Get free printables for this amazing menu planner! It is unlike any menu planner you have ever seen, including an idea section so you never have to guess what to make for dinner again.

Menu planner with post-it sticky notes

Menu Planning & The Last Minute Cook

How? How is it that the entire day went by and I STILL don’t know what to make for dinner? I find myself entering dangerously close to the “whine” line, where the kids pave the way for the dinner hour with complaints of hunger that grow increasingly more pathetic. Just as I enter that last half hour,  the kids are rolling on the floor dramatically holding their little tummies, I frantically grab at the first box of what-ever-that-was to “whip up” something. Forty minutes later I am sighing with relief, as the kids and hubby wolf down their admittedly mediocre food, and I am safe for yet another day…until breakfast when I will do this dance all over again!

Nope, I don’t want to do this forever…That’s how I eventually came up with the perfect solution! I created an easily reusable Menu Planner, one that includes a much needed idea section.

Menu Planner with sticky notes

How This Menu Planner Works

The menu planner is divided into two parts: the Weekly Planner, which I reference to see what I’m making each day of the week; and the Menu Ideas section, which is where I pick from to populate my weekly meal plan.

First take the time to populate the Menu Ideas section. Go crazy, write on post-it page markers all the dishes you’ve ever wanted to make… the dishes that make you look like a superstar, and the trusty dishes you cook weekly. I went on Pinterest for inspiration and went wild!

Next glean dishes from your Menu Idea section to populate your Weekly Menu. This is also the time to make your shopping list based on the dishes you’ll be cooking for the week. But if you really want to save money, choose your dishes based on the sale fliers for the week.

 Menu Planner and idea section that uses sticky notes and markers

A Saving Solution – The Perks

Yep, I can’t decide if the worst part of cooking is the clean-up or the 2 hours before when you’re racking your brain for ideas on what to cook. Well, no more sir! I’m not sure how to elude the monstrosity that is my kitchen after cooking (I’m a ridiculously messy cook), but I refuse to settle for menu mediocrity. So menu planning strategy it is! I have been employing this menu planner for a few months now and it has been my saving grace! We are eating healthier meals, it takes less time to prepare meals, I am saving gads of money, and we have culturally diversified our meals more than ever! It’s a win-win-win-win!
Here are just a few menu planning tips you should employ to gain all of these benefits:

TO SAVE MONEY:

Pick one day to in advance to plan your meals. Create your menu and shopping list at the same time by browsing the sales ad’s as well as your cupboard.

TO SAVE TIME:

A menu plan gives you the opportunity to prepare entire meals or parts of a meal in advance, use a crock pot whenever you can. Do double duty by choosing meals that have a common ingredient and prepare (pre-cut, pre-soak, pre-wash, pre-cook, etc.) that ingredient all at one time for both dishes

TO SAVE YOUR HEALTH:

Keep the food pyramid in mind when menu planning, and include more fresh fruits and vegetables. If you don’t have the proper variety of colored post-its, you’re probably not eating a well balanced meal. If you need to, prepare your vegetables, and salads the week in advance…you’ll be more motivated to eat what has already been prepared.

TO DIVERSIFY:

Try a new dish and a new seasoning every couple weeks. Glean inspiration from Pinterest Pins, or go online to a recipe directory for new dishes. Diversity of dishes, can also help with your health goals!

Sticky Post Menu Planner - free printables

Gain Immediate Access to Your Menu Planner, PLUS MORE!

This menu planner printable is now available on our ‘free printables page‘, accessible only to our newsletter subscribers. Subscribers are granted exclusive access to all our free printables in one place (including chore charts, free art prints, and more!), AND gain special offers and tips, and more.

Just sign up here, and check your email for access!

Shop Supply ListAdditional Items you might need:

Let me know how you customized your menu planner! Share it to my Facebook page (or to Instagram), tag me at Home Made by Carmona and add #HMCmaker. I hope you find it as helpful as I have!

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249 Comments on The Ultimate Menu Planner

  1. It is only letting me see breakfast for editing not dinner or lunch? do I have to change it all myself or are there other links to those?

    thanks!

  2. Not sure if this is because I am on my mobile but there is no link to download the printables, help please I’ve been wanting to add this to my kitchen binder.

  3. I have wanted to meal plan for some time now, and I finally have some time. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. I am a first time meal planner, and I searched through many options, and i love the way this is set up! I am printing everything off, and can’t wait to get started! 🙂

  5. This is such a helpful and pretty idea! Unfortunately, I can’t get the word docx to work. It downloads as a blank doc each time. I’ve also tried emailing as an attachment to myself and that doesn’t work either. Thanks so much for any assistance you can provide. 🙂

    • I can’t get it to download either. The first page downloads okay but the second is blank as well. I wanted to edit because there is no meat section but can’t figure it out.

      • Same here. I was able to download the Sheet in Word Document Format but the second page is empty. Seems like the content of the second page went altogether with the first page.

