C.H.a.O.S. {Binder: Calendar}

52 weeks button

Welcome to Week Two of 52 Weeks of C.H.a.O.S! This week we’re going to start building our C.H.a.O.S. binders. If you’re new to C.H.a.O.S., make sure to read the introduction. The short version is that it stands for Complete Home Overhaul System. This is a program for the extremely right-brained. Like me! We’re going to whip our homes (and our lives) into shape over the next year. And we’re going to do it our way. Click the button above for an email notice of next week’s post and to get a free 23-page C.H.a.O.S. Binder Quick Start Guide.

Hopefully you’re on your way to making the 7 Super Habits we talked about last week part of your daily and weekly routine. How are they working out for you? I hope you’ll come by Facebook or leave me a comment here and let me know. I’m still struggling a little with laundry, but for the most part I’m really happy with my progress.

I’m so excited to share my binder with you! I promise, by the end of the next six weeks, your binder will be your best friend. It’s like a personal assistant. Only you don’t have to pay it or give it time off.

A little note about my printables: They are so simple that even if you don’t have access to a printer (or you forgot to buy ink last week), you can easily replicate them with a pen and lined paper. I wanted something cheap to print (so no color ink or extra flourishes) that I wouldn’t worry about messing up. Maybe they aren’t as pretty as some others, but they are intuitive. My big  question with each printable I made was “Will this be easier to use than it will be to stop using it.”

Ready to get started?

You’re going to need:

  • a 1-inch binder
  • a set of eight tabbed dividers
  • a package of lined paper.

For now, label the first divider ‘Planning,’ the second divider ‘Money,’ and the third divider, ‘Food.’ If you’re following along with the Project Buy a House series, you should have printables you can keep in the money section of your binder now. The menu plan you printed last week can go in the food section. Put some lined paper in the very back.

This week we’re going to talk about your calendar, which leads into the planning section of the binder.

52 Weeks of C.H.a.O.S., week two is all about getting out C.H.a.O.S. binders started. We're talking about an easy, intuitive calendar this week.


Calendar Blanks

I have calendar pages going to the end of the year, and in November I’ll print out the first quarter of 2014 and so on.  Click on the printable below to print out your calendar blanks. Fill them out, hole punch them, and stick them in the very front of your binder.  No tabbed divider needed.  A month-at-a-glance calendar works for me because I don’t keep regular every-week appointments here.  Those go in the daily pages in the planning section. The picture to the left is my actual September 2014 calendar.

I write non-standing appointments in the appropriate squares of the calendar. These include things like:

  • Ruby’s soccer game schedule.
  • Appointments of any kind, as long as they aren’t standing.
  • Events we plan to attend.
  • Any trips we have planned.
  • Birthdays and holidays (which are regular, but not weekly.)
  • Basically, ANYTHING that doesn’t happen every week or at the same time every month.

A simple, no-frills printable blank monthly calendar.

Lined Paper

I keep a few sheets of lined paper behind the calendar pages. This is where I write information (addresses, directions, what to bring, etc.) I need for what I’ve put in my calendar. I just keep a running list and cross things off as that event passes. If something on my calendar has a note, I put a star next to it.  I also have a page for writing down appointments that are beyond what I have calendars printed for. When I print out my next batch, I can look at that page and transfer the dates. I also hole punch any flyers or printouts related to events that are on my calendar and put them behind the lined paper.


We’re going into the planning section in depth next week, but today I want to tell you about Daily Focus Pages. I’m not going to lie. I feel like a freaking genius every day when I use these things! Finally, a planning/calendar plan I can keep up with without feeling overwhelmed and then guilty when I let it slide.

Daily Focus Pages

I first read about having a focus for each day in Pam Young and Peggy Jones’s book Sidetracked Home Executives at least twenty years ago. Now the Fly Lady has picked up that mantel and suggests the same thing. After decades of trying, I’ve finally admitted that both of those programs are too complicated for me. Someone else giving me long lists of what to do? No. My brain doesn’t work that way. But the idea of a daily focus has really worked for me.

Here’s how I do it. Each day has a permanent page in my binder. I only have to reprint them if something changes about my schedule. I write in the focus for the day, as well as that day’s blog focus. (I’ve made up printables without the blog option, in case that doesn’t apply to you.) Then I just write down a list of the things that I always do (or plan to do) for each day of the week. I don’t write down things like getting dressed or taking a shower or driving Ruby to school, because I don’t need written reminders of them.

