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House Binder

I am in disbelief that we closed on our house four weeks ago (tomorrow). For as much work and emotional build-up that went into buying the house, it feels like we’ve been here forever. Even though we have plenty to do decorating wise, it already very much feels like home and even more so with every passing day.

One thing that has been saving the day is a house binder. I put a little bit about this on my Instagram Story and my DMs blew up with responses. I’d say half the people wanted more information about how to set one up and the other half gave me so many great ideas for what they do in their own system.

House Binder

The inspiration for me was that a few of the Airbnbs that I’ve stayed in lately have had incredible binders filled with every possible bit of information. All organized neatly. I knew I’d want something similar both for Mike and me as we upkeep the house over the years.

I have a filing cabinet where I store more sensitive information (mortgages, insurance details, etc.) so the binder is more for things around the house filled with information that is okay to be, say, left on a counter for anyone who walks in to see. (It’s actually stored in a drawer, but you know what I mean!)

Obviously, this can be completely customized for all kinds of information so if you do want to store your homeowner’s insurance, mortgage, deeds, whatever, in something like this, go for it! Just know that for us, it made more sense to have that safely filed away under lock and key.

Organizing House Items

The system couldn’t be simpler. It’s a two-inch three-ring binder, colored dividers with pockets, and page protectors. Keeping it simple is the best way to ensure that you stick with the system!!!

Here are the various tabs I personally have:

– Wifi & Cable: Currently this is empty because I haven’t printed the information we need just yet. But will be fairly simple… once I get around to it. Ha!

– Electrical: The previous owner had detailed notes about the electrical set up and I am grateful. I immediately slipped that piece of paper they had into a divider and popped it into the binder. I also have some other notes about some recent work done.

– Design: After posting this on my story, a bunch of people suggested I keep a section with design choices. From paint colors to furniture details (warranties, instructions, etc.).

– Kitchen Appliances: We had a DRAWER filled with manuals for the kitchen appliances. Instead of keeping them scrunched in the back of a drawer where they’d be hard to locate and keep dry/clean, I popped them in the binder. I used page protectors to slip each manual into and then labeled the top of the page protector so I could easily figure out which was which. See below to see an example!

– A/C: Just like the kitchen appliances section… but everything we need related to the air conditioning unit.

– Products: I had so many random manuals for various household products, that weren’t considered kitchen appliances. In our old apartment, we had a little shelf in the pantry where we stored them and it was a hot mess express. Examples of what I have in there now: the washer & dryer manuals, vacuum manuals, our security camera manuals, etc.

– Yard: Oh, the yard. Ours needs a lot of work so this is more future-facing for the moment. We’re in the process of working through the design, getting fencing for the dogs, and setting up a contract with a landscaper for weekly service. I can already sense this section is going to be full soon 😂

– Service Log: So I’d say the one thing I’m looking forward to the least is actually having to, you know, do upkeep on the house. We’ve (surprisingly?) only had to have the handyman come over once and we knew something had to be fixed before we moved in. But I know it’s going to be a revolving door of upkeep on the appliances, heat/air, etc. I have a sheet of paper in this section where keeping track of who came over to fix what and when! I know I’ll be thankful for that log down the line!

House Binder Dividers

Would love to know if you’ve done something similar and/or if I forgot to add something important or useful!

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35 Comments

Ashley B

Such a great idea! My appliance manuals are all in a junk drawer in the kitchen. I’m going to implement your binder idea.

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Jennifer Record

I’m impressed it all fits in one binder! We just did a huge kitchen remodel and we have an accordian file folder JUST for the kitchen stuff!

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carly

So we didn’t do the remodel, so I’m guessing that there was a lot of stuff that wasn’t left behind 🤷🏻‍♀️ We just had a random drawer filled with random stuff!

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Danielle V

My husband and I just bought a house and the first thing I did was go out and buy a large binder precisely because of your Instagram Story! Thank you for the helpful advice 🙂

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Libby

My parents just moved into a new house, and after I say your binder, and got on Amazon, and sent them their house warming gift: a big binder, page dividers, page protectors, labs, and pens!! When my mom opened the box, she called me, and asked what she was supposed to do with this, and I explained. She is in love, and gets excited when she finds things to put in the binder, ahah!
xx Libby

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Molly

One of the best decisions my husband and I have made as homeowners was to invest in a fire proof safe. We use it to store sensitive documents, but also put high value items in there while we travel. We also have an external hard drive in there that has scans of important documents that we can’t keep in the safe like our insurance cards, vehicle registration, etc. and documents that we don’t necessarily need a hard copy for like repair bills and other receipts.