      • I was able to download by opening up the file tab. Going down to downloads and downloading as a Microsoft Word doc. Hope this helps.

  6. I really like this planning idea! I have my binder put together and I am working on plugging in all my meal ideas. It is so much better than lugging out all my recipe books to look through to plan my menus! I didn’t laminate my sheets, I used the plastic sheet protectors and they are working great! Thank you so much for the idea!

  7. Help. I need to use the word documents for the menu planner and they aren’t working. I get an error message that says “document does not exist.” Please fix this issue so I can use this great menu planning idea.

  8. I’m a little late to this party, but I am so excited to try this. I just ordered the post-its from Amazon, and I will get those done on Wednesday. I also printed all of the (free) printables! Thanks so much for that. I’ll try and let you know how this works for our little family of two.

  9. Hi Ursula,

    I just found this idea and used my Xyron 2 sided lamination, bought Post-It sticky notes and they will not stick to this laminate! After all the printing and lamination supplies, I am discouraged that they won’t stick on there. Any ideas as to why since yours works perfectly?

    Please help! Want to use your wonderful idea.
    Thanks, Kelly

    • Hi Kelly,
      I’m so sorry to hear that. Wow, Xyron double sided must be some serious lamination…I’ve never EVER heard of anyone having this issue before. I’m assuming it is so slick that the sticky notes just won’t adhere? Just in case, try another set of post-its (to make sure it isn’t a defective batch), and if that isn’t it, I would suggest going with Scotch laminating sheets. They are inexpensive, and they work great!
      Good luck!

      • Thanks a bunch! I see you have moved to North Carolina from Ohio. We did that too. From near Cleveland to Charlotte. We were in chlt for 23 years and we’re moved to Cali now. Enjoy the beautiful green trees for me!
        Kelly

  10. I can’t seem to get the Word documents to download. I finally got it to come up, but then it won’t download and sends me to an empty page?? Any tips for me? I LOVE your idea!!!!!!!!!! I do the Trim Healthy Mama eating and want to tweet some of the categories for that.

  11. Wondering your system for organizing the recipes for your tabs – Great idea – can’t wait to put this together

  12. What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute &amp help other users like its helped me. Good job. kedgedcadbcd

  13. Ursala,
    who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks? I’m 69 and love the idea of the menu planner. I’m already putting mine together. I’m making a page called In the Freezer! I can put tabs for all those things that I tend to forget I bought. I am circling the sales receipt as I put them up and then take the receipt to transfer to post-its. Love it and love you too!
    Jane, Old Dog

  14. Ursula. I love this idea!!! I am a certified personal trainer and health coach and meal planning is the area that my clients struggle with the most.

    I offer them meal plans, but they are either filled in already, or blank. I have given them links to apps as well, but I love this binder dry erase idea.

    I offer group weight loss/fitness programs. Would you mind if I added this link for my participants?

    • Thank you Cheryl! So far this is the one thing that has helped me regularly make healthy meals (and be cognizant of a healthy variety) for my family, so I’m glad to hear that from you! 🙂 Oh yes, please feel free to share…and thank you for sharing!

  15. I just wanted to say that when you try to print the planner without downloading it in word the format doesn’t work and comes out all funny

  16. Hi Ursula.

    First of, this planner of yours is giving me so much inspiration. I absolutely love it! Now I’m trying to adjust a few things to make it fit more to my scheduling and I’m having a little problem with adjusting the meal planner sections. When I download the word document the words are no longer sideways. Instead the letters just accumulate below eachother. Is there any way, that you know of, that I can fix this? Because I would love to use this meal planner and personalise it a little further.

    Thank you in advance.

  17. Sorry for the second comment but I couldn’t find my other one – could there be one for sides? I’m so excited to use this

  18. Hello! Love love love this meal planner idea.
    Just wondering could you make a “snack ideas” one? I love it but I like to write down what snacks work well for my daughter. If it’s too much work you can forget it but if you do make one I’d love to have it!!

    • Hi!
      Thank you! Great idea for snacks ideas and for sides! I have included both PDF types, but also a downloadable word document for each. That way you can customize every little detail to suit you and your family! I hope that helps. Just so you know, when you open up the Google word document, things might appear a little scrambled at first (it has to do with what version you have), but just hit the download button, and then change fonts or sizes, or input anything you like! 🙂

  19. Your video was great. I really liked this idea. I started printing out your pages and I noticed that you are a vegetarian. As much as I like this idea, my family and I do eat meat. keep up the good work. But, this is not for me. I’ll keep looking.

    • Thank you! Yes we are vegetarian, so I do include a Word document for those who would like to edit it and customize it to their family and diet.
      Best of luck, and thanks so much for following along! <3

  20. This has got to be the BEST idea EVER! Thank you so much! Did this today and meal planned for the week in 5 minutes! 5 minutes!!!!! That’s insane!

