My personal planner is my portable filing cabinet. I use it for keeping track of basic vehicle, medical, banking, and other important information. It's my journal to track our RV life and travels.
I keep copies of documents that I might need in a hurry, such as our pets’ vaccination records and insurance certificates in it. When I need our passports, birth certificates, or our marriage license, I know I can find them there, neatly filed in alphabetical order.
At the beginning of the year, I go through the calendar and highlight legal holidays (primarily as a reminder that mail forwarding will be askew that week). I write in birthdays and other special dates.
The credit card holder pages are great for organizing membership cards, as well as for credit cards and business cards. We track our expenses and I keep a large envelope in the organizer that I stick receipts in until I am ready to record them.
The calendar section makes it easy to keep track of our travels. I have the month-at-a-glance style calendar, where when the book is open, the entire month shows on the two-page spread – it has daily squares large enough to record several things in each.
Each day I fill in… 1. the name of the town and state where we spend the night. 2. the weather. 3. the names of restaurants where we eat. 4. the name of the campground where we stay. 5. anything special we do that day.
I use the extra spaces on the pages for comments and add extra pages as I need them. Over the years, what goes on those pages has changes. They are invaluable for tax planning, and serve as my tax diary. Besides helping to keep us organized for the future, my personal planner it is a good record of our past.
A professional, leather bound personal organizer system is nice. A three ring binder in a woven fabric covered zippered case is more economical and just as convenient. I actually find that those sold with the school supplies are larger and have more and roomier pockets than those in the office supplies. You can customize either with the pages you want, adding to it or rearranging it the way that works best for you. The important thing is to have some organized system for keeping track of important papers while RVing – and to have a place to record your RVing memories.
This article probably wouldn't be complete without mentioning electronic organizers. Most folks have contact information on their cell phones. Email programs hold other hold phone number and mailing addresses, too. Documents can be scanned and kept on your computer or a portable thumb drive. There's a variety of online diary and journal programs, as well as contact management software. Those things are helpful, and I use all of them to a certain degree. But, for me, they haven't been able to replace my traditional personal planner, that binder full of paper.