simple life principle #1: find an exact (household keeping) system that works for your life.
i have the coolest household binder ever. it’s organized by month. it is a receipt book and calendar/reminder book all in one.
for years and years, i experimented with expandable files with 12 compartments or plain envelopes. i’ve seen household binders for sale (like Target has Real Simple) but they are far too flimsy and weak to use. i also discovered i was forgetting things like, when your favorite restaurant has a frequent diner card but you moved out of state, but plan to go dine there every christmas when you visit family. you want to make sure the card comes with you on your annual trip. what’s a girl to do?
this system works for me.
it uses 1 Mead® Five Star TruLock™ 1″ Binder and 12 Five Star® Flex NotePockets and 12 sheet protectors. (side note: if i had kids who climbed into my personal stuff, i might make the binder into a zipper binder to keep everything together.) i like these products because they are plastic, not paper/cardstock so there’s no ripping or bending! they have lasted for two years and are still going strong.
the binder needs to be super durable and expand to four or five inches, plus take the weight of your plastic inserts. so choose carefully.
each month has a flex notepocket. even though there are other types of plastic folders out there, i like these for their compartments. i keep an index card in the clear plastic pocket which has family members’ birthdays for that month. this is also the place for those frequent diner cards and gift cards you want to gift to people for their birthdays. before i make my trip, i take all needed cards with me.
the folder is good for full-page receipts, like when you get your car fixed or buy something online.
each month has a corresponding sheet protector which holds a monthly calendar page. i cut up a free calendar I was sent after an online purchase from orientaltrading.com. you could also print yours from microsoft publisher. keep it simple. at the end of the year, transfer important dates to the next years’ monthly calendar. slide them in and you’re set for the year.
the sheet protector also holds all receipts for purchases made that month and paystubs or whatever needs safekeeping. you could clip them together but i’m not that picky. every three months or so, i go back to old receipts keeping only the receipts where i might need to make a return or keep for warranty. at the end of the year, i clean out all important documents and file them away for the year and they are already sorted by month. awesome.