      • Hi, Ursula, just came across your blog. What an excellent idea! I will also be looking forward for your recipes, me and my husband are vegetarians as well. I will surely print your planner and probably I will just add a recipes section and separate it into: breakfast, lunch, dinner or by the main ingredient, because sometimes you have like a lot of potatoes, which you bought on sale;) and you have hard time trying to think of some recipe… Not to type recipes (to make it digital), I can just write them on stickers and whenever I cook, stick it to the wall or some other place and then return them back to the correct section.

  21. I seriously love this idea! I was searching the web looking for a way to organize our vegetarian lifestyle. Thank you so much for making this readily available.

    • Thank you! I’m so glad you like it! Haha, I joke that it was precisely designed for a vegetarian lifestyle…since I made it for my family (we are vegetarian and our kids vegan), and adding a meat category didn’t even dawn on me until someone asked why I didn’t include one. Woops. 😀

  22. I am so excited to try your system! I will be coping, laminating today and working on the rest tonight. I even have gotten a friend excited about giving it a try. I love the sticky notes idea. Other plans haven’t been much of a success for me and I think it is they look boring. This just looks fun which means I will tend to use it. Thank you for making this available!

    • I’m so glad! I hope this one keeps you excited and motivated! 😀 I’m the exact same way, if it isn’t easy to use after putting it together and fun to look at, I don’t keep up. lol! Thanks for reading!

  23. Thank you! This is the first meal planner that has actually made sense! I am so happy to have found this and your youtube video is so helpful. While I am adapting it to a digital format with excel I love this!!!

  24. This came at the perfect time for me! My husband was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and we are learning how to adjust his diet. I’m going to set this up with his healthy eating plan in mind…it should really simplify meal plans! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  25. I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for creating these meal planning sheets. I’ve been meaning to give it a try so I appreciate all the help possible. Thank you!

  26. I really like this and want to start using this! With having your meal plan ideas in the book – great idea, but how do you know what ingredients are needed when it comes time to write the grocery list – do you look every recipe up then to find out what is on sale or do you have ingredients listed with the meal item? Thanks!

    • Great question! I don’t tend to use recipes very often…but I will think about what a good solution is for that…maybe an inventory sheet? Hm. If you have great ideas, I’d love to hear!

      • I was thinking of having a 3ed part where I had recipes. So when I decided what we where having, I just had to flip back to see what it all needed.

          • One of the ideas I’m working on right now involves printing recipes to fit on a large index card, then put the cards in a binder just like your own homemade cookbook (with dividers for breakfast/Chinese/Pork, whatever works for you). Once you have decided on your meal plan, you move those recipes to photo album slots in the front of the folder so you can see at a glance what ingredients you need and won’t have to search every night thru the whole book to find the recipe you want. At the end of the week, return the cards to their rightful place and start over.

  27. I’ve seen this pin dozens of times. I’m always curious to know what your beautiful binder of teeny Post-It’s looks like after using it for 3 years.

      • 3 years later and it still works like a charm every week! 🙂 As a matter of fact, I never ever replaced the post-it markers in all that time. I guess that is a nod to how well the company designed them. 😀 As long as they are between two laminated sheets, they stay on with no problem. Good luck!

  28. Hi,

    Thank you so much for this menu planner.
    I’ve been searching the right solution for a long time. And I think I find it !

    I think your blog will inspire me and I find it clear and beautiful. It makes you want to read it.

    And your video is clear as your blog.

    See you soon

    (Sorry for my English but I’m French)

  29. You are a genius!! Menu planning is the bane of my existence. Thank you for your help, I can’t wait to start this (and I get to use my laminator!)

  30. Hi

    I think that this is wonderful and am in the process of setting this up. I am having a problem with the weekly menu plan sheet, it is printing so much smaller than the other sheets. The boxes are almost half the size and the sticky notes are not fitting. I have tried printing and downloading them over and over and wondering if it is user error or if the somehow got copied in a reduced fashion. It is not how it looks on your video. Help! 🙂

  31. I am looking forward to trying this. I love organizing, but for some reason just could not wrap my head around menu planning. Thank you for sharing!

  32. I did monthly menu planning while raising my kids. At the time, I knew of no one else that did this…and when I began, there was no internet yet!! When my youngest went off to college in 2003 & I got away from it. I’m now starting it up again. Even though I’m retired, I just want to eat a little healthier ( and not eat out as much!!).
    Thanks for the motivation!!

  33. Hi!

    I am just beginning my journey into home management. I have not really planned meals but starting this planner today. I have 4 children (2 teen boys) and I am starting to do so many different things to help cut our expenses that family won’t know what hit them. lol! love this journey and I know it will be hard to stick to a budget as I have never done it before but I have to now. this summer marks a new start. thank you for sharing this.

  34. Ursula, this is brilliant! I’ve been cooking for 35+ years, and struggling for much of that time with various methods for organizing menus. Your plan is simple and elegant, and looks perfect for the way think about meals. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  35. This is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It will make my life 10x easier!

