Monday, June 27, 2016

Mothering Monday: Family Information Binders

As a parent, I am in charge of all our family's documentation parents. Because we have lived in three different countries and my children have attended 10 different schools, I have found that keeping my records well-organized and accessible has been imperative. Even if you don't move a lot or travel out of the country, keeping track of important documents and information about your family is essential. I have an extremely easy yet effective system that costs little, but really pays off.

Each family member is assigned a one-inch binder. Because my kids have favorite colors, I found binders in those colors. I labeled the edge and front of the binder with each person's name.

I have four categories in each binder: identification papers, church documents, health, and school.

The first category is identification papers.

I store the following documents in this category:

  • birth certificate
  • social security card
  • identify documents for any countries we have resided in
  • marriage certificate (for my husband and I)
  • any other document that provides identification

The second category is church documents. 

I store the following documents in this category:
  • blessing certificate
  • baptism certificate
  • priesthood ordinations
  • primary graduation
  • any awards earned

The third category is health. 

I store the following documents in the this category:
  • yearly physicals
  • current immunizations
  • test results from x-rays, MRIs,etc. 

The fourth category is school.

I store the following documents in this category:
  • college transcripts
  • scholarship letters
  • college acceptance letters
  • diplomas
  • moving up certificates
  • final report card from each year
  • transcripts from any school attended
  • IEP or 504 Plan documents
The beauty of this system is that it is so easy to adapt to any family's situation. You can remove or add categories based on your needs. These binders have proven to be invaluable for our family through our moves. I can't tell you how many times I have needed to provide documents at a moment's notice. Because my children have collectively attended 10 different schools in the past 11 years, it has been helpful to be able to hand over a complete transcript of their education. 

Some of you may wonder if it is secure to maintain these documents in one visible location. Many experts suggest keeping all important documents in a safety deposit box at a bank. I can understand the logic behind that, but our circumstances have never allowed us that luxury. We have often needed certified original copies of documents, so I simply keep them together in the binder. If you are worried about security but want to adopt this system, I would suggest that you copy all the originals and store them in a safe locations, such as a safety deposit box, and then organize the copies into binders as I have done here. I also have scanned copies on my computer so I can access them digitally, if needed. 

When my children are fully independent, I will pass off their binder to them. Already my oldest son has used his a lot when he took his driver's test, signing up for college courses, taking ACT and SAT exams, opened a bank account, etc. He knows where to find his important information and can easily fill out forms himself now, using the contents of his binder. 

How do you store your family's information? Did you find this helpful? 


1 comment:

BloonPopper 3.0 said...

That's a great system. I might copy it. Unfortunately, several of our babies didn't end up with baby blessing certificates and at least one kid does not have a baptism one. Hopefully that's not any sort of a big deal. But I like how you have it organized. This is Jenna, BTW. Just noticed I'm in my son's email (oops).