The Daily Focus pages are there to A) keep you from having to write regular, standing appointments in your monthly calendar and B) give your brain a nudge about what you’re supposed to be doing that day.

When you click on Monday’s page, you’ll get a document with Daily Focus pages for the whole week.

Daily Focus Pages for your C.H.a.O.S. Binder

Here’s my week:

Monday: Money Day

Tuesday: Shopping and Errands Day

Wednesday: Family Day and Catch-up Day

Thursday: Cleaning Day

Friday: Paperwork Day

Saturday: Kids Day 

Sunday: Fun Day, plus 5-minutes-per-room Day

Using Your Daily Focus Pages

In addition to the tasks tied to each day’s focus, I write any standing appointments on these pages. Here are some things to think about while you’re filling in your Daily Focus pages:

  • Your work schedule
  • Your partners’s work schedule, if it’s something that impacts your day
  • Your kids’ extra-curricular schedules
  • Your car pool schedule
  • Your gym schedule
  • Any standing appointments you might have

I’m going to write a post about daily focuses on Wednesday. For now, just print out your pages and write down your regular weekly schedule in them.


Daily: Check your calendar and Daily Focus page

Take a look at your calendar and Daily Focus page in the morning as you’re filling out your ta-da book for the day. This is a super simple one.

Weekly: Five minutes per room

On one of your cleaning days, spend five minutes picking up each room in your house. For me, that’s the kitchen, the dining room, my office, the living room, two bathrooms, and the master bedroom. I’m not going to add my kids’ rooms because they are all old enough to do their own cleaning–but if you have little kids you can add their rooms, too. My gut feeling is that keeping up with the 7 Super Habits will make it so that even five minutes makes a difference that will build on itself. I’m doing it on Sunday afternoons, to sort of reboot things before the next week starts.

The first time I did this, I was able to do up the lunch dishes, wipe down the kitchen counters, put away all the shoes that had accumulated in the entry way, clear off the junk from the dining room table, polish the top of it, replace the place mats, clean off my desk and the little table next to my desk, and clean up the piles of vintage clothes I’d been sorting in my office. In fifteen minutes. My born-organized, left-brain husband just kind of looked at me like ‘well, yeah’ when I told him this, but it completely shocked me.

I think that right-brained people get overwhelmed by things that seem like they’re going to take us away from what we really want to be doing FOREVER. Knowing that I only have to do something for five minutes helps me combat that.

 Action Plan

{CLICK HERE for a printable action plan for week two.}

Check in with yourself. How are those seven habits working for you? Are you noticing a difference yet? Are you feeling like you can do this? Are you getting overwhelmed? (If you are, it’s totally okay to repeat a week at any time.)

Gather your supplies for your binder and put it together.

Print out your calendar and Daily Focus pages. You can check the C.H.a.O.S. printables tab above to see all of this week’s printables in one place, plus all of the printables for the whole series so far.

Fill out your calendar pages with the month and dates, plus write in anything you already have planned for those months, as well as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

Make your weekly plan and fill in your daily pages.

Start checking your daily page as you fill out your to-do list every morning.

On one of your cleaning days, use a timer and spend 5 minutes cleaning or decluttering each room in your house.

Subscribe to Going Reno to get your free 23-page C.H.a.O.S. Binder Quick Start Guide

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and purchase something, I get a small commission. I only link to products that I use and would recommend regardless of affiliation. Thank you for your support!

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This post has been linked to these awesome blogs:

Three Mango Seeds, Bewitchin’ ProjectsA Pinch of JoyThe Chicken ChickSew Can Do


5 thoughts on “C.H.a.O.S. {Binder: Calendar}

  1. Pingback: Project Buy a House {The Lifeboat} | Going Reno

  2. Pingback: The Three Bs: Binder, Brain Dump, Bullet Journal | Going Reno

  3. A daily focus plan is a good idea. I sort of have one, but it’s rather random at times. lol I write down a list of things I want to accomplish on a given day and usually I am able to cross each one off. That is a fruitful approach for me. I love reading how others do things, especially when it comes to de-cluttering. In fact, after I found your blog a few weeks ago I began by isolating a partial area of the house to toss out the easiest stuff that I quickly spotted and got rid of quite of bit. I was surprised! Thanks for sharing your strategies!


  4. Pingback: C.H.a.O.S. {Binder: Planning} | Going Reno

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