Building can be stressful in so many ways, but one way that helped our process smoother was staying organized throughout the process! I’ve been working on creating a list of ways to help keep you organized throughout your build! I’ll be going over tips on staying organized with your builder, ways to use Pinterest and Instagram, creating a building binder, and using the financial template I created!
Staying Organized with Your Builder
First, I want to mention the fact that your builder is going to do a lot of work, but you should still double check his work! Staying on top of everything that is going on at the house that day. Try to visit the house everyday to check things, or have someone you trust go out to the house. We are all people, and mistakes happen! So it’s best to find the mistakes early on, so it’s not a big stress later down the road.
All builders are different, some are perfect, some get the job done, and others are not so great. More information on how to select the right builder for you will be on my next post! A few ways to make sure everything was communicated and we didn’t misunderstand any conversations was by making lists, taking notes when we met, and recording possible tough conversations.
When we had meetings with out builder, we would create a list of things to talk about with him. We started the list several days before we would meet with him, and add to the list as we thought of things. This would ensure that we didn’t forget anything, and we also wrote down notes or answers he had for those questions. I also dated the list that way if there was ever an issue with that topic, we can refer back to the notes to check what the answer was for that question. This could be something you never reference back to, but there might be a time where you wish you would have done this!
Many of you know that Jeremy travels out of town, so some of the meetings were with just me and the builder. To make sure I didn’t forget to tell Jeremy, I would record the conversations on my phone. Basically just another form of note taking, but without all the writing!
Color Coding House Plans
This is probably the teacher in me, but our house plans were color coded with Flair pens! This helped me so I could easily see a visual of things. I used pink for the walls I wanted brick, orange for where we wanted shiplap on the walls. To quickly find things, I outlined the windows in green, and pocket doors in blue. Something that isn’t super necessary, but it was helpful for me!
I also made a key at the bottom, so Jeremy or our contractor knew what each color meant, if I wasn’t there to explain! Our builder actually really loved this idea, and took a picture of the color coding so it was easier for him to remember where I wanted everything.
Staying Organized with Pinterest and Instagram
Pinterest is a search engine like Google. You can search and save your favorite photos, or links into boards you have created. It’s good to create boards based on room, rather then a general “home” board. This will help you find inspirational images to show your builder quickly!
Instagram is really good at staying up to date with other social media platforms. There are images, links, IGTV videos, short reel videos, stories, highlights, saved folders, and the recent new feature, Guides. The saved folders is what you can really use here to help you keep organized with your home inspiration. This is JUST like a Pinterest boards. I created folders by master bedroom, living room, dining room, bathroom, kitchen, pantry, laundry/mudroom, boys rooms, playroom/office, front/back porch, exterior, and even a seasonal decor folder!
If you aren’t sure how to save a post on Instagram, there is a little pendant flag below the photo on the right. Click that flag and then you can save it to a specific folder. Then you can easily find it again!
Our building binder is what really kept our heads straight. If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be the binder! Remember all those teachers that helped you set up your binder at the beginning of the year so you can keep all your subjects separated and all your work had it’s own place to go. Well, here is a teacher, giving you tips on how to organize your building binder! Haha!
Staying Organized with a Building Binder- Shopping list
Let’s start with the shopping list of things to get your building binder set up! I have linked very similar things to what I used for my binder. The binder should be at least 2 inches. It fills up fast, and you want it to last you the through the entire build. Nothing worse than having to transfer everything over to a bigger binder!
Next on the list are binder dividers! These dividers I have linked are sheet protector dividers. Any type of divider with labels will work, but I linked these specially because I have a little surprise for you at the end of this post! 🙂
Below you will also find a binder pencil pouch, so you always have a pen or pencil on hand. Linked my favorite Flair pens, and my favorite brand of pencils, too!
You might have noticed that I have sheet protectors, and I have a 3 hole punch. Really only one or the other is needed. I personally just used the three hole punch because I already had one at home, and I didn’t have to mess with a ton of sheet protectors. I also included some binder pockets. Again, these are necessary, but helpful if you are in a hurry, and need to just slip it in here! The binder I linked, and most binders you pick up from a store will have front and back pockets though!
