three ring binder
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Families come in all shapes and sizes. Some families are busy and some are homebodies. If there’s more than one person in the family, knowing how to create your own household planner can help keep everyone in the family more organized.

Household planners can be made from nearly anything, but three-ring binders seem to work best for many families. Purchasing a binder with a clear pocket on the front and back will allow you or your children to create a colorful or pretty cover for it. Choose a 1-inch, 2-inch, or 3-inch binder to meet your family’s needs.

After creating the binder itself, you’ll want to have the following items on hand to fill the household planner:

* 8 1/2” x 11” calendar (purchased or one you print for yourself)
* 3-hole punched dividers with pockets
* 3-hole punched dividers with tabs
* 3-hole punch

Decide which categories you’ll need in your household planner. Common categories include calendar, finance, contacts, school, medical, manuals, planning, insurance, automobile, warranties, favorite recipes, and take out menus, among others. Use the categories that will work best for your family and make a tabbed divider for each category.

Print off blank contact pages which include name, address, telephone, and cell phone numbers. There are many sources online which offer this type of file to print out for free. You can also find blank calendars to print off to include in your home planner.

Find papers that have accumulated in your family – notes from school, old calendars, take-out menus, etc. – and determine which category they’ll fit into. Three-hole punch them and place them behind the tab they belong to. Smaller items that can’t be punched can be placed in the dividers with pockets to keep them from being lost.

After you’ve found papers with important dates on them, transfer those dates to the calendar you have or have printed out. You may want to color code your family so you can see at a glance which person in the family has activities on a particular date. Don’t forget to write down standing dates such as birthdays and anniversaries so you can plan for them.

Not sure if you’ve paid a bill for the month? Having a schedule of all bills owed, when they’re due, and when they’re paid behind the finance tab can make that problem a thing of the past. The household planner is also a good place to put all bills as they come in so they’ll be available when it comes time to pay them.

Meal planning is another task that can be made easier by having the household planner. You can create monthly meal plans and store them in the planner. Don’t forget to include a blank shopping list in a sheet protector which can be written on with a marker or India crayon and reused each shopping trip.

When you figure out how to create your own household planner, you may find actually putting it together can be fun. Be creative and make your planner something you and your whole family can use. Of course, after your planner is made and you’ve used it for a while, you may wonder why you didn’t put one together sooner.

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