify also includes some pretty printable labels and tags to help maintain organization throughout your home.
Finance & Budgeting
Budget Binder: Budgeting is another topic that I’m extremely passionate about, so of course I had to include my full budget binder as part of Simplify! Set financial goals and learn how to set up your budget and manage it each month with these super simple (and pretty!) printables.
Also included in the finance section are pages to keep track of account information, credit card information, and charitable contributions.
Birthdays & Gift Giving
Not that I’ve ever forgotten anyone’s birthday before, but… 😉 This section of my home binder helps make sure that doesn’t happen!
Important Dates: Because I can’t remember every single birthday and anniversary of all of my family and friends off the top of my head, I created an “important dates” page so that I could have them all written down in one place.
Event Information: Planning a party? This sheet can help you keep track of all of the details in one place!
Gift Giving Guide: This page can be used during the holidays or all year ’round to keep track of presents you want to give to your favorite people!
(The cute little gift tags you can see peeking into some of these photos are included in this section too!)
For the Kids
Since chaos and kids can sometimes be synonymous, I knew that I would need pretty printables for them too!
Info for the Sitter: Whenever Donnie and I leave the Cs with a sitter, I fill out this page so they have all of the necessary information they may need.
Chore/Goal Charts: For some reason, my kids really love checking things off a chart! When I’m trying to help them form a new habit or remember to do a certain task every day, we use this printable to keep track of it all.
School Information: This sheet can be used in a yearly binder for your child, or I also use it in a file box where I keep a sampling of my kids’ work from each year of school.
Visits to the Doctor/ Vaccination Record: These sheets have saved me so much time! Having a clear record of my child’s medical and vaccination histories makes filling out paperwork a breeze.
For the Pets
Our furry (and feathered!) friends need printables, too, so I was sure to include sheets just for them!
Visits to the Vet/Pet Vaccination Record: Keep track of your pet’s medical history, and have all of their information at your fingertips whenever you need it!
Other Lists & Logs
Sometimes I just really need a list, and the last section of my home binder is full of them!
Travel Planning: This section includes two different travel planning printables to keep your vacation details neat and organized.
Packing List: This list helps me make sure I’m not forgetting anything important when we go on a trip!
Password Cheat Sheet: Have you ever forgotten your password when you’ve gone to log in to a website? Yeah, me neither. I was asking for a friend… 😉
Vehicle Maintenance Log: The next owner of your car will love you to pieces for keeping such meticulous notes about your car’s history on this cute printable!
Call Log: Keep track of who you talked to and when by using this handy call log.
Blank List: And last but certainly not least, sometimes you just need to make a list. Simplify includes this blank one, which has endless possibilities and can be used for all sorts of things!
So that’s my binder tour! I know it is a LOT of printables all at one time! I’ve found that different phases of life call for different organizational strategies, though, so while I’ve used all of these printables at one time or another over the past several years, never have I ever used them all at once. (Nor would I recommend trying to use them all at once– I’d go into printable overload!)
To help you figure out how to best use your home binder printables to meet YOUR specific needs, I created a little video that can help you make a plan of attack!
When I notice there are systems in our home that are not going as smoothly as they should be, my first move is always to reach for a printable, and they’re incredibly useful for helping me to take my chaos and turn it into order!
A Note on the Printing the Junior Sized Printables
Printing the smaller sized printables can seem a little bit confusing because they’re not on standard sized paper. The junior sized printables are designed to be printed on half-sheets, so they are 5.5″ x 8.5″. To make this size, I simply use a paper slicer to cut standard 8.5″ x 11″ pieces of paper in half. You can also purchase the sheets pre-sliced. I’ve linked to both my paper slicer and the pre-sliced sheets at the end of this post.
When you’re ready to print, I highly recommend opening the file in Adobe Reader, which is a free program. From there, go to your print settings, and make sure the paper size is set at 5.5″ x 8.5″. Depending on what version you have, you may have to set this up as a custom paper size. Once you have your paper size correctly set, slide your half sheets into your printer, adjust the tray as needed, and you’ll be ready to print!
