A Way Through the Wilderness: Your Home Management Binder

Written by contributing writer, Trina Holden at All That Is Good.

Are you overwhelmed? Are you constantly making lists but never getting closer to your goals? Are you drained by the constant need to prioritize your time, yet fearful that if you let your mind rest, something will leak out?

I’m with you, girlfriend.

By the time I had my third child, I began to fantasize almost daily about hiring outside help. Unfinished projects, unfolded laundry, and dirty dishes filled my time and had me constantly struggling to stay on top of things. I thought, “If I just had help, then I could do it all!” And doing it all was what my prideful heart wanted most.

One day the Lord opened my eyes to how pride was at the foundation of many of the goals that were overwhelming me. In His graciousness, He not only showed me what I needed to let go of, but also led me to some habits and strategies that brought more peace and productivity to each day. One of those strategies was to create a home management binder.

Since I have built my Home Management Binder and been using it daily, I feel like I have space to breathe even in these demanding years of little ones, sleepless nights and tight budgets. Menu planning is simpler when a template waits next to a list of our favorite meals. Big goals are getting chipped away at with small, daily progress. And I’m relishing the satisfaction I have when I live with my priorities in clearly before me.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

If time feels like your enemy or you feel like you are not making progress toward your true goals, I’d encourage you to take your days before the Lord and ask Him to show you what is most important. Then perhaps you’d like to create a Home Management Binder as a place to record what He speaks to you.

Creating Your Home Management Binder

What you need…

  • The Binder – you probably already have one lying around you could re-purpose. Two inches is a nice thickness to start with.
  • Dividers – can be as simple as an old file folder, cut down the spine and hole punched, or you can get fancy with Avery Plastic Dividers with Pockets.
  • Pages – a combination of lined paper in each section, awaiting your notes, as well as plastic page protectors to hold printables.
  • Pens – I use wet erase pens to write on the page protectors.

Time to Build. A binder that actually works for you needs to be custom made to your family’s needs, goals, and schedule It’s best to look around a bit to get an idea of how you want to organize yours. Check out these gal’s binders or my pin-board for inspiration…

I order my binder by my roles (wife, mother, homemaker, writer, etc.) and put them in order of their priority in my day, thus my binder acts as a constant reminder of what I really want to focus on. Within each section, you may jot down goals, books to read, ways to grow in that area, and printables you find to help you schedule and plan.

Printables…a gal’s best friend. I love printables! They take half the brain work out of planning and scheduling, allowing you to simply fill in the blanks.

Daily To-Do List. Finally, you should be sure to include a daily to-do list. I drafted my own with space to jot down food prep, phone calls, emails, errands, and household chores for that day. I have two weeks’ worth of daily lists printed and slipped into plastic sleeve holders. This way I can jot down something I need to remember to do next Tuesday on that page, and remind myself to take the meat out of the freezer for tomorrow night’s dinner on today’s page. Twice a month I sit down with a wash cloth and wipe down the previous weeks’ activities to prepare for the weeks ahead. Here are some great daily to-do printables…

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Prov. 16:3

Once you’ve created your binder, keep it out where you can see it and use it! After a few weeks, if you aren’t using a printable, ditch it. If the rhythm of your family changes, be sure to update your binder so it continues to be a relevant tool for organization and bringing focus to your days. And regularly take your binder before the Lord and ask Him to help you prioritize. Be encouraged that our God is one who makes a way through the wilderness – He can guide you through your busy day as well!

About Trina Holden

Trina enjoys offering hospitality from their 1800’s farm house in Upstate New York. She loves to encourage women to nourish their families, celebrate the journey, and choose to thrive at TrinaHolden.com.

21 Responses to A Way Through the Wilderness: Your Home Management Binder

  1. jennie August 8, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Wow!! Thank you for all this great info! I started working on my binder yesterday:) The only question I have is about the dry erase markers..I am getting so frustrated because everything I write gets smudged right away! Do you have a brand/size of marker that you use? I bought the finest tip I could find but when I write it still takes uo so much space and there isn’t that much room to write in the spaces provided…any advice?