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Ashley

Fireproof safes don’t work. My house burned down in California – I’ve spoke to all of people who said all their stuff in fireproof safes also burn.

They really only protect from very small fires. If your house is has a big fire, it becomes very hot and nothing survives. The safe will be intact but everything in side will burn.

A better bet is to use a safe deposit box at a bank.

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Shannon Mahaney

I love this idea! Currently I have everything stashed in a drawer in the office but I’d love to get a binder to keep everything organized.

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Sue

I’ve done this and found it very helpful. I also keep a binder for our cars. Especially if you’re still under warranty, keeping oil change and tire rotation receipts is helpful. I just stick them all in page protecters with the latest on top. The car binders are also helpful as you go to trade in or sell a car, as it shows good maintenance and can help get a high price.

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Brynna

Such a great idea! Mentally filing this away for when we buy! Thanks, Carly!

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Jane Evans

Perhaps it’s under Products but…paint colors and sheen! Inside. Outside. Anything. You think you will remember or perhaps have a canto dog out, but you will forget and it will change. Or if a friend or neighbor asks, it’s just handy.

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Lauren

I would take this one step further and put actual paint swatches in. When I moved in to my now-husbands condo, being able to take the paint swatches he had kept out with us when looking for rugs, upholstered furniture, throws, etc. was SO helpful to make sure everything worked well together. It was also nice years later when we wanted to make sure one of the nursery paint colors worked with other walls in the house since I want to use it in hallways eventually too.

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Maria

Definitely going to do this to organize everything – I’ve been Kon-Mari’ing my house and the junk drawer is next! Would you mind sharing the fonts on the front of the binder?

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Elizabeth

Aaaaaaand I have spent the last hour printing a house maintenance log and scheduling overdue inspections. Thanks for the reminder!

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barbara

I’m obsessed with your house binder!! Funny enough, I have one for my office called “how things work around here” but not one for my home. D’OH!

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Stephanie

I bought a house one week later than you did and when I saw your house binder it inspired me to do as much ! I really love it ! Thank you 😊

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Connie

I did this when we moved into our current home 15 years ago, but got busy and let it slide. It was so helpful back then. I had a section for childcare, as well. That was a lifesaver every school year and when my parents stayed with our daughter.

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Lauren

I’d either add a tab for major receipts, or keep them in each relevant section of the binder. When/if you sell this house, having receipts to show upgrades that will transfer with the house (new floors, applicances, heating/electric upgrades, siding, a roof) will be helpful in proving the increase in value to your house and lessen your capital gains taxes. I’m a tax attorney and worked with someone who got audited – luckily she kept the receipts so we were able to save her tons!

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Elizabeth

This is too perfect of timing! We are remodeling and will be getting all new “house stuff.” and would love to NOT have a drawer full of random papers. Perfect, as always!

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Cara

I have one of these!! When I moved into my now-fiancé’s house, he had drawers of manuals and whatnot and was in desperate need of the organization! It has saved us many times, especially when a contractor asks the last time service was done or what kind of materials were used previously. Everyone needs this!

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Katie

Never in my life have I ever thought to make something like this…clearly not a homeowner ha but its a GREAT idea! I am going to share this with all my friends who own houses. Heck, I don’t even think my parents have ever had anything like this ha! Love the simple organization!!!

Katie | http://www.sunshinestyleblog.com

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Aleda

It’s never too late for me i hope! All of my documents are in a vineyard vines box in the basement. Which is a chore to get when i needed something. Also great idea to log who came in for what!

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Julie

I just graduated college and am moving into my first apartment as a “grown up” and making my own home binder has significantlyyyyyy eased my anxiety about keeping track of everything. Thank you thank you thank you!!

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Karen

I had to let you know that I’ve been coming back to this post and using this idea to organize myself and my new home. Let me just say, it has been amazing! I’ve adjusted it to my needs, and your post was a great starting point, so thank you for the idea!

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