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DIY Projects

Organize Your Life with Mini Binders {on the cheap!} +Printable

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 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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

Download (%A5-Planner-Pages-Weekly.pdf)

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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.

Download (%DinnerPlanner.pdf)

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?).

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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!

What’s your favourite way to organize your life?

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!

19 Comments

  1. travel blogger

    Love this idea! I am also more productive when I am organized, and this would totally help me stay focused and on track.

  2. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    Thanks for sharing this printable. I rely on my calendar and schedule on a daily basis. It keeps me sane! Thanks for sharing these organizing ideas.

  3. William Sweeney

    What a great printable! My wife is in love with planners and making sure things are written down, love the mini binder idea.
    Go check out William Sweeney’s latest post! Ro•sham•bo Baby Sunglasses Are Doing Their Part To Fight Autism With Surfer’s Healing #OnePerfectDay #DoGoodMy Profile

  4. Heather S-G

    I absolutely love this! I’m such an organization freak – I have notebooks, sticky pads, calendar…you name it. I love the mini size of these and can see myself using them for so many things (plus, LOVE Dollar Tree). The printables are great, too.
    Go check out Heather S-G’s latest post! Food & Drink Quiz Friday #6My Profile

  5. Nancy @ whispered inspirations

    Lovely idea! I love diy stuff especially when it comes to organization!

  6. Rebecca B.

    I’m a big organizer too! Everyone makes fun of all my binders, but I love your cute mini binders!!
    Go check out Rebecca B.’s latest post! Creamy Cilantro Quinoa SaladMy Profile

  7. Miles L.

    I couldn’t agree more! I would be more organized with binders like these. I’d love to stay organized with binders.
    Go check out Miles L.’s latest post! Get insured with Agria at CruftsMy Profile

  8. Jeanine

    Oh I love this idea. I have a planner that I just can’t seem to like using anymore. I wonder if this would be a better option for me. I like it a lot!

  9. Anosa

    How very creative of you, I do love planners and binders by like you said some can be quite expensive. I need to get more organised
    Go check out Anosa’s latest post! {Travel} Weekend Getaway to Amsterdam #2016My Profile

  10. Jessica Harlow

    I tend to like to be really organized and am a big list maker. I love the idea of a mini-binder. It would be so much easier than carting around a bulky normal sized binder.

  11. Esther | The Cuteness

    Wow, so crafty and creative! I barely have time to take a shower right now with a newborn at home, but I love this idea and will consider for down the line when I have a little more time!
    Go check out Esther | The Cuteness’s latest post! How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep Better at Night with HALO™ Bassinest™ LUXE and SwaddleSure®My Profile

  12. ricci

    I love these organization tips!! I will definitely be making some binders soon!!
    Go check out ricci’s latest post! Friday FiveMy Profile

  13. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green

    Great tips, I love to DIY my own planners. They are much cheaper and I can give them my very personal touch.

    I’ve fallen off my organization game as well. I need to do better.

  14. Beth@FrugalFroggie

    I love being organized. I have a small little pad that I use to keep up on my to do list.

  15. Kiwi

    I was just saying how I wanna be about that planner life. I think its so cute and the trend is growing I want to get more into it, I need to be more organized for sure.

  16. Ryan Escat

    You’re so creative! I’m sure my wife would love this.

  17. dawn

    this post is wonderful. literally. i just got an organizer and been kinda looking at it like ok what to do next. lol. thank you for sharing this you helped me out a lot with your tips. etc.

  18. Lisa Rios

    Such a great printable that I would love to grab few of them. I always love to have a better planner to organize my works & schedules & one such cute binder with those printables will be so handy.

  19. tyra

    I love planners and these binders sound fantastic. So colorful as well.

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