FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger
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It’s been mentioned before that some don’t understand how I get so many crafts done and how I can work up posts for up to 3 weeks in advance. My bloggy pal Lauren over at The Thinking Closet was very encouraging about working up a post to share my plan, so thanks, Lauren!

I really thought about how what I do works and I guess it is because I try to stay organized (which is no small feat for me, let me tell ya) and plan things down to the supplies I MIGHT need. You see, I have to drive to get to a craft store. It isn’t just a 10 minute or 20 minute trip, we’re talking at least an hour and a half to get there, run in and grab something and get back home. Now if I want to browse, we’re really going to be throwing time away.

So when I am working on a project and realize that even though I purchased everything BUT the glitter to get this thing cranked out, it puts a humongous damper on things and totally jacks up my flow. You see I love, love, love to craft and that’s why I do this. But since I want to do what I love for a living I have to be effective and get my posts out regularly and that is why I have devised an almost fool proof system. I say almost because I’m hardly perfect and even with a perfect list, I’m going to forget something almost every time!

Now this tutorial and set of free printables is actually a modification of my computerized organization which I’ll be sharing with you in a few weeks. I’ve been told that crafty people tend to prefer having paper in their hands to spreadsheets on their computers so that is what we’ve got going on here.

First and foremost, I had to pretty up the basic black binder I bought to hold everything because what kind of crafty girl has an ugly black binder on her desk? To do this you will need: decoupage, scarp booking paper, scissors, pencil and a brush.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

Trace the shape of the binder onto your paper and trim up. You may have to go back and cut down a bit smaller to actually fit since there is a strange little lip around the edges. Be sure to cut a piece for the front, back and the spine of the binder.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

Now I thought I was going to be smart and I sprayed my paper with spray adhesive and allowed to dry and then tried to podge on top of it. But that didn’t work. It wrinkled and crinkled and my haste made waste. Removing it all, I started again.

Spread the decoupage onto the binder and then place your paper on top. Smooth out as best you can and keep an eye on it because bubbles will pop up at the oddest times. After a bit, take your decoupage and layer on a few protective coats to keep your binder looking pristine.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

Here is your two weeks at a go planner. I try to work in windows of 2 weeks because I find it is easiest to be able to move and swap things as needed, or as projects don’t pan out. Click the file above to download a PDF from April 1 through the end of 2013.

Because I find that silly holidays can be inspiring, I’ve included one on every day I could find one for. We’ve got Record Store Day, Buddha Day, Grilled Cheese Day and Thrift Shop Day. Take a peek and perhaps you can find inspiration in the day that somebody out there decided was worthy enough to deem it “Leif Erikson Day”.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

Here is your materials shopping list PDF. Here you can keep track of your projects and write over in the box the things that you will need to complete said project. First shop your shelves and stashes and then work up your list as  needed. I find this is helpful because when I get to the store and see I need “brightly colored felt” I may not be able to place exactly what the project is I plan on working this week.

I also include information about which hobby shop currently has that particular item on sale, the prices if I know them off of the top of my head and which item I want to use a 40% coupon if I have one. I also break down where I’ve seen some things so that I make multiple, but efficient stops when I do “go to town”.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

This is a sheet for ideas. In that little box to the left you can draw your concept or glue in pics you see in a magazine or print them off from the internet. Write down what the project is, potential obstacles, things you’ll need to get or ask for help on, basically everything you can think of.

When you’re looking for projects to fill your next week or so, you can flip through your book and see what you already have supplies for, something that suddenly seems totally neat or a seasonal idea you thought of off season but would be perfect now. Plus, say you had a neat idea but it would take a tool that you don’t have but now you do, suddenly the project can come out of concepts and into real life crafting!

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

Print your sheets and use a three hole punch and put them in your binder. I used pieces of colored card stock in between sections to easily separate each part. First I have my calendar, then my ideas and lastly my shopping lists.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

The calendar has three sections per day. You can use these however you like. In the first box I put my post that will appear on my blog. The second one holds a secondary post for the day or info about a post that I am sharing on another blog. The last box holds important information like when I’ll be out of town or if I’m being featured somewhere that I’ll want to share with all of you on the blog.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

Here is what an ideas sheet looks like. One sheet may have a Christmas idea, a shoe redesign and a DIY project for my kitchen all at the same time. Be sure to include as much info as you can so that if you come to the idea in 6 months you have a clue of what your idea was in the beginning.

FREE blog planning binder printables at Dream a Little Bigger

And here is my materials/shopping list. My schedule is on the right and my list is in the box to the left. I include tips like where things are on sale or are available, which item I want to use my coupons on and which things I can ask others for (like already read newspapers).

This helps so that when I get to the store I know exactly what I need and which project it is for, so if they don’t have exactly what I need and I have to change up the game plan, I know exactly what I’m working on to formulate a new plan on the fly.

If you have any ideas for organization and making a blogging/crafting life easier, feel free to share in the comments!

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  1. Hey, Allison – I was SO excited to stumble across your site this morning … I clicked through from the AllFreeJewelry post link to your Bellydancer’s Kumihimo Bracelet and have been browsing your site for the last hour! This post on organization will be especially helpful, since it relates directly to one of the tasks that I’d had set for myself today … serendipity, I LOVE IT! As a newbie to the world of small home-based business, I’m especially interested in your story of how you got started and what is working for you. Are you willing to share? Can you point to resources that have been especially helpful to you? Thanks again for the time and effort that you’ve put into your great tutorials! :-)

    1. Thanks so much! I’m so glad you stumbled here, too! I am actually going to be doing an interview soon about being self employed and I’ll be sharing the link for that here as soon as I get it!

  2. Allison Murray says:

    Thanks so much, Lauren – your compliments mean so much! My serious need for organized planning was really noticeable about 6 months in. I was going to the craft store every few days wasting time, money and gas and inevitably buying things I didn't need but thought I would use later and almost always forgot about. It was either get a system together or quit and I'm no quitter :)

  3. Hooray! I'm so happy to see this post and catch a glimpse into your creative process. I recently switched from paper planning to an excel spreadsheet myself, so I'll be curious to see what yours looks like when you share it. I really like the idea of having an ongoing shopping list with sales / coupons, etc. Genius! And I didn't realize you were so far from craft/hobby shops. Wow. Talk about the need to really pre-plan! Makes me feel grateful to be as close as I am to craft stores. I mustn't take advantage of that!

    And I'm glad you were able to take a vacation and relax a bit…even if it does mean you have fallen a bit behind in your blog planning. You do such an incredible job creating quality content day after day (seriously, you are a superstar), I hope you feel freedom to take some time off if you need it. We'll all be here when you return!

  4. Allison Murray says:

    I totally hear ya. I go through times where I will make a plan and then veer off of it every day. But at least it is there waiting for me when I get back to being scheduled :)

  5. This is awesome!! I've been trying to be more organized again… I obsessed so much last year that I kind of burnt out and don't plan much anymore. It's hard for me to find a good medium!!