Sunday, May 22, 2011

Organizing Your Coupons and a DIY: Make Your Own Coupon Filing Box

This is similar to what I was using!
I decided to skip the drugstores this week as we have a huge stockpile and my daughter had 6 girls spending the night last night for her birthday party. So, I decided to share with you *how* I organize my coupons and what I recently made to help me do so. I have been using a 13 pocket expandable check-size little filer for my printables and such...But, here recently, it had gotten so full that I couldn't close it. Plus, I was always aggravated with only having 13 categories...I need my body soap in a different place from my toothpaste! Okay, I know I have organization issues, but it is just the way I am :D.  Anyway, I came up with this little box myself while trying to come up with a better way to organize my printables.

First, let me explain how I organize my coupons. I have a crate that has hanging file folders in it and each hanging file has the last 12 weeks or so of WHOLE inserts from my paper (time saver tip- DON'T CUT THE INSERTS!). I put a manilla folder in each hanging folder and a master list of the coupons I received for that week. I print the master list from here. The manilla folder is dated in pencil and I use it so that I can easily pull the whole week's inserts out and put them back when getting ready for a store trip. Then, my All You magazines are stacked behind the file folders, and my expandable full size filer with my store coupons and mailers are behind that. Then, I had a expandable check file (that I mentioned above is too small!) for my printables and loose manufacturer coupons. This works well for me considering the amount of time I have, plus I hate cutting coupons, so I prefer the whole insert vs the coupon binder. I also have a pocket folder notebook that just has pages with pockets in it. I labeled each pocket with a store (for me it is Publix, BiLo, CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, and Walmart/Target with the last pocket housing my spreadsheet for my monthly savings and my SouthernSavers workbook). In each pocket, I have the current sales ad for that store, any other information for that store (coupon polices printed, store map, manager phone numbers/names), and a small plastic sleeve envelope. Each envelope is also labeled by store and it snaps shut in the front and has a pocket in the back. In the snap shut pocket, I put all the coupons that I'm planning to use for that week's trip and in the back pocket, I put the shopping list (folded) and any store coupons or coupons I want to check the price on. This works especially well for the drugstores because I keep all the "store currency" in each one and if I'm not sure if something is expiring soon, it is very easy to go check. Any questions? LOL~

Okay, so on to my box! I used a Kohl's gift box to make it, but any thinner cardboard would work...It just needs to be bendable. First, you need to figure out how big of a box you need (aka how hardcore of a couponer are you? lol). My first box was only about 2 inches in width, and when I put all my current printables in it, it barely fit. So, I decided to give that one to my best friend who hasn't quite gotten to my insane level yet (lol). And I made one that is about 3 inches in width. So far, it is working great! Here's the measurements to make the larger one (if you want a smaller version, just alter the bottom and top folds and side panels to be smaller). I also wanted my box to be made with the 5x8 inch index cards, so that my longer and larger coupons will still fit inside.

Cut a piece of cardboard 50 cm long and 21 cm wide. Measure folds at 14cm (front), 8cm (bottom), 14cm (back), 8cm (top), and 6cm (flap).

Cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than the piece of cardboard. Remember, the bigger the fabric, the more the inside will have a "lining" as well. I actually remade one and took the fabric all the way down past the "top" fold so that the whole top portion and flap are lined when you open it. Hot glue it down by gluing it at the bottom section, then glue at each fold to keep it tight fitting. Then fold over into the inside and glue it securely.

Here is what the outside of it will look like.

Now for the sides! You are going to take the same cardboard and measure out about 11cm wide and 26cm long. Then draw dividing lines (as shown) for the folds at about 1.5cm away from each side. Also, split the 26cm into (2) 13cm sections. Cut!

Here is what you will have.

Fold each side piece as shown.

Cover each piece in fabric.

Here is what it will look like covered.

Hot glue securely as shown, bringing the box together.

What the side looks like when done.... (*note* this one is of the smaller 2" sides)

Here is mine, fully decorated! I added a bit of trim to the flap and also I did a velcro closure.
Here is how I made my dividers...Take 5x8 index cards and get the Post It Durable Filing Tabs. These are the most expensive items you will buy for this project! Tab up your index cards and write your categories on them! I used 25 index cards as of right now and I wrote in pencil so if I decide I need to change anything, I don't have to buy tabs again! Another good thing about these tabs is the fact that they remove and restick very easily!
Here is my box on the inside!
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