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The Family Organizer

By Rachel Paxton

I'm forever looking for ways to get better organized. It's even more of a challenge when you have a family to keep track of. The schedules, shopping lists, and tomorrow's to-do's are always being lost or shuffled from one place to another.

I've put together a family organizer that helps me keep track of my family's activities from week to week. This organizer makes it easy to keep track of almost anything.

One day I was looking at the ready-made templates that came with my word processing program, and I noticed there were many home-related templates already made up for me to use for my organizer. There was a monthly calendar and a weekly menu planner and grocery shopping list. I made a calendar for every month of the year to write important dates to remember, and printed out enough weekly menu planners to last a month or two.

The weekly meal planner has columns for every day of the week with "Breakfast," "Lunch," and "Dinner" listed for each day. Every weekend you write in your meals for the week, and then make up a shopping list to take to the grocery store. The menu planner has a place at the bottom to write in your shopping list, or you could make up a separate list. Download a free menu planner template from Just print, and photocopy as needed for your organizer.

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The best way to organize your calendars and menu planners is in a three-ring binder. You can buy dividers that already have the months of the year printed on them. Just file your monthly calendars in the binder with your weekly menu planners in between.

This is just the start. You can create sections in your binder for whatever you want. For instance, file your children's school or sports schedules in your organizer. Just punch holes in the pages and file them in the appropriate month. You could also include a list of phone numbers and addresses, or a list of family birthdays and anniversaries.

You can buy folders for your binder that have pockets in them. Make one for greeting cards and one for coupons. How about one for your monthly bills? The possibilities are endless.

One of the great things about the family organizer is that it keeps so many things handy and in a central location. Now if someone wants to know what's for dinner or has something to add to the grocery shopping list they can refer to the organizer themselves. We keep ours in the kitchen next to the microwave, where it's easily accessible. If you're afraid of pages getting messed up, sheet protectors work great. You can design a cover, too, and slip it into the front of the binder.

Family organizers are fun to make, relatively inexpensive, and limited only by your imagination. Start getting your family's schedules in order today!

Originally published at Suite 101.

© Rachel Paxton
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and Christian wife and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at


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