  36. Thanks for the printings 😀 Remember that plastic holders also works for this. I got lamination machine but the plastic pockets worked fine for me.

  37. I have a feeling that my mum would absolutely LOVE this! -I know I do! The colours, the neatness, the organisation…the everything, it’s beautiful!! Can’t wait to use this! Thank you so much!! 😀

  38. what a magnificent well planned meal planner guide; I need to get ‘cracking’ on this project and what a complete tutorial, thanks so much Ginger

  39. I printed out everything but the Weekly Menu Plan has way smaller blocks compared to the other sheets. Did I do something wrong? Thanks.

    P.S. – Love this!

    • Glad you like it! The Weekly Menu Plan is actually formatted for printing on legal size paper rather than letter… and while it can still be printed on letter, occasionally it get’s messed up on different peoples version of Word… be sure that you check to see what print layout you have it set at, you may have to change that and see if it prints out at the proper size. Hope that helps!

  40. Thank you so much- this is by far the most helpful meal planner advice I have seen! I just moved in with my BF and I am attempting to do this!! :)…Is there any way you’d be willing to share some of your menu ideas for dinner? I love your categories but I’d really to see how you categorize different dishes (for exmaple, where do you put a cream of mushroom chicken?! and how is a grain dish not a side?) THANK YOU and PLEASE keep posting!

    • Aw, thank you! I’m glad I could help! Well, our meals are a little unique since we vegetarian, plus we are a very multi-cultural family, so our meals are pretty worldwide. So for example, grains (rice, quinoa, millet, oats, polenta, etc.) are a main staple in our Asian background…often combined with sauteed vegetables, a homemade cream-of-something topping, with soups, etc, etc.

  41. First of all this looks like a great idea and I’m seriously considering doing it. Also another idea for those who don’t have money to buy a laminator or self laminating sheets you could use sheet protectors instead. I will be using that because that is what I have on hand. I’m not sure if someone gave you that suggestion already. There were too many comments too go through them all lol. I currently want to make better eating choices for myself and my family and I’m sure this meal planner system would be a tremendous help in achieving that.

    • Thank you! Unfortunately sheet protectors don’t work too well…I believe it is the stiffness and lamination of the sheet that makes it more like a dry erase board and allows the sticky notes to adhere well without rubbing each other off. Self laminating sheets are the second best option. Thanks so much for your kind comment!!

  42. I watched your video here last night and my pc crashed today and I forgot where I saw it. It took me an hour of non-stop googling and pinteresting to actually search the right thing to find it. Totally pinned so that never happens again. I went and bought a laminator today and sticky notes!!! I am starting to get my household to run better (2015 resolution/mission). Thanks for the great idea/layout… totally in love and LOVED the video!

  43. I stumbled upon this about a month ago and since that time I’ve been trying to get my recipes organized and on the little post it notes to begin using it. I’m getting closer. It has taken me awhile. I love trying new things and so I’m needing to weed out recipes as I go a long. But I have a question about your printables. All of the printables except the “weekly plan page” printed in the correct large format. Each time I go to print that weekly plan page it shrinks it to a smaller scale and then the post-its do not want to fit. I tried both the Doc and PDF and both did the same time. Is there anything that I can do about that?

  44. I’m 43 and I never did a meal planning of my life. I’m tired of asking myself what will I cook. On YouTube, I’ve watched your meal planning video. I want to give it a try. Don’t know if I will keep it on but one thing is sure: if I don’t try, nothing will change. Thanks for your video.

  45. This is just brilliant!! I just started a new diet plan and this is going to help me keep all the different types of meals organized and make my planning much easier. I was using an online planner but I’m a paper and pen kind of girl. Thank you for creating this!

    • Haha, I too am a paper and pen gal…I tried the online method, but kept forgetting to use it. lol! I’m glad you like it, thanks for stopping by! 😉

  46. Love love love this! I am so excited to have stumbled upon this on Pinterest. I can’t wait to explore more of your blog!

  47. What a wonderful and great idea! I love all your tips & suggestions….such an “easy” thing to do …thanks for sharing….I found your link via BuzzFeed…..

  48. Hello Mrs.Carmona! I am just right now populating my Dinner ideas, but the right side of my stickies are “bending up” and getting blended when I try to close my binder, What do you suggest doing?

    • As long as the pages are all laminated that shouldn’t really happen. If the pages are laminated, then I’m guessing that when you are pulling off a sticky note it is curling as you pull it off. I pull it off from the stuck end so that it doesn’t curl…and if it does, just straighten it out a bit before sticking it on.
      Thanks for reading!

  49. I just love your menu planner! It’s just what I have been searching for 😉 We are a family of 7 so planning is essential!
    Could you please tell me how you color code your planner, in detail? Like pasta, pink. Potatoes, blue. Etc.

    Please please!

