Binders Glorified: genealogy research and organization magic

I love 3-ring binders!  They are magic!  I have banker’s boxes full of empty binders in my garage.  I have a hall closet full of binders waiting to be filled.  I have shelves of binders currently holding very important information.  Whoever invented the 3-ring binder deserves a gold star! Why do I need so many binders?  OK, so I’m an organization junkie!

Organization does not need to be a boring subject!

Organization does not need to be a boring subject!

Here are just some of the items you will find in binders at my house:

  • recipes from myself and 3 daughters
  • almost 40 years of journals
  • newspaper clippings of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City
  • trips we have taken complete with photos, trip journals, maps, etc.
  • the crazy family stories my husband and I tell our grandkids
  • photos that don’t have a home yet
  • greeting cards (I can’t throw them away)
  • important papers and documents
  • computer CD’s (in those cool plastic thingies that hold 4 CD’s on a page)
  • music CD’s (in those same plastic thingies)
  • DVD’s (yep, more thingies)
  • book lists (you’ll soon find out how much I love books and book lists)
  • crochet patterns
  • family journals (documentation of family activities)
  • OK – I think you get the picture – I couldn’t live without my 3-ring binders

However, the biggest and best reason for binders is to organize my genealogy research. And I have the magic recipe for what’s inside the binder, but that’s for another post.

It's what's inside the binder that counts!

It’s what’s inside the binder that counts!

In the meantime, here are my binder tips:

  • White binders look nice on the shelf.
  • “View” binders can be customized with cute scrapbooking paper and titles printed on the spines.
  • I use scrapbooking paper in four colors (one color for each of my four main families) so they can easily be found on the shelf.
  • Older plain binders can be covered with cloth or contact paper, etc.
  • Stock up on 2″, 2.5″, and a few 3″ for genealogy.
  • Binders come in a variety of grades, prices, and ring mechanisms, but check out or for some good prices.
  • And don’t forget sheet protectors – LOTS of sheet protectors.  Buy them by the box at or Costco.

What about being paperless?  Are you kidding me?  Connie doesn’t do paperless when it comes to genealogy research.  I need my hard copies in front of me where I can think, sort, analyze, scribble, attach sticky notes, and caress my newly-found documents. Besides, when my husband sees all those binders full of research, he keeps helping with the housework and cooking the meals!

So, buy a few binders, fancy them up a bit, and get ready for research magic (or just use them to organize your life)!

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog binder notebook 3 ring spine label