Click here to learn more and get your free ticket or all access pass to attend the Simplify Your Summer Online Summit

Week #16 Organized Home Challenge
Create Simple Address Book And Organize Contact Information

In this week's challenge you'll create a simple address book and organize the contact information you've collected for friends, family, businesses and emergencies so it is available when you need it.

Contact information organization challenge, to organize addresses, phone numbers, directories, and emergency information for easy and quick reference {part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Part of living an organized life includes not having to search for basic information over and over again.

We want and need to be able to contact friends and family quickly, when we want to talk or write to them, without having to search high and low for their latest contact information.

In addition, places you don't call frequently, but you need periodically, such as the appliance or car repair shop, or your favorite hairdresser, should be readily found instead of trying to search your brain for the name of their shop to look it up in the phone book.

Are you new here? The Create a Simple Address Book and Organize Contact Information Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).

Finally, in real emergencies you want to have phone numbers or other vital information at your fingertips, so you can act quickly.

This week's challenge is all about setting up systems for collecting this information, and gathering some of it in easy to reach places that we can access quickly and easily on a regular basis to make our lives easier.

That means that this challenge is really a list of discrete steps to take to get all these systems in place, and your contact information in the right places in and around your home.

Step 1: Decide How To Store Your Contact Information: Paper, Electronic Or A Hybrid Method

Organize Contact Information Challenge {part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge on Home Storage Soultions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Before you begin in earnest the additional steps in this Challenge you've got to decide how you're going to organize and store all these bits of information you'll be gathering up.

The three main choices include electronic, such as on a PDA or smart phone, or computer, on paper, or a hybrid method where you save some information one way, and some the other.

My personal preference is the hybrid method. As long as you've got a system in place to back up your electronic information it is much easier to maintain and keep the majority of your contact information organized electronically, since we have to change and update it frequently as people move, change email addresses, etc.

You can often also easily transfer electronically stored contact information from one device to another, making it much simpler than manually entering everything over and over again. Further, if you want to send out mass mailings, such as Christmas or holiday cards you can print labels easily with the electronic method.

However, I do think having some contact information on paper, including a simple address book of paper, can be important. For instance, have you ever relied upon your phone to know the number for someone, and then the battery died and you had no way to access it? Has your computer crashed, or the electricity gone out, and you needed to contact someone in an emergency?

Your contact information is there to make your life easier, and it can't do that if something goes wrong with your electronic storage system. That's why I like having some vital and important contact information stored in both ways. I like to call it the belt and suspenders approach.

Step 2: Create A Simple Address Book With Basic Contact Information

free printable address book pageClick for printable

The next step in the Challenge is to create your system for collecting and organizing the contact information you receive on a constant basis as you live your life.

Like I said, this main system can be either electronic or paper based, and which you choose is completely up to you. If you choose to use a paper based system entirely, or only for certain important contact information, you can use the free printable address book pages that I have created for you, to fill out your information if you wish.

The important thing to do this week is set the system you choose up. That could be setting up the computer program, or making your simple address book. If you've got some numbers and other contact information ready to input, go ahead and do that too.

Please know, however, that adding, subtracting, and amending information in this system will be an ongoing task from now on. The key is to have your contact information system handy at most times to be able to add the information as you receive it. Don't think, I'll add this later. If it will take two or less minutes, stop and do it right then. (That's a tip from the book, Getting Things Done, by David Allen that I've really found helpful in many areas of my life.)

Step 3: Create A Quick Glance Paper List For Important Contact Information For Your Purse And Household Notebook

free printable important contact list templateClick for printable

Building on Step 2 of the Challenge, in step 3 you're going to choose some of the most important numbers and information you've collected to add to a single piece of paper which you'll put in your purse or other bag you carry around, and another in a household notebook or other place you can access quickly somewhere in your home.

The purpose of this step is to be able to have important information at your fingertips no matter whether you can access your electronic contact information system or not.

You should include whatever types of contact information are most important to you, but most likely including your spouse and kids' numbers, along with frequently called numbers for your work, other family, and friends. You may have other contact information types of categories to add to this too, depending on your life circumstances.

