So glad you brought us along on your journey to a more organized life! We know firsthand how difficult and complex military life can be. Add disorganization and clutter to the mix and it becomes even more stressful.
Life/PCS Binders - and really any DIY file organization method - can be overwhelming, and come with challenges that you might not expect. We've pinpointed the five biggest ones below, but don't worry; we've also solved them for you. Sigh of relief...
Problem #1: Inconsistency
Whether you're brand new to military life or an experienced milso, the nagging feeling that you're missing something is common. What files should I be keeping? Which ones can I disregard? What if I forget to include some files after PCSing so many times? It takes time and lots of effort to generate a truly comprehensive document list (like you have time for that).
So we did it for you. We spent weeks researching PCS/life binder file suggestions from every trusted source we could find, compiling the "universal" and "additional suggestions" lists that you now know and love. And because our binder sets can track files across multiple duty stations (i.e. for YEARS), you'll have the same complete information at every assignment, every time.
Problem #2: Lack of Detail
Now, having a complete list of files to track is only the first hurdle. Tracking all your documents well doesn't stop there. Some documents, like orders, should be made into multiple copies. Other documents, like powers of attorney, may have expiration dates that should be monitored closely. And obviously not all documents apply to every family member, duty station, deployment, etc. How do you organize all of that?
List & File binder sets provide a simple solution via our unique "checkbox table" design. It's easy: Have an expiration date? Write it in the box. Need to know how many copies you have? Write that in the box too (in pencil, of course, for when the number changes). If you simply need to know whether a document is present, a quick check mark will do. If a document isn't applicable at a particular duty station or for a certain family member, black out the box or write an "X". This simple structure gives you a quick but thorough summary of what's going on behind each tab.
Problem #3: Flimsy materials
Let's be honest - using printables or sticky notes in your Life/PCS binder is easy and quick, but they don't last. Life in general is messy, and military life can be moreso due to its transient nature. Your binder should be able to withstand long-distance or last-minute moves, curious little hands, mischievous pets, accidents, and repeated day-to-day use.
That's why we make our binder inserts durable. Heavy duty cardstock and mylar-reinforced tabs and binding edges make for great strength and stability. Yourbinder is now bleed, bend, and tear-resistant when you need it most!
Problem #4: Difficulty of use
Standard-size sheet protectors, while necessary for holding files, are not easy to use alone. Their tabs are often small, and get buried as soon as your files are added. And most obviously, you can't write on sheet protectors.
List & File binder inserts are purposefully over-sized, coming in at 9.5" x 11". This means that once you add inches and inches of standard- and non-standard-size paperwork to your binder, the tabs are still visible, and at least reachable. They also feature double-sided and non-glossy (editable) printing. See how easy this is?
Problem #5: Designer look? Not exactly.
Ok, lack of design isn't really a problem, but we're adding it anyway. Not that neon sticky notes or rainbow-colored sheet protectors don't have their place, but since a Life Binder is a semi-permanent system, it might as well LOOK GOOD. When all is said and done, you'll likely spend hours and hours reviewing and updating your Life Binder throughout your military experience (don't think about it), so let our beautiful designs lighten & brighten a dreary task. Your eyes will thank you.