I’ve always found that I’m much more productive when I’m organized. I’m able to get my ideas and plans down on paper before I forget, and I can actually follow through with them!
I’ve lapsed a little lately in my organization, but digging through a cupboard the other day uncovered that pretty green 3 ring mini binder up there, and I was inspired! I love the idea of Filofaxing and pretty planners and all of the fun stuff that go with that, but I’ve never loved them enough to throw money at that kind of hobby. And hey, those expensive planners always require special paper and hole punches anyway.
So instead, I headed to Staples and Dollar Tree for super-affordable substitutes that scratch my organizational itch, without breaking the bank!
I bought these mini binders at Staples, and while they do sell mini dividers and other accessories there, they’re not nearly as pretty (and as budget-friendly!) as the ones at Dollar Tree. The thing with Dollar Tree though, is that their accessories are designed for full size 3 ring binders, not the half-size mini binders.
Never fear though, that’s where a little bit of hacking will pay off!
All you need to do is buy the prettiest, most colourful regular-size dividers at Dollar Tree that you can find. Using a folded sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper as a template, draw a cutting line on the back of the divider, keeping in mind where you’d like the tab to be. Cut it out.
Then, pull out your trusty adjustable 3 hole punch. Didn’t realize it was adjustable? Take a close look — chances are your hold punch is designed to punch half-size pieces of paper. If not, you can always use a single hole punch.
Now, likely you’ll have one too many dividers to fit in your binder. You can use that extra one as a day marker. Just cut it to size with the tab on the top, and keep it in the binder on the current day. You’ll never have to rifle through looking for the right day again!
And, if your dividers are from Dollar Tree, I’m willing to bet that there’s a pocket on the last divider. Cut it out the same as the others, and use it to store receipts, schedules and notes!
Now you’ve got a cute mini binder, with dividers, a day marker and a pocket to store all of your planner pages and notes. But wait a second – don’t go out and buy planner pages. Use these ones below – just print them back to back, and you’ll have the perfect size pages for your mini binder, without spending a cent!
And here’s my dinner planner too, for good measure. It’s designed to be printed off single-sided, cut in half, then folded in half and moved from week to week.
If you’re like me, you’ll want some page protectors for your binder. While you could hack full size ones, Staples does carry the mini size ones, and they aren’t too pricey.
You can also pick up some mini legal pads at Dollar Tree that are the perfect size for your mini binder! You can either tuck them in the pocket of your mini binder and use as-is, or you can tear off individual sheets and hole punch them to pop into your binder’s rings.
I’ve got one binder designated for Blog & Personal Productivity, and one just for my day job (okay, it’s overflowed into two separate binders, but who’s counting anyway?).
Sure, I still depend on Google Calendar for my schedule and my family’s activities, but when it comes to keeping track of individual tasks and notes, I’m hooked on this mini binder system!