Reference notebook binders

kentucky7May 10, 2008

I've been reading the posts about referencing your daily schedules and to-do lists, but I'm wondering if anyone here keeps a notebook(s) for other areas of your life.

I'm up to 3 notebooks now for different things of my life. It started years ago with a simple 3 ring binder I called my "Red Reference" notebook. (Just simply cos it was a red notebook :-) That was way back when I actually typed them on a typewriter - yes, I'm verrrry old! :-p I kept up with subjects like MEDICAL (dr. and dentist visits and any prescriptions for the visit) CAR (service and repairs) STOCKS/BONDS, TAXES, and even a section titled MOM INFO where I kept the information my mother had given me on her financial info that I should know in the event of her death, such as her life insurance policies, bond numbers, stocks, etc. As my family grew, I used the same color in any section for each family member (DH and children) I even kept copies of all my old resumes. I copied all my credit cards (front and back) drivers license (front and back) social security cards, birth certificates, etc. It put so much information right at my fingertips!!

Eventually that grew to another notebook that resulted from building a house and all the things I needed to keep up with. Like how much paint did I buy to paint the dining room? I searched the internet for ideas and didn't really find anything that would help... till I stumbled across a book in a catalog called the "Homeowners Diary". I used that as a reference to make my 3 ring binder. I just call it "Home Decorating" notebook. I record details of each room, starting with a copy of the room from our house plans, showing the dimensions, window sizes, and even where the electrical outlets are located. (ya know those get blocked by furniture and we forget they are there!) Then I record info for each room like when it was painted (with a paint chip sample - or wallpaper) along with how much paint used. When we first moved in (when everything was nice and fresh, and uncluttered) I had taken pictures of each room. So I also included those pics for each room. When a room was repainted, I just made a new sheet with the same info, updated. I used dividers with pockets to stash ideas I collect for each room. I even have a section for the front and back yard and record new trees or plants/flowers. I did this a few years ago and it helps to know sometimes what I have planted. I took digital pics, printed them for the notebook and just hand wrote the names of plants on the pic. I can look and see when we last sealed the driveway, replaced the water heater, HVAC repaired, etc. etc. etc. Yeah, I know the household repairs don't really fit into the "decorating" category, but it helps to keep it all together. It has been a WEALTH OF INFO I would have had to spend time digging thru old files to locate. I get side-tracked and don't always keep it completely up to date, but I keep the receipts, etc. in a box next to the notebooks to be recorded before they are filed away.

My third notebook has not taken completely off yet. It is "Home inventory"...with pictures. I went to an informal organizing workshop where they handed out a pamphlet from an insurance company meant to record all your worldly possessions in case of a fire, flood, or other catastrophe. I brought that little book home thinking..."oh boy, another notebook!" #*@##%!! LOL.

But alas, a small catastrophe DID strike and now I am doing a major overhaul on my downstairs floor. So now I have yet ANOTHER notebook! It is just meant for the project at hand tho, to keep things organized for me during this process. Paint chips, new ideas, estimates, business cards, receipts, etc. Whatever ideas I find on the internet, or magazines go in there to help me *visualize*. I had to find a decorator to help me pull all these rooms back together after going with completely different colors, and I pulled out my Home Decorating notebook to look something up for room measurements, and she liked it. She thought it was a good idea that I included an actual picture of the room along with the paint/wallpaper samples.

So does anyone else out there do this type of organizing? I think sometimes I am a little obsessed with details, but these notebooks have been so valuable and time-saving for me in the long run. I ran across a site at the time I was researching, that offered alot of free forms, some designed for Christmas season... so you guessed it!!! I also have 3 binders just for Christmas! But that's a whole other post. But I thought if anyone out there could understand this notebook thing, it would be you ladies here... cos sometimes I think I'm obsessed!

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Oh Yes. When I started remodeling the bathroom, I immediately started putting paperwork into a binder. I found those ''stick-on'' index tabs, and was shortly able to organize everything in the folder and know where to find it. It was extremely helpful in talking with the contractors, and I could put my hands on anything I needed in an instant. When it was all over, I stored it in the closet knowing the information is there if I ever need it.

I have them for recipes, remodeling, and am discovering (since we upgraded our computer recently) that I actually need hard copies for some things so I can put my hands on them (like addresses and phone numbers)!

Yes, I get the binder thing completely. I don't think you're obsessed, just organized!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 3:00PM
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When we began an extensive remodel, including outside painting, roofing and inside kitchen-dining gut, I started a remodeling notebook with pockets for each business and contractor. There are invoices, warranty records, dates of installation, etc.

I don't think it's much different from what you've already mentioned, but at the front I placed some of the plastic sheets baseball card collectors use and put business cards for all the businesses. That's been incredibly helpful. I've now extended that idea to business cards for doctors, dentists, hairdresser, extermination service, all the people we routinely do business with, and put that at the front of a household notebook.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 1:20AM
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I also keep binders for projects. Most recently and because of a suggestion made on this forum, I started a "paper clutter" binder for things that come in the mail and clippings from the newspaper (like recipes and things/places to explore).

I have always made bound "project" books. This was a habit I have had for many years because at work I had a binder machine that was used for work related projects and workshop material for employees. When I left the job, I was lost without the binder machine. So, I bought a binder machine on eBay. For example: My daughter's wedding; vacations; tournaments. We travel to Europe every other year, I have a bound book for each trip.

Here is a link that might be useful: Binder Machine

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 7:46PM
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