    • Chan February 27, 2013 at 7:14 am #

      Try using a marker for overhead projectors. It usually won’t come off until you wipe it with a damp cloth. I tried to wipe it off with my finger and it was much work to do so. You can get them in fine tip so it would be easy to write in small spaces. Hope this helps.

  2. Tiffany April 6, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Thank you for this post! I had heard about using a homemaking binder but was really having a hard time putting my own together (probably because I wasn’t making it enough of a priority). These are great resources!

  3. Alison February 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Here is another example and some ideas for assembling a home management binder:

    Have a great day!


  4. dana February 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Love your blog!! You are such a real inspiration!

    I have an app on my phone called Cozi. It is free. It also coincides with Flylady.net if you’re familiar with her (and her help in home-organization). Cozi is nice as it emails reminders so you don’t forget. But you have to remember to put the appointment in there!! Too bad it can’t set itself! Haha

    • Chan February 27, 2013 at 7:13 am #

      Try using a marker for overhead projectors. It usually won’t come off until you wipe it with a damp cloth. I tried to wipe it off with my finger and it was much work to do so. You can get them in fine tip so it would be easy to write in small spaces. Hope this helps. :)

  5. Audra February 7, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Ok – so, I didn’t see my pride in this area until. Now. I thank you for this post. I’m adding a home binder to my insane list of goals for this year.

  6. Jennifer February 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Wow! Thanks for this wonderful post; so much great advice. I didn’t know that there are so many useful free printables out there. I will be customizing my own book this year, not buying a pre-made book that doesn’t work for me! Thanks again!

  7. Shayla February 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Wow, what a wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing the free printable planners on my blog. I look forward to exploring some of the others that you recommended as well! Happy planning!

  8. Alli Corbitt February 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    I love my homemaking binder! Thank you for your links for free printables, they are surprisingly hard to find in my experience. :) For calenders I LOVE anythingbutperfect.com. Her printables are so adorable, and add a personal, fun touch to my binder!

  9. Ashley Brendle February 2, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Thank you for this post! The printables for organizing my blog writing came in the nick of time! I was needing something like this!

  10. Rita @ Healthy Mom, Sexy Wife February 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    A binder is a good idea. I do pretty good with my white boards combined with my smart phone. I’m going to check out the printables though!! Thank you.

  11. Amy February 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I love my binder, but am switching some of my organizational methods to my smartphone- does anyone have any ideas for using my phone to organize my life? Such as good apps?

    • TrinaHolden February 2, 2012 at 4:52 am #

      This is a great question, Amy – I’m smart-phone-less so I hope someone else can jump in with some suggestions for you!

  12. Raine February 1, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    I love the idea of organizing it by “roles”. I never though to do that, but I think it would help me keep my priorities straight as I go through the day.

  13. Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living.com February 1, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    I love how you said pride was at the bottom of the overwhelming goals. That is something I have been learning too. There is so much that we try and do/hold up so that we look good. There just isn’t time and energy for it all. I have been cutting back to what I really value and it has made a big difference. Thanks for the advice and reminders!

  14. Daniella February 1, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    EXCELLENT post! My binder has been evolving for a few months now, so I’m still always looking for new ideas that may fit my personal binder better. I LOVE your idea to set-up your binder by priority, from front to back, giving a flow to it and a visual reminder of how God wants us to prioritize our time- I’d not heard that idea before!! And I just began using sheet protectors and wet erase markers, it’s saving me a lot of paper! (they also have the self-laminating kits that don’t require a machine, can find at Walmart or any office supply store).
    Thanks Trina!

    • TrinaHolden February 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      thanks for the self-laminating tip – I’m sure my pages that get a lot of use and re-use (like my daily docket) could really use this!

  15. Adica February 1, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I love your idea of ordering your binder by your roles! I never thought of doing that, but it makes so much sense! I’ll definitely have to remember that.


  16. Jessalyn @DesiringVirtue.com February 1, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Great advice and I love the resources you shared! At my site DesiringVirtue.com I have also made some free home management printables available. Here is a link to the most popular one the Daily Plan of Attack: http://desiringvirtue.com/2011/03/my-first-home-management-printables-daily-plan-of-attack/

    • TrinaHolden February 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      thanks for sharing your printables, Jessalyn! They beautiful! (Pretty+Free Printables= it doesn’t get any better!)