I have a confession -- I'm bad at birthdays. I'm a terrible card-sender, I'm a negligent birthday remember-er, I'm a forgetful gift-giver.
I have family and friends who have never missed a birthday, Christmas, or graduation - not one special occasion ever slips their minds. Cards arrive promptly with lovely messages and sweet sentiment. Receiving these cards always means so much, and I know the time and energy that goes into sending them.
So, I've decided to change. How? With a Birthday Binder full of the tools for thoughtful and organized card sending and gift giving.
There are a few things that trip me up, here they are in no special order:
1. I don't remember dates well.
2. I forget to buy cards.
3. I get stumped picking out gifts.
4. Where are those stamps?
I'm happy to say this binder is the perfect fix. Here's all you need to make your own!
3 Ring binder
26 - Three-hole plastic sleeve covers
13 - 6" x 9" envelopes
Paper punches, optional
Double sided tape
Pen or Marker
Problem 1: When is that birthday? I always forget dates. First step in sending the card is knowing the date.
Solution: Print calendars online and write in Birthdays and special days, like anniversaries. I printed my calendars from www.calendarlab.com lots of formats and options and best of all - it's free! I printed mine on colorful card stock and then slipped them into plastic sleeves.
Okay, so we have the calendars in our binder, but that means I have to open my binder and search for the right month. That's great, but I want something that I can check at a glance. So I decided to make a one page perpetual calendar. Click on the image below to print your own:
Print the calendar, fill it in, and then display it on the front of your binder. I trimmed the holes off a plastic sleeve and then used double sided tape to attach it to the front of the binder - quick easy reference.
Problem 2: Cards. I never remember to get them when I need them.Solution: Buy cards in advance. I took my perpetual birthday calendar with me to the store and grabbed a card for everyone on my list. I also got a few random cards for occasions that may spring up like new babies or graduations. It's a little pricey to buy a lot of cards all at once, but I know this will be a huge help.
While you're at the store pick up a package of 6" x 9" envelopes. I used double sided tape to stick an envelope to the back of every month. These will be for stashing the cards. I put the appropriate cards with each month. Now, when a birthday rolls around, I have the cards right there - so handy!
I also attached an envelope to the back flap of the binder, I can use this to store extra all-occasion cards.
Problem 3: What did I send last year and what should I send this year?
I hate giving the same things year after year but we can all get stuck in a rut. I want to know what I gave last year so I can be sure to give something different this year.
Solution: Keeping track of gifts is no problem with my fancy new planner! I decided to make a gift log for keeping tabs on the gifts I've given. I printed one log for each month of the year and slipped them into plastic sleeves. Here's my gift log, print it out and use if for your planner:
When it comes to finding gifts, I'm the queen of spotting something in a magazine and thinking that it would make a nice gift... then forgetting all about it.
I have a solution! I made a pocket on the back of each gift log for storing all of those random magazine tear sheets and computer print outs. There's a pocket for each month, so you can keep the ideas organized.
To make the pockets just cut card stock 4" wide and use double sided tape to stick the bottom and two sides to your plastic sleeve, leave the top open for slipping in the papers. Easy!
Problem 4: Where are my stamps?
Solution: Just attach a small envelope to the binder using double sided tape. Slip in some stamps and you'll never have to go searching.
Finally, I printed out my address book off the computer and slipped that into a sleeve. I put it at the back of the binder for easy reference.
Add a pretty label to the binding and there you have it - a super-organized, easy-to-use, change-your-life Birthday planner. I hope you like it!