The 2017-2018 Intentional Life Planner
There are hundreds and thousands of planners out there. So what’s so different about this one?
Admittedly, I created The Intentional Life Planner to fill a need of mine. I wanted a logical way to be able to set big goals and then break them down into manageable steps so that by being consistent over time, I would accomplish everything I had set out to accomplish. And that is exactly what this planner is designed to do.
Start with the Big Picture: Whenever I sit down to think about my goals, I start by dreaming about what I would like my life to look like 5 years from now. How will I spend my days? What will my priorities be? What will be going on in my family? What will my job look like? And though it might be scary, I try to dream really, really BIG. If everything would go as “perfectly” as possible, where would I be? That’s what I write down on my “dream big” page.
What can I accomplish this year?: After I think about my 5 year plan, I decide what areas I will choose to hone in on and really work at in the next 12 months. I set my goals and also come up with specific action steps to take to meet each of those goals.
Break it down further: When I’ve decided on my goals for the year, then each month I take a look back at them and decide what specific pieces of my goals I’m going to work on during the next 30 days. They may be small steps, but they are getting me closer and closer to those big goals I have in mind. At the end of each month, I have a page that helps me evaluate what went well and what can be improved upon in the future.
How will I use my weeks? My days?: Since I know what I want to work on during the month, it then becomes a matter of execution. I have room to make some goals for each week, and since each day is broken down hour by hour, I can assign important tasks to specific times on specific days.
This might seem like a lot of planning, but I find that when I take a great big goal and break it down into smaller parts using this method, I’m a lot more likely to accomplish it because I’m tackling it one baby step at a time. The Intentional Life Planner has all of the pages and tools I need to help me do that.
I know that printable planners can be a little intimidating to put together (they used to be for me!), but it truly is not hard to print them yourself at home. To make it even easier, I put together a step-by-step video to walk you through it:
(Please note that all computers and printers differ, so your process might be slightly different than mine. I always recommend printing a few test pages before you send your whole planner to print so that you can make sure everything is lining up correctly.)
My Favorite Binder Supplies
I am always asked about the supplies I use to assemble my home binder and my planner, so I thought I’d make a list below to make it easy to find what you need!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Large Binders I Love
My go-to place for cute binders is Target. I’ve had luck finding binders I love both in the dollar spot and in the regular school supplies section. Unfortunately, many of their binders are only sold in stores, but if you have a Target near you, here are a few of my favorites that you can keep an eye out for:
If you prefer to order online, here are a few binders I love that are available to have shipped straight to your home:
Super Cute Small Binders
I finally bit the bullet and purchased a new printer this year (1), and it has been perfect for printing my organizational printables! The large home binder and planner are designed to be printed on standard sized 8.5″ x 11″ paper (2). The smaller home binder and planner are designed to be printed on 5.5″ x 8.5″ half sheets, and I just cut my own using standard sized paper and a paper slicer (3). If you would prefer to purchase your half sheets, Amazon carries them pre-cut (4).
I use the materials shown above to assemble my home binder and planner. For the junior size versions, I use the Swingline hole punch shown (1) because it has adjustable feet that I can move to the exact position I need for my small binder. For my large home binder and planner, I prefer the heavy duty hole punch (2) because it can cut more sheets at a time. To divide my home binder sections or months of my planner, I use tab dividers like the ones shown in both large (3) and small (4) versions. And finally, I label the tabs using my label maker (5) and clear tape (6).
Whew! That was a lot of information, but hopefully you have a better idea of how I set up my home binder and planner! If you’re ready to get rid of the chaos and bring your home and life to order, I invite you to pop over and learn more about Simplify and The Intentional Life Planner. Let’s get organized!!
Have a wonderful week!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
This post was updated on 8/8/2017. The image below is from a previous version of the post.