I've created a free important contact list template you can use for this step.

free printable emergency contact listClick for printable

Step 4: Create An Emergency Contact List For Reference In Central Location In Your Home

Similarly, you should have a list of emergency contact numbers in your home for quick and easy reference if the need should arise.

This includes phone numbers for poison control, emergency services, fire, police, medical and dental, veterinarian, neighbors and emergency contacts.

Place this list in a central location of the house where everyone in your home, including babysitters, know where it is, and can access it quickly if needed.

I've created a free printable emergency contact list form here that you can use for this purpose.

In addition, you should also include "ICE" (which stands for "In Case of Emergency") information on your smart phone, or in your wallet. Here's my article about how to add an ICE app to your phone which allows first responders or others to access the ICE information, even if the phone is locked and you're unable to provide the passcode.

Step 5: Create Wallet Inventory In Case Your Purse Or Wallet Gets Lost Or Stolen

what you should do before your purse or wallet is lost or stolen

Just as you should keep certain information in your purse or wallet to reference in case of an emergency, you should prepare now in case your purse or wallet is ever lost or stolen.

In such situations you need to know who to contact to cancel credit or debit cards, and what the vital information on your identification cards, such as your drivers license said when you can no longer reference them.

To do this I suggest making a wallet inventory. I've written an article on how to make one, and why you would want to, in more detail.

Step 6: Create A Business Contacts List Or Organized Collection Of Business Cards For Frequently Used Service Providers

Finally, the last step in this week's Challenge is to create a business contacts list so you can easily find the contact information for service providers you use, when you need them.

You can use your main simple address book system that you created in step 2 of the challenge for this, if you wish.

I have found, however, that I may save the name of the roofing company, under the alphabetical name of the company, but two years later when I need to know what company I used for this service before I have no idea what the name of the business is, and I search around trying to remember it and jog my memory. This is the exact type of situation in which a business contacts list comes in handy.

business card organizer binder pagesBusiness card organizer binder pages
Click here to purchase on

This list is a much shorter list than your main address book, only listing service providers or other businesses you use frequently, or infrequently, such as appliance repair people, utilities, auto repair companies, the plumber or HVAC service providers you only use every couple of years, etc. They are all listed on this sheet so you can easily find the contact information you're looking for when you need it.

Even if you think you'll remember all this stuff I guarantee you a couple of years later you won't. Plus, it isn't just to help you, but consider that others may need this information if you're not around and it will help them also know who to contact easily.

If you don't want to keep a running list of this information you can also save business cards that these service providers give to you. Use a small photo album or a business card organizer (such as the one shown on the left), and throw the business cards in it as you receive them, so they're always available for reference when you need them.

Here's my article on how to organize business cards for exactly this type of situation with more suggestions.

Listen To Taylor's Video Tips For This Week's Organized Home Challenge & Declutter 365 Missions

Do you want more in-depth tips and instructions for how to do this week's missions and challenge all about organizing contact information, as well as an introduction to decluttering and organzing paper? If so, I've got recorded video tips from me, Taylor, from the video archives in the Declutter 365 Premium group, all about this week's challenge and missions.

These video tips are available on demand in the archives, once you're a member of the group.

In Week #16's video I discussed the following topics, among others:

  • Paper organization - 2 pronged attack in the Declutter 365 missions
  • Tips for decluttering paper
  • Tips for organizing contact information
  • Declutter 365 missions for week
Declutter 365 Premium video archive available on demand all about organizing contact information, plus an introduction to decluttering and organizing paper, on Home Storage Solutions 101use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

I suggest watching the video archive for the week, perhaps while you're doing some decluttering or cleaning around your home, before starting the week's missions and Challenge, and then you'll be able to breeze through this week's worth of decluttering missions, as well as organize what's necessary for the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, based on the advice and instructions within those videos.

It really is like having me, Taylor, available, 24-7, as your decluttering and organizing coach, for every area of your home!

Plus, once you're a member of Declutter 365 Premium you get access to not only this video, but all the videos for the 52 weeks of the year, for 5 years (that's over 260 videos available in the archives!)

