Organizing Tip: Create a Reference Binder

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How to Create a Reference Binder Do you constantly refer to a common set of documents or papers at home or work?

Wish there were a way to keep everything organized?

In this post I’ll show you how to easily create a reference binder for various documents, files and materials.

While technology makes it easy to store information, sometimes it’s just easier to refer to a hardcopy document, or you might just prefer having a hardcopy reference on hand.

Choose a reference headache.

By headache, I mean some information you refer to or need on a regular basis but can never seem to get a grip on.

Are you always looking for specific client codes at work, still referring to the instruction manuals for your new kitchen appliances, or constantly reaching for some project flow charts and timeline?

Take a look at items on desks, counters, bulletin boards and the like for inspiration.

Stumped as to what type of reference binder you could create?

You could create a reference binder of:

  • Takeout menus
  • Contracts
  • Proposals
  • Timelines
  • Instruction manuals for appliances
  • Recipes
  • Important personal documents
  • Anything you regularly refer to on a constant basis
  • …and so on and so forth

Round up binder materials.

You might already have many of these materials on hand at home. If not, a quick trip to the office supply store or online order can quickly take of your needs.

At the very least you’ll need: a large three-ring binder (choose whatever size you need), and plastic binder sleeves (the ones where you can drop in papers); binder index tabs and dividers if you so desire.

Don’t forget to gather up all the various papers, documents, manuals you’re interested in storing in the binder.

Make an organization plan.

There’s no wrong way to organize a reference binder, but it does help to sketch out how you’ll store items.

You may choose to alphabetize items, store items by category, or group items by usage, placing the most important documents up front and center, with the least referred to documents in the back.

When it comes to storing your binder, make sure to create a special home for it where you’ll always know where to find it.

If you’re going to share the binder with other people, let them know where it can be found and remind them to please return it back to it’s proper storage place when they are finished using it.

How about you? What items would you finally like to round-up and have conveniently corralled for reference? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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4 Responses

  1. richelle scheepers

    Thanks for these really concrete and informative posts. Love when it is simple yet so practical.

    • Rashelle

      You’re quite welcome Richelle. There’s just something wonderful about simplicity… Thanks for stopping by the blog and for your comment!

  2. Rosemary

    This is a great idea for closet storage as well as
    attic, basement, and garage!

    • Rashelle

      Yes, that is so true. How convenient it would be to have a master instruction manual for tools/equipment in the basement or garage!