In my previous binder post I talked about the kids’ binders I’d created, but today’s post is about my own organizational binder.
My organizing initially started as a little, yellow two pocket folder that I kept on top of my microwave for about a year. Any time I saw something that I wanted to keep aside for the trip, I stuck it in the folder. Pretty soon though, when we got into the nitty gritty of the trip planning, I outgrew my two pocket folder. I needed some serious organization to make this trip go off without a hitch.
My binder is 3” thick and I’m pretty married to it on this trip. I carry it with me in and out of the car every morning and every night, and I take it with us everywhere. It’s got a whole ream of loose leaf paper in the back for any notes I want to make throughout the weeks we’re gone, as well as empty page protectors for any receipts or memorabilia I want to save.
Additionally, it’s chock full of very full page protectors.
My very first one has our calendar in it. It shows when we’re pulling into and out of each state and where we are staying. It was on our dining room wall for months as we planned, and before we left I slid it into a page protector and put the giant wall map into the front binder pocket along with a smaller road atlas that I got at the dollar store that shows major highways in every state.
The rest of my page protectors are full of lists. Any time I saw a list of the quirkiest things to see in every state or the best landmarks in all 50 states, or the biggest pieces of food in every state, or anything of the sort, I printed the list out and put it in my binder. No matter where we went, if there was something not to be missed whether it was historical, wacky, weird or edible, I had a list of it. I didn’t know if we’d see all of it, any of it, or none of it, but I was ready.
As people who’d done this trip before or had visited various places we were going to sent me their tips and tricks, I printed them out and put them into a page protector. I have one friend’s blog of her family’s cross country trip printed and in there.
Additionally, I printed out some activities I can do with the kids too. I have a list of interview questions to ask them and some “Would you rather” type questions and some road trip games to play. I thought it’d be fun for me to spring some of those on them throughout the trip as well, especially on the back end of the trip when they might get tired of driving and driving and driving.
My binder, as well as my kids’ binders, also work well a lap desk in the car for any time we need something to lean on, which was not my intention, but an added benefit to having something so sturdy, so close by when in the car.
My binder, although mostly all business, will be something I’ll save forever too. It’ll have my notes and lists in it so that I too can look back on this trip forever, remembering all the planning that went into it as well as all the amazing things we did while we were on it.