If you are looking for a simple planning method but binders and planners aren’t quite working for you, read on. This method is flexible, practical, and free.
Are homemaking binders still popular? I used to be obsessed with them, as a classic control freak. I tried many printables and even decorated my binder with a QUILT made out of scrapbook paper. (Very strange.) The binders never got used. There was too much excess information in them, I couldn’t take them anywhere because they were enormous, and curling up with one on the couch was awkward. Planners seem to be a bit more practical, but they are bizarrely expensive and I was always leaving them in my purse. Have you had similar planning system fails? Today I want to share a simple method that works.
Homemaking binders usually fail because they are too big and have too much stuff in them. If you want a cleaning checklist, you do not want to look through the office information for your child’s pediatrician. Taking the binder with you is weird, so you also have a planner. There are stickers. The planners with all their accessories are running into the triple digits. When you want to remember what you planned to make for dinner, you have to pull out this embarrassing giant. Stop the madness.
Planning your week, the simple way
Enter: the weekly planning sheet. It can live at home, it is not overwhelming, and it is free. (Or you can buy an upgraded version in my shop.)
There is something natural about planning life a week at a time. Seven digits in a phone number, seven days in a week. The human brain likes it. So a weekly planning sheet made sense to me vs a monthly calendar set up, which tends to be filled out on the first of the month and never looked at again. Anyone else? No?
This page is a hybrid planner/ to do list. Don’t you feel that planners with a full page for each day make you feel inadequate and encourage you to start writing down stupid things? Most days probably only need a few notes jotted down, and this keeps it simple. Just look at your phone for any appointments and put a little note on that day.
On the right are boxes for things to be tackled that week, or things to jot down as the week goes on that you would like to get to later. Easy! Low pressure. A few minutes on Sunday to get ready for the week.
Now it can go on the fridge or somewhere handy to keep reminding you. When the week is over, move things from the later box to next week’s NOW box. Or not. I have kept things in the later box for months and I am not ashamed.
Brand new to keeping house? Check out my Homemaking 101 guide to give you a firm foundation.
What about meal planning?
I plan my meals out on a separate page. But there is room for it all on one page if you prefer. This is the template I use:
At the top is just a friendly box to get you thinking, before it starts demanding things from you for each day of the week. Not too much space to make you feel like you need to plan snacks. That’s too crazy.
Now if you don’t like binders, this is plenty of planning. You’re done.
But if you do…
A practical homemaking binder
The key to a practical homemaking binder is to make it for reference only, and keep it SMALL. There should be no sitting with it and filling stuff out on a weekly basis. No printing out a daily page that makes you check off “sweep the floors” every morning from now until the end of time.
It is just there to give you ideas and help you remember long term goals and plans. So if you have a weekly schedule set up to help you get ahead of the housework, you might refer to the binder to give you ideas about what you can do.
Some practical things I have found helpful in my homemaking binder
- A page for each day of the week “laundry day”, etc., and what I would like to get accomplished on that day
- A page of deep cleaning tasks that I can refer to
- Gift ideas
- Projects I want to work on and where to find the instructions
- Books to read
- Gardening tasks and when to do them
- Goals for the year
So when you sit down to plan for the week, you have this whole binder of ideas. NOT a to-do list. Just ideas.
What you need to set up this system:
Paper and a pencil. That’s what is so nice about it, no weird stuff to buy.
But if you would like to use all the printables I showed (and many others), just sign up below for my email list. They are all free in the subscriber library, along with many other goodies!
Watch me plan my week using these pages:
Let me know if you are planner or binder person, or are ready for something simpler.
If you are interested in a separate set of tips and printable on meal planning, I have a post on that as well.
Hope this was helpful!
18 thoughts on “A Simple Homemaking Binder”
Finally, a system that makes sense and isn’t overwhelming or intimidating!
Every year I buy a new planner and start off well, but soon find I have mutinied and abandoned the “ship’s log” entirely! I love the IDEA and the look of a planner, but not so much the actual keeping of one! However, I DO need reminders! So, am really excited about implementing this system. Thank you for sharing!
hooray! I am exactly the same way with planners! they confuse me!
Technology is great, but I just need paper and pencil to remember better! This looks very classy too!
I really wonder if we are all like that or if the next generation will be 100% technology
Katie, what a great post! I too like to use a planner. But, then, things get placed on TOP of my planner. “Here, mom, please sign this” kind of papers. Every December I start searching for next year’s planner but by the middle of the year, I forget to use it! Are we all like that? What is wrong with me??
Haha yes I love looking at planners and even watching videos of other people using planners. But can I use one in any type of logical manner? No!
I am also a planner lover. I used to do the flylady binder system. I was quite young and thought all of my friends would love to have their own flylady binder, so I made them for my friends! What a dork I was, needless to say they were all less than enthused with my gifts. Binders with lists of rooms to clean and what days to clean them along with a schedule for running errands! Ha! Some friend I was!
I would have loved such a gift! But that is funny ????
This is a great idea. I’ve modified a planner to contain only those things that I really need to do and plan on doing. Keeping it simple makes life better!
great idea! I love planners as well!
I love my planners. I also don’t spend time decorating mine. I do keep three different ones. A family budgeting one, egg/chicken tracking and my daily which also serves as my wallet. I find the weekly works great for me as well. I LOVE the “is this working towards my goals or keeping me from my goals” point.
You guys are all planner lovers!
I am big fan of planners but my mom really needs something exactly like this! She gets overwhelmed with complicated planners so she used a dry erase board but things accidentally get erased and she’s let not knowing what she wrote down! Thanks so much for the great post!
Haha I am just like her! I used to to a chalkboard but I am left handed and would smudge everything and no one could read it ????.
I am a planner fanatic! One for meal planning, blogging and personal! Home binder is more for a vision board type set up with existing paint colors and ect…Love post like this with tons of ideas to simplify our lives! Great post:)
See I think that makes so much sense! Having one planner is too confusing and when you want something specific, you can’t find it! I bet yours are pretty and decorated! ????
I’ve had the Happy Planner and it does get kind of dawnting ( if I spelled that right) daily. weekly. monthly) and I was never to good at sticking with it so this seems much easier! great blog post!
Haha yes! I always feel dumb when I open a planner… like I should have more meetings or something ????. And thank you!