    • Thanks Jill, sure I’d be happy to share…although, it is pretty arbitrary! lol! Grains-orange, breads-yellows, Pasta & topping-pinks, Potato-purple, veggie/legume-greens, and sides-blue.

  50. Great idea! I too love post-it notes for organising stuff. In fact I just did a post recently showing how I use them to keep things running in the Squirrel house. I never thought to use them for meal planning, though! I might have to make up one of your lovely printables for the kitchen wall so the rest of the house stops bugging me about what’s for dinner. 😉

  51. I LOVE this! One question though: where do you store your recipes. It seems like an additional step to just write down the name of the dish I want to make and then have to go remember where I have the recipe (pinterest, bookmarked, recipe box, etc). How do you handle this? Perhaps, first, I need a post on organizing my recipes! 🙂

    • Thank you!
      Interestingly I haven’t needed to organize recipes because I don’t use them…I cook in the old Spanish style “toss a pinch of this and a palmful of that”… lol! But now that my kids are just old enough to cook some dishes I actually need to write recipes out and store them. One of these days I will figure out a recipe organizing system and post. 😉 Until then, all recommendations are welcome! 🙂

      • I am printing out all the recipes I use and putting them in page protectors and into the binder behind the organizer. This way I can pull them out to use them and they won’t get dirty, they are all together with the organizer and I can pull them out whenever I want to make revisions (such as healthier alternatives, or new things I’ve thrown in that we liked). I will probably divide them into beef, pork, chicken etc, like I have with my post-its.

        • Chris, I was going to say the same thing. I have a huge collection of recipes and I use binders for most of them. Ursula’s menu planning has given me ideas for organizing these binders a little better. It will be a huge task as I currently have 7 binders, but winter is coming so I will time. I am a stay at home grandma and help my single son care for his young boys. I will put nap time to good use! 🙂

      • I use cozi’s free site. It has a recipe box – if you’re browsing the web and find a recipe you want to put in the recipe box, you simply click a button on the tool bar and it gets added to your recipe box. You can tag it with any category you would want to search by. It also has a calendar which can be shared by the family and for those with kids, their school activity calendars can be imported. They also have a paid version with additional features.

      • This is how I have/am going about creating a file of family recipes. When I am cooking something with no recipe, I have whichever child is the “sous-chef” that day take note…essentially they are jotting the notes for the recipe. Then, it only takes me a few minutes to type into the computer with any notes. Many times we will even snap a photo of the final work (esp with baked goods)and add to the page. When they are on their own, we can print them should they choose a more traditional recipe binder or use a jump drive to transfer to their own computers. I learned to cook the hard way (no recipes) as no one passed them down, except for a couple of “word of mouths.” As the older generations leave us, a lot of the heritage leaves too…esp the food heritage. Anyway, thought I’d share. I have been using menu planners for a bit and saw your last night and thought I’d try your method 🙂 Thanks for sharing

        • I LOVE this! Yep, you definitely rock parenting! 😉 I’d looove for you to share a pic of your cookbook with us. If you ever take a pic of it, do share to Instagram, or upload it to my Facebook page, tag me and add #HMCmaker so I can show off how awesome Home Made by Carmona readers are. 😀

          • Thank you! I will send you one on FB. As for parenting, I hope my kids will agree with you! I’ve been on this parenting road almost 26 years 🙂 and love it! Thanks again

    • Hi Jen! I wrote the source of which I got the recipe on the BACK of my stickies, and that has been working pretty well. Example: All Recipe, download on iphone, cookbook, etc.

    • I keep all of my recipes in an organized (tab divided) recipe book. No matter where the recipe came from, I re-write it on a recipe card with my tweaks and the original source. Then I place it into my recipe book which is a recipe binder from Hallmark. When I have new recipes I use Evernote (program) to keep them organized with keyword tags. Once I have tried them, I re-write them.

  52. Hello,

    Love love love this!!! I want to make one for my family but had a questions. I noticed in your video that you had other dividers/sections, one said “To Do”. Do you mind me asking what the others say? Just want some ideas for the one I plan on making to help us be more organized. Thanks so much in advance.

  53. Don’t know if you are still watching this post for comments… But do the sticky notes hold their stick well enough?? I would hate to do all the work only to have them fall off all the time.

    • Thanks for asking! Because the post its are stuck on laminated sheets, they stick perfectly! As long as they are sandwiched between the laminated sheets, you’ll never need to replace them either…it has been 2+ years of continuous use, and I’m still using the same post-its I started with. 😉 Thanks for reading!

      • I think that most “Sticky Note” issues that people seem to have is whether it is name brand, or off brand. It seems to be the issue that I am having so far with this. Also, plastic sleeves versus the actual laminating. Laminating worked so much better. I went with the cheaper so see if it would work for me, and when I realized it did, I spent the money to make it more solid of a binder.

    • I personally color code by food base. So pasta based foods might be all pink stickies, potato based meals might be all purple… etc. Thanks for reading!