You can stay organized by putting your dividers in an order that works best for you. For me, I put the most used divider tabs in the front of the binder, and least used towards the back. I’ll go through the order of my dividers and what worked for me. Then I’m going to break down what I kept in each section.
- House Plans
- Interior Details
- Exterior Details
The first divider was house plans, and that was for a reason! It is something we referenced all the time throughout the build. We kept a printed copy of our house plans, so we could quickly reference it. I also kept all my grid drawing papers in there. I had grid drawings of my kitchen, fireplace and built ins, master bath, pantry, closet, and mudroom drop zone. This is also were I kept either printed photos of inspiration, or pictures I ripped out of magazines. My photo inspiration consisted of my brick, beams, mudroom, and fireplace.
This one speaks for itself. Here is were we kept all our draws! A draw is what the builder gives you, like an invoice, of everything he is going to purchase, or already has. Then you know how much to write a check for him from your loan account.
Each latest draw was always in the front of this section! Even though we input the draws on our building financial template, we still had the hard copies in our binder. I also wrote draw numbers on each one, so If they ever got out of order, they could easily be put back in order without having to search for dates.
This one also speaks for itself. Here we put receipts for everything we paid for out of pocket like our major appliances, tub, lighting, furniture, door hardware, and cabinet hardware. You don’t have to pay for anything out of pocket, but we did to help keep our monthly mortgage payment down. More on this later when I post the #Building101 Finances!
Interior Details & Exterior Details
This is were I kept samples, or photos of things we purchased for our home. I just had two sections to help find interior and exterior details. Think of it as a mini mood board but in binder form! I only put things in this section that we had finalized and purchased. I kept small paint swatches, printed photos of purchases, and things like that. Again, these were all final choices, but any inspirational photos were under the House Plans section.
The contract section is in the back because it is not one you will reference often, but it’s always good to have on hand. We kept the land survey there, our land deed restrictions, builder contracts, and any warranty paperwork.
Building Financial Template
My parents built their forever home about a year before we did. It was helpful to learn from their build and find out what works, and what didn’t. My dad actually created this building budget financial template for their build,so I can’t take all the credit for this! Thanks Dad! 🙂 He shared it with me, and I made it my own, and added some extra sheets that were helpful during our build.
This building financial template is easily accessible from your phone, tablet, or desktop! It’s created in Google Sheets (which is just like Microsoft Excel), so it is a live document so that you and your partner can both work on the document at the same time from different devices! It also automatically saves your work, so you don’t have to worry about loosing any information!
The first sheet of this template has a formula on it to double check your numbers. It compares the break down of each draw with your allowance from your builder. Once the numbers are pulled in, it will automatically start calculation if you are over or under budget according to the bid from your builder! This also helps you find any mistakes on billing. You don’t want to charged double for something accidentally. This sheet will help you catch those mishaps!
Click the link below to get more details on what this template has to offer you! Trust me, it’s worth the $15.00! You could make something like this yourself (if you’re tech savvy!), but building is stressful! Save yourself the hassle and get it in a few clicks below!
Building Financial Template$15.00
Benefits of Staying Organized from the Beginning
There are many benefits to staying organized throughout your build. One you can always find whatever you need quickly. If you want your build to move fast, you don’t want people to have to wait on you. You should always be waiting on them. The having your inspiration organized, helps keep you prepared, in the know, and helps keep a plan in place. Might even keep you sane! 🙂
It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It’s better than digging through a million manilla folders, or having to go home to look through paperwork. Keep your binder up to date, and keep it in your car so it’s always easily accessible! I still reference my binder for materials we used, and where we purchased them from!
So to help you get started, stay organized, and a way to say thanks from me to you, I have created a FREE download of binder insert to organized your building binder! Add Binder inserts to cart, and your check out will be free! Don’t forget to create an account so you can get emails, and updates on other helpful building information!
Free Binder Inserts$0.00
Other Staying Organized tips
I hope these tips on staying organized throughout your build has helped relieve stress and given you ideas to start implementing! Do you have any tips to share with others on staying organized while building? I’d love to hear! Comment below!
Don’t forget to like, and share this post on other platforms to help spread ways on staying organized throughout your build! Thanks for reading and if you’re new here, subscribed to my emails to get the #building101 sent straight to your email!