family organization

When Mr. Lively and I got married the number of important documents that I needed to keep track of tripled. Not only did I then have Mr. Lively’s birth certificate, social security card, etc. but we also had car documents and ring appraisals to store.

Rather than scour the apartment every few months to find that one little piece of paper that we need in the future, I decided to corral all the papers in one central location. This makes locating and storing life documents super simple. Plus, it also lets Mr. Lively know where to look if he ever needs to track something down and I’m not around.

While in college I received this Life.Doc binder which was created with this purpose in mind.

Inside there are tabs for many important categories.

On the back of each tab there are pockets for tucking papers.

I used the family one to house our birth certificates, passports, social security cards, and other “life” documents.

But other document categories warranted their own sections which were not included in the kit. So I simply made my own sections with sticky tabs and plastic sheets.

Which really goes to show you don’t need any fancy kit to make one of these binders. Just some plastic sheets and a sticky tabs does the job.

When our little puppy comes home or when kids enter the picture, this binder will house even more information as needed.

Currently we are storing this binder in a hidden part of our apartment. And if we ever get a safe, it will be stowed there. Our financial information is also not stored in this binder for additional precaution.

During my name change process I needed to grab many of these documents for different purposes at different points in time. It was handy to always know where to look for the exact papers I needed. And if we ever have a fire or need to leave the apartment quickly, we can grab our information easily on the way out the door.

Though the apartment still has varying levels of progress (read: chaos) in each room, it feels nice to know this essential aspect of our lives is organized and tucked away.


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  1. Great idea! We currently store ours in our safes. Although a binder will make it much more easier. I’ll have to create one of my own sometime. ūüôā

  2. These posts on document management are sooo helpful and remind me how important it is to get my life organized in one spot. It would definitely help save many a headache down the line. This is now my Tuesday-night-to-do! Thanks Jess!!

  3. AdeOla

    Good idea, but do you have a back up just incase something happens to the binder? My first thought was it would suck to lose the binder with all the important documents of my life.

  4. Rach

    Such a great filing idea. I scan my passport, birth certificate etc. in to my computer and have that as a back up. I also leave a copy on a pen drive with my Dad, which came in handy when my purse was stolen overseas!

  5. Molly

    Thanks for sharing this awesome resource!

  6. Kylie

    This is SO genius. At some point, I do want to keep the really, really important things like birth certificate and SSC in a safe. Until then, a binder is a fabulous idea. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Mel

    Hi Jess- I’d love to find out all the different categories you have in your binder to make sure I’m not forgetting anything! Thanks!

  8. olivia

    That is a cool binder! I have things filed away but I need something like that for after the big day.

  9. kelsey

    This is great! We have a small fire-proof safe that would make a perfect home for such a binder!

  10. Vicki Denunzio

    Love this post. As a wife/mom this is definitely something we need. Everything is stored in different locations around the house (I know where they all are) but a central location would be fabulous. If you don’t mind, could you elaborate a little more on this post re: the categories in your binder and the different items you store in each category.

    I did visit website link to see if the binder was available for purchase… but it doesn’t appear to be. ūüôĀ

    Thanks again for sharing!

  11. Jess

    Vicki, I’ll be sending you an email shortly!

    1. I actually had the same question as Vicki! I’m getting married next year, and I would love to create a system so that when we combine papers/life documents, I already have a plan of attack!

      1. Nice! From your comment, I’m not sure if you have a question for me, or if you are sharing that you are excited about moving forward with your plan. Do you mind elaborating a bit? : )

        1. Sorry, when I was reading this post, I got to it from your most recent organization post (the one from Wednesday), so I didn’t realize it was from 7 months ago! I just saw Vicki’s comment below where she asked for more information about the binder you have and what you store in it. Then, I saw your comment reply that you were sending her an email, so my original comment (which admittedly didn’t make sense now that I’m rereading it), was just meant to say that I, like Vicki, would love to hear more about this magical binder you have and how it’s organized so I can create a plan of attack for myself! Does that make more sense now?

          1. Jess Lively

            Lol! No worries! I think you can see the tabs for the most part in the pics – I have folders for:

            – ring insurance/details
            – Gov’t items like birth certificates
            – car stuff
            – health insurance
            -marriage certificate
            + and the dog has his own binder for papers and health items.

            I hope this helps!

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