      • I love this idea! I have tried something similar but not as organized as this. I am also always trying to perfect the ideas out there, but with this concept I have no desire to do that, just wanna jump right in! I am working on getting this together and was curious about your organization with the stickies. I see that you have two colors for some categories (pink and light pink or purple and light purple). How do you implement those into your weekly plan? Is it a mix and match concept? But that doesn’t seem to follow through with your ‘vegetable and legume’ category. I understand how this works, but I would like to know more about your personal usage for the stickies that you labeled. If you don’t mind of course 🙂

        • Thank you! That is such a high compliment, I appreciate you saying so!
          I’m happy to share! I simply broke things down even more using color. So say under my “potato” base category I put in dark purple as a main dishes made with potato, but I use light purple as potato side dishes or potato based toppings that go with another type of dish. It simply helps sort it out even more. 😉 Good luck!

  54. The sticky notes are brilliant. It never occurred to me to use stickies – just scribbling out and arrows. I can’t wait to get this all set up. Thank you.

  55. This is an amazing weekly menu planner!! It’s so funny how the simplicity of post-its and dry-erase inside a binder can make SUCH a difference!! What else do you keep in your Home Management Binder and have you thought about making a tutorial about the other things in there?! In the video I saw the front of the binder and LOVE the look of it. Do you have that on here somewhere??

  56. My breakfasts and lunch usually take care of themselves so I changed the weekly menu plan sheet to say Main, Side and Vegetable as that is my goal for planning. Thanks for the template!!

  57. This is a great idea! I’m finally getting more organized at age 42 and with my kids almost out of the house. I’m definitely doing this! Your blog is great! Thanks!

  58. I love this idea and thank you for the print outs. I was just wondering if you use the same recipes / meals over and over again. If it would be worthwhile making little laminated post-its for those recipes and attaching them by Velcro? Surely that would save you time and money.

    • My pleasure! Yes I use the same meals over again. I use the same meal post-its over and over again… in over a year of use I have never had to replace any post-its, they haven’t lost their stickiness. 🙂 Once you put it in your menu planner, you just move it around.

  59. Hi Ursula, I keep finding myself coming back here again and again (as I love seeing new ideas on getting meal planning done!) Your system is just so fluid! I’m pinning to my meal planning board so it keeps encouraging me. 🙂

  60. I would love to see you put your link or “homemadebycarmona” on the bottom of your sheets. This makes it easy for me to find you again and also recommend you to friends. I can’t always remember where I get information unless there is a link on my printable. I have to many saved tabs to just add another one would be kaos.
    Thanks for considering this and I can’t wait to try to get organized with your menu planning sheets. Maybe sometime you can figure out a way to organize recipes. I am already thinking that I could color code my recipe cards to fit with your color coded menu planning sheets.

  61. Hey Ursula, I was searching Google for a monthly meal planner and happened to like the picture of yours the most. All I can say is WOW! Not only did I find the perfect meal planning method (I feel like I’m a lot like you describe yourself 😉 ), but I LOVE all your organizational ways! Thank you so so much for sharing what works for you and allowing us all to give them a go as well. I for one really appreciate it. I cannot wait to see more project and such as you go along.

    • Oh wow, that is fantasic Samatha!
      Thank you so much for the shoutout! I love how you bound it, and that you used your label maker to create such neat and tidy post-its. My handwriting is awful, I may have to do that! 😉

  62. What an amazing and colourful idea. I’m so glad that I’ve found you … like Jenny said, you’re my new hero! Your system is super simple to use, and the colour coding is so much easier with post-it notes than having to write everything down on paper and then use a highlighter (my old system). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  63. You are my new hero! I found this post when I was searching on Pinterest for “home management binder”. This is such a fantastic idea, and the video was really helpful in explaining it. You were made to be on camera – you’re very at ease with yourself! I’m subscribing/liking to whatever you have and really enjoying your website.

  64. I love this idea! I already do a weekly to monthly meal planner in excel, however I make a lot of changes so I have lot s of cross outs by the end of the month. It also takes time to retype many of the same meals that I use over and over. This is so great! I plan on making mine tomorrow. I will let you know how it turns out.

  65. Hello! Thanks so much for this great idea! I, too, am having problems with the sticky notes overlapping on the Ideas sheets—but the worst problem I am having is the Weekly Menu Plan prints out so small I cannot use the post it notes on it at all—any ideas on how to enlarge it? I have windows xp and word 2003. Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • Thanks Ava,
      I’m sorry you are having difficulties. The truth is that it could be any of many operating system problems. I’ll list a few common mistakes/troubleshoots for you below.
      -It has to be downloaded onto your computer to print properly.
      -Uncheck page scaling when printing.
      -Make sure your print is at 100%, also print legal size for the weekly planner.

      Hope it helps!

  66. Hi Ursula, I just watched your video and read your blog. This is what I have been needing!!! Thank you so much for putting it into such an easy well managed format!! YOU ROCK!! I’m on my way to Walmart for some post it notes! Can’t wait to get this party started!! 🙂 Thanks again!

