Home Management Binder: Setting It All Up

This week I am going to show you my home management binder. Today's post is on setting up a binder. What you will need...

  • a 3-ring binder of any sort
  • tab dividers
  • pens
  • hole punch (3-hole or single handheld)
  • printer and/or label maker (optional)
  • blank paper (colored or white)

the binder

I purchased my binder at Target. It was a bit pricey, but I wanted one that wasn't plastic coated and was very durable. The brand is greenroom. What I like about this particular brand is the 3-ring clasp is located on the binding, not on the right side cover. For the tabs that I used, I need this type of binder so they wouldn't stick out and get ruined.

You don't have to purchase this same binder or even this same type. Mine has a one inch binding -- yours may need to be bigger or could even be smaller, depending on what you need to include in your binder. Really, and 3-ring binder will do.

the tab dividers

My tab dividers are Avery Worksaver Big Tab Plastic Dividers with Slash Pocket, 8 Tab. I bought them at Staples, but currently Amazon has them on sale for $2.99 - I paid full price for mine unfortunately. Avery has free Microsoft Word templates that you can use to print on the tabs, which I did for mine. I chose to use the 8 tabs because I only needed 8 categories. If you need more than 8, there are also 5 tab dividers that you could double up on. I suggest getting plastic dividers rather than the paper ones because they're more durable.

The particular tab dividers that I bought have pockets on the front side of each divider. Of course you can get the dividers without the pocket if you don't want/need them.

the category cover pages

The categories I chose to include in my binder are: calendar, cleaning & organizing, finances, shopping, groceries & menu planning, health & fitness, home & family, and birthday, holidays & gifts. (More detail on each category each day this week.)

Being that I have an abundance of colored paper, I used a different color for each category to create a cover page. The font I used for both my category pages and tab titles is called smiley monster. You can download it for free from free scrapbook fonts. Amazon sells Wausau Astrobrights Writing Paper for $4.49. I got mine from Staples a while ago when it was free after rebate.

Obviously you don't have to buy or use colored paper for this, it's just something I chose to do. You can print on white paper or you don't have to even create a category cover page if you don't want to.

the document envelope

This is also very optional. I added a document envelope to the back of my binder to hold important papers that I don't want to lose. It snaps shut easily. It's from Office Max and is an [IN]PLACE SYSTEM Document Envelopes from the Peter Walsh line of products. Two years ago I won a $200 gift card to Office Max from BlogHer and purchased a bunch of Peter Walsh's products -- love them. The envelope does not come hole punched. I did that myself.

the pens & markers

This set of pens are Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens. I love them because they're fine tip and don't bleed through paper. I also use them in my planner. I am a bit bummed because there isn't a purple pen. I could do without the yellow and would so switch it for purple. The case can be made into a stand, which is super cool. And they are dry safe -- if they're left uncapped they won't dry out (within a few days according to the packaging).

And because I like a wide variety of color, I still do use my Paper Mate Flair Point-Guard Porous Point Pens. (They call them pens, but I think they're more like markers.) They write really nicely and don't bleed through most papers.

Again, both of these items are optional. You can use whatever you want in your binder. I just want to share what I use in case you're looking for something similar. Sharpie Pens are also great to use. They don't bleed through paper and write nicely.

the 3-hole punch

I absolutely love my 3-hole punch. I use it all of the time. I bought it 5 years ago when I started college because I organized all of my course materials in binders. It's still working like it's brand new. It's awesome. Mine is a Swingline Precision Pro Desktop Paper Punch and has a 10 sheet capacity. If I had to buy a new one today, I'd probably go with the Swingline LightTouch High Capacity Desktop Punch just because it has a 20-sheet capacity and it has the easy touch lever.

the label maker

They don't really make my label maker anymore, so I'll suggest another. If I were to buy a new label maker today, I'd purchase the Brother PT1290 Home and Office Labeler.It has good ratings on Amazon and looks like the same thing as mine, just updated. I didn't use my label maker to label anything in my binder that I've shown you yet, but you may choose to use a label maker to create your tabs for your dividers.

today's freebie: customizable home management binder cover page

Download a customizable home management binder cover page for free. You can input your family name in the PDF document once you save it to your PC.
home management binder cover #1

home management binder cover #2

Tomorrow I'll be posting about what I've included in my first two categories: calendar and cleaning & organizing. Come back and get a coupon code for my etsy store and possibly a freebie of a paid document.


  1. Replies
    1. What a great name! I love your product...
      Thank you for your post!

  2. I recently found your blog, and you might be my favorite person ever! I love colors, but have never cared for yellow, so I had to smile when you wanted to switch the yellow pen to purple. Also, I love all the fonts you use, especially smiley monster. Thanks for the great ideas for a home management binder. Yours looks great!

  3. I recently found your blog and I also love pens. Going to office depot makes me smile :)Love the binder.

  4. Love the Thirty-One bag!

    1. OMG!!!! I thought that was 31 bag. I recently became a consultant for 31 and get very excited when I their bag in public :)

  5. I just found your blog and I love this! I have been searching for a way to keep myself focused and my family more organized. I am in the process now of creating our very first Home Management Binder! I am super excited to see this porject in action! Thanks!

  6. I have those same pens, but I think I may have a purple? Not sure. :) Must love purple! So far loving your blog! Found the organizer on pinterest. There is another great binder idea for all important docs you would keep seperate. I have a feeling you would love it! http://www.yourownhomestore.com/survival-kit-series-week-23-important-documents/

  7. I love the organizing utility tote that you used to hold your pens!!! I love 31!!

  8. I am an organizing junkie and will be following this post. I have the Dave ramsey books too...I just need to sit down and follow your ieas...Thanks-jackie

  9. Love this!! I also love your 31 bag! LOL! Saw a snippet of it in one of your pics. :)


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