At Home with Malden

As some of you may recall, I have re-purposed my beloved Malden as a stay-at-home binder to house all of the items I want to keep but that I don’t need with me at all times.  I have finished putting all of the pieces together, and so here is a little tour. 

Upon opening the binder, you can see I have bits of paper and cards in the slots on the left-hand side.  I have a jot pad, an iTunes gift card, and snips of articles about gardening and getting rid of garden pests (I have yet to do any type of gardening whatsoever, but I am hopeful that one day I will).

On the right-hand side, I placed a Life Is Good sticker on the transparent page that comes in new binders.  I’ve had this sticker for a while and I wanted to be able to use it in some planner fashion, so I’m excited that it now has a home.  The only problem is that it’s a little wider than the page, so I had to fold it over at the edge.  Thankfully though, it’s not too much of a fold-over so it doesn’t look super ridiculous.

Next comes the tabbed sections.

The “Info” section holds random information that I need to refer to often; things like bike trails to check out, places to see while in New York City, a list of day trips we want to do, a list of long weekend trips to take, coffee houses I want to visit, and finally passwords hints.  I use the Avery tabs at the top to separate my passwords hints from my husband’s.

“To Buy” has a list of items that I want to buy for myself (perhaps a Slimline Holborn or a yoga towel) as well as a list of things to buy for the house (new bookshelves, kitchen containers, a new living room chair, etc.).  I’m hoping to knock off these items one by one when I can, though some of them are geared for purchase way down the road, things like kayaks and a vacation home.  But I want to remember that these are things we’d like to achieve some day.  When the time comes for any of these items, I will move the item from this list to a list in my Compact Regency so that it’s front and center in my mind.  The item listed in the Malden will then get a check mark to remind me that it’s on another list somewhere else.  When the item has been purchased, it gets crossed off all lists.

Likewise, “To Do” has separate lists as well: a personal list, a household list, and an organization list.  I keep a list of things that need to be organized separate from the traditional to do lists because usually they don’t take a lot of time—it’s something that can be done in an hour or two when I have the time, like organize the bathroom cabinet or hall closet.  My personal list contains things like getting a medical Filo up and running (coming soon!), decorate the tabs in the Regency, and back up our wedding pictures.  The household list contains things such as new carpeting, replace screens, and clean kitchen cabinets.  Cleaning is separate from organizing in that it tends to be a bigger project, though one that will probably include organizing.

The “Projects” tab houses a list of projects that I want to complete at some point.  People have often said they don’t see a different between “lists” and “projects.”  I guess it depends on how you categorize it in your mind.  To me, lists are quick items that can be done separate from each other, a traditional to do list.  A project involves multiple steps and/or coordination.  So, while there might be a number of items to do regarding planning a Philofaxy Meet Up, say, I consider it a project because many steps are involved for the one topic. 

Now, what projects go in which binder depends on how long-term it is.  I have a projects section in my Regency as well, and that houses projects that I’m actively working on.  If I think I might need to refer to it at work, it goes in the Regency.  A meet up would definitely go in the Regency, as I’d be getting emails any time of day and I’d need to add people’s names and information to the list when those emails come in.  Currently, the only project I have in the Regency is a list of sections for my soon-to-be medical Filo, though to be honest, it could go in the Malden.  When I first started thinking about it, I was at work, so it naturally ended up there.  But I pretty much have it set at this point, so it could move.  My Malden projects currently hold a list of all of my bills that I eventually want to pay electronically.  I have yet to set that up, however.  I also have a list of cars I’m interested in—I just finished paying for my current car, and while I am in no hurry to replace it (I still love it, I’ve never had a problem with it, and I’d like to put money aside before getting a new one), I am keeping a list of cars I’m interested in.  That way, when the time comes, I’m ready to really start my research on which cars have good reviews, etc.  At that time, the list will probably be moved from the Malden to the Regency (or whatever compact I’m using at that time).  For both binders, each project gets its own color note paper.  This makes it easy to discern one project from another.

My “Financial” tab contains some financial information.  Nothing as specific as a checkbook, though.  Here I keep a running tally of money I put into savings and how much money I have put on my credit cards during any given month.  This allows me to rein in my spending.  If I had to buy a lot of groceries and essentials for the house, I know that I have only a certain amount left over for personal spending.  I don’t have a strict limit of how much I can spend during a month, but I like to keep it around a certain amount.  Sometimes, unexpected items come up (like car repair or something to do with the house) that is more than I would normally spend.  I don’t want or need to stress of keeping to a strict budget.  But at least I can keep myself in reasonable check.

Finally, the “Addresses” section is where I keep my full address book of everyone I know.  I use the A-Z tabs to help organize this section.

The section starts with a list of doctors and their contact information.  I also keep a pared down version of this list in the Regency—phone numbers only.  Personal contacts are listed by last name, whereas contacts such as “plumber” get filed under the corresponding letter for the trade (so in this case, plumber gets filed under P).  I don’t often remember the names of people and companies we use for household issues, so this is helpful.

At the back of the section, I have some business card holders.  For the most part, this information is filed within the address book under the appropriate letter, but I also like to keep the cards if I happen to pick one up.

I keep random items tucked in at the back of the binder.

These are items that I need to do something with sooner rather than later but that don’t necessarily have a home.  Right now I have the current stickers I’m using within my Regency, a gift certificate for Teavana, a coupon for Vera Bradley that’s only good for certain dates (so during that weekend I have a Post-it note reminding me to go to the store and to remember to take the coupon with me), a wedding invitation that I need to respond to, and an article from Yoga Journal that I might end up doing a post about.

And since the Malden has the back vertical pocket, I also have a note pad in there for random notes or whatever.

At first I didn’t know if there would be enough to fill up my Malden, but as you can see, there is plenty of information in here. 

You can also see all of the unnecessary items I was carrying with me everywhere.  I could easily put the contents of my Regency back in the Malden and it wouldn’t be too big as far as the personal size goes.  But I am so happy with the compact size, I don’t know that I’ll ever move back in to the personal for my main binder.  The combination of the two just might be the perfect plan.


  1. Oooh, I love this! Seems like the ideal set up for you- I hope it continues to work out!

    1. Thanks! I hope it does. I was using an A5 for this purpose but it wasn't full so I moved into the Malden which is good since I love it and wanted a use for it. I'll keep you posted!

  2. Nice! I have an A5 home binder that isn't "full enough". Need to work on that. :)

    1. Yeah, that's why I moved to the personal size. The A5 was looking too thin without enough to fill it.


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