  67. How did you get your stickies not to over lap on your pages. I printed these, laminated them & then realized afterward when I went to put the stickies on that there is not enough room for them to fit end to end 3 across like yours is…?

    • Well, I don’t know exactly, but a couple things come to mind: It is possible (if you downloaded the customizable option) that things got altered a bit if you opened it in an older version of Word. Another thought (although I think this is unlikely) is that the sticky tabs you are using are larger than mine…I have extra space around each tab, and I use Post-it brand and Walmart brand stickies…

  68. Oh my goodness, Carmona!! I LOVE this! Just bought myself the sticky tabs to do this and can hardly wait! Thank you for your genius with this! Have tried many different things and I really think this will work best for me. So grateful! xoxo

  69. Do you have your menu idea post its in a single layer? Im finding that I may need a page or more for just chicken dishes, etc. I thought of layering my ideas, but seems it would be a little less efficient. Thoughts??

    • Hi Brandie,
      I do not layer post-its in the menu idea section. If I find I need more pages I customize and print more. I have provided a word document version available for customization in the post. You could entitle it “Chicken Dishes”, and create custom categories to break down your chicken dishes… 😉 You must download the “Customizable” option in order to use it though. Good luck!

  70. I love this! I normally use a calendar and a list of meals we usually like. Once I used to use a family calendar but I was the only one that paid attention to it! lol. So I wanted something that would benefit ME and my crazy obsessive compulsive need to organize. I have an agenda book, like a modern filo fax so I took your pages and scaled them down some to fit my agenda book and since they may 5×7 laminating pouches, it still worked really well! I also changed your topics on the idea pages from “breakfast/lunch/dinner/etc.” to “beef/pork/etc.” During the day I’m the only one in my house and my son eats a tiny breakfast here and then again at school! lol. So I really didn’t need separate menus. All his lunch items are in a box (except for the meat) with an inventory list laminated and glued to the top so we always know what’s there. I have my own ways of organizing some things but I love how your idea for this menu got me started!

  71. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been wanting to organize and keep better track of our family menus. I am so excited to purchase my sticky notes and get my binder ready!

  72. I love this and can’t wait to try it out! I desperately need to start planning my meals out so we eat better and can do the grocery shopping all at once. One question I had and maybe I missed it. How you do you make accommodations for meats in your planning? I don’t see a category for it. Thanks again for sharing. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog and can’t wait to tart following you.

    • Hi Sheila,
      Hee hee, I wondered if anyone would notice that! Let me congratulate you on excellent observation skills and the first to notice. 😀
      Crazy us, we’re a vegetarian/vegan hybrid so I had no need for a meat category. However I did provide the customizable word doc for people to create the categories that apply to them and their families! 😉
      Thanks so much for following, and good luck with your planning!

  73. You did very well! I will be trying this system soon. I printed out everything. My only suggestion would be to add FRUIT and/or SNACKS. Of course that as you said can be customized, so well done! 🙂

  74. Hold on to your hats….I may have figured it out for myself. It let me do “page set-up” and it was set to 80% and I switched it to 100%….sorry to jump the gun. Always happens, when I give up and ask for help, it comes to me! Thanks!

  75. Bummer…I’m having a really hard time printing out the correct size too! I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Anyone ever figure this out? I’m going to re-read through comments to see if I’m missing a trick. Thanks!

  76. omg i loved your idea, i’m 16 and a few months ago i started my eat-clean life and this is what i needed!! it’s totally a great idea and i’m downloading the whole file. Thank you so much for this great idea!!

  77. This is wonderful! I have been using a spreadsheet for years and it requires a new one each week. Like you, I move things around and have to write on it and it drives me crazy. I also end up forgetting about awesome recipes I have made in the past. All summer I have attempted to find a way to catalog them painlessly. This came just in time for a busy fall schedule and school to start (I am a teacher). Also, I will customize my adding snacks. Thanks again!

  78. Have to ask – where do you get all your colours of sticky tabs?? I am looking online and here in Canada, because wow, such a pretty rainbow! (thanks for the tip on the self-laminating pages by the way)

    • Thanks Carrie! I got my post-it’s at Staples with a coupon…but I also use Walmart brand page markers as they are much cheaper. I have added the exact ones I purchased in my Amazon Store (found in the side bar) if you still can’t find it and prefer to order online.

  79. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love the way you made it simple and yet easy to change. Populating is easy and culling out what doesn’t work out anymore is even easier. I’m looking forward to setting this up!

  80. This is FABULOUS, I have been in the throws of menu planning for a while but always found it horrid I hate using a pre made plan b/c well I have to alter so much and them my aunt was like well make your own and I was like well I could but how, then I saw THIS and I LOVE IT I have 6 kids and we eat a funky kind of diet and I am very much about seasons so I LOVE that I can change and move and stick and think and color code. Office supplies meet meal planning a match made in heaven if you ask me!!