Learn more about the Declutter 365 Premium Group

Get This Paper & Filing Decluttering Checklist + 32 Other Decluttering Checklists For Your Home

Right now you're decluttering your papers and files, and there's a lot of types and varieties of these around your home.

Get your 2 page paper and filing decluttering checklist, plus 32 other decluttering checklists, to help you declutter your entire home here.

Get this paper and filing decluttering checklist and 32 other decluttering checklists for your home {on Home Storage Solutions 101}

I've done the hard work of breaking down these tasks into smaller more manageable steps for you, so you don't get overwhelmed or worry you're forgetting a task, and you can go at the pace you want, whether that's fast or slow.

In addition, you can tackle these decluttering tasks in whatever order you want when you use these checklists!

Click here to learn more about 33 Decluttering Checklists Pack

Tell Me How The Create A Simple Address Book And Organize Contact Information Challenge Is Going For You

getting rid of home office and technology clutter hall of fame

I would love to know how this week's Create a Simple Address Book and Organize Contact Information Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized this information in the comments.

I also love before and after pictures of your contact information organizing system, and would love to see some of yours. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!

Here's the hall of fame for this challenge, showing both paper and digital ways that readers who've already taken on this challenge organize their contacts:

create a home mail organizer center challenge

Sneak Peek For Next Week's Challenge

We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the Organize Contact Information Challenge this week. However, I want you to know that this is just the beginning of organizing paper and information, which we'll be tackling for the next several weeks.

In fact, next week we'll be working on a significant chunk of the paper that comes into our house each day when we tackle organization of the mail, when we create a home mail organizer center.

Make Sure You Make The Most Of These 52 Organizing Challenges

Get your copy of the printable one page 52 Week Organized Home Challenge schedule for the year here, so you can see all the challenges we're working on.

Get your schedule for this year's 52 Week Organized Home Challenge

Further, if you'd like to join a community of others who are all commmitted to these organizing challenges and corresponding decluttering missions, and want more interaction with me, Taylor, video archives of Taylor providing more tips for each of these challenges and missions, as well as live monthly group coaching sessions focusing on the skills and habits necessary to maintain your home from now on, I'd urge you to join the private and exclusive Declutter 365 Premium Facebook group (you can learn more about it at the link).

Declutter 365 missions premium

In addition, have you gotten your Declutter 365 Products yet, to make sure you can get even more assistance with decluttering and organizing your home this year? There are both free products (like the Declutter 365 calendar, a $20 value), as well as add-ons, such as daily text messages, planner stickers, and a Premium Facebook group, as well as a pack of printabe decluttering checklists.

Declutter 365 products to help you declutter your home over the course of this year

Contact information organization challenge, to organize addresses, phone numbers, directories, and emergency information for easy and quick reference {part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge on Home Storage Solutions 101} #OrganizedHome #PaperOrganization #ContactInformationuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.

Click here to learn more about and get your free ticket or all access pass to the Simplify Your Summer Online Summit, where Taylor and 29 other experts are speaking

Get Decluttering & Organizing Tips Newsletter


Join the Home Storage Solutions 101 newsletter, and get as your free gift the 2024 Declutter 365 Calendar (a $20 value) from me, Taylor, your decluttering and organizing guide.

When you work through the Declutter 365 missions, and accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenges, you'll be able to declutter your home one mission at a time, organize what's left, and learn the skills, habits and routines to maintain your space from now on.

* indicates required

Share Your Comments, Tips & Ideas

I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!

Let's Stay Connected!

be a fan of Home Storage Solutions 101 on Facebook Follow Taylor on Pinterest follow Taylor on Instagram

Subscribe To Decluttering & Organizing Newsletter

Subscribe to the decluttering and organizing newsletter

Join Declutter 365 Public Facebook Group (500,000+ Members)

Click to join the Declutter 365 Facebook group

Get Daily Texts

Get Planner Stickers

Coaching From Taylor

Decluttering Checklists Pack

Get Help With Meal Planning

Get Organized HQ