  81. I’m a serious perfectionist and artistic freak by nature. If I COULD make something better (which I always could), I had a hard time understanding why I SHOULDN’T. Then came kids. I used to do things like this all the time, spend all kinds of time making things organized and pretty… Now I’m expecting my fourth child (making 4 kids under 4), and because energetic-hard-worker isn’t among my traits, I’ve had to give up most everything that was ME for the sake of time and sanity. I just can’t believe my good luck in finding this… Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sharing!! It took me 15 minutes to customize it the way I like it (15 easily justifiable minutes) and I just want to cry (blame the hormones) for the sheer joy of being able to get a part of myself back, even if it is just in one binder! But heck! It’s a binder I’m going to use ALL THE TIME! I pretty much love you.
    Me—> :*D

    • Well that is high praise, thank you! LOL!! I’m so glad you like it, I hope it works really well for you… because I can identify! Thankfully life gets more sane when they are all older than 4! 😀

  82. This is awesome! I am always looking for an easy wat to plan my meals, and this is exactly what I need! Got my post it notes this morning! I can’t wait to write all my favorite meals down and start using the printables! Thank you SO much for allowing us to download and customize the printable files.

  83. I’m going to try this! Meals are my most frustrating area because with 5 people (3 kids and two adults) no one wants the same things so it seems like a big stress every time. I think I could pick one favorite for each of us per week. 🙂

  84. Recently got married (1 month ago) and I’m trying to figure out a way to make the meal planning easier for the hubs when I work late. I love cooking and I’m very creative at it, but the hubby, on the other hand, struggles with it so he grabs anything from the fridge and pantry (without thinking that we had the same thing the day before, or even worse the same day for lunch), so hopefully this method will do us great. thanks soo much for sharing <3<3

  85. I love this system!!! You said in your video that you use the post-it notes in your home binder as well. I’d LOVE to see that!!! I’ve been trying to get a good system down and your menu is fantastic – I’d really REALLY like to see how you are using the post-its on your home binder!!!!

  86. This is a fantastic system!

    I have a question – are the 1 & 2 Weekly Menu Plan pages supposed to be on 3/4 of the page instead of a full page like the others? That is the way it is printing out.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Thanks Sharon!
      So sorry you are having technical difficulties… I recommend downloading the editable version, perhaps your computer will read it properly if not printed directly from Google drive. Hope that helps! 😉

    • Thanks Ursula – he edited version was also 3/4 the size on the page. I must have had the same issue that Michelle had, and changed the page feed to legal and it stretched it out, lol! It fills the whole page now! Blessings, Sharon

  87. This is the best idea I have seen yet. Thank you so much for your helpful ideas and printable sheets! I can’t wait to use it this week!

  88. I don’t suppose you have a template of the weekly plan (that fits the little post-its) in a half-sheet size? My planner’s of the 5.5″x8.5″ variety, and I have no shame in admitting the computer and I don’t get along for designing super cute stuff like that. 🙂

  89. Hi, Ursula. I printed out the sheets and finished writing my post-its today. I came back because I am going to print some more pages to put just my veggie side dished on, as we LOVE veggies here, and usually have at least two per meal (not including salads!) I am going to try this system and see how it works for me. I love the idea!! I work late 4 days a week, so any planning really helps. I appreciate your sharing this with us. I did have problems printing out the weekly menu page, but I figured out a work-around. I changed my settings to US legal, and printed only one page at a time. That gave me the correct size printed. If I printed out two pages at a time, I got some of the 2nd page on the first and not the right size. I’m not sure why. Anyway, for those having problems, they might give that a try. The other pages printed just fine! I would love to share this on my blog if you are OK with that. I thought I would show my progress and, of course, give a huge shout out to you. Is that OK? Thanks a bunch!
    Michelle at creativeoperation.blogspot.com

    • Thank you Michelle! That is very helpful! I haven’t the foggiest idea why it is behaving so strangely, but I will have to post a letter size version and hope it doesn’t do strange things! *smh*
      Oh golly, I love to see people make it their own and share it with others! Solutions were meant to be shared… of course it would be alright with me, I appreciate the honor!

  90. I LOVE this whole idea!! I am on Weight Watchers and I am going to put the points on each Post-it as well! The only problem I am having is that when I print the Weekly Menu Plan it prints too small and the post-its don’t fit. I have tried both the PDF and the word document. Any ideas on how I can get it the right size? The rest of them printed out fine!

    • What a fantastic idea! I love that!
      I double checked with a couple friends, and they said it prints fine for them… hmmm, wish I had a tech guy. 😀 I would suggest checking the print paper size… since the document was created to be legal size, either ignore it and try printing it letter, or try to change your print parameters to legal. I hope that does it…

    • I know this is an old post, but hopefully the “Unknown” poster will see this. I just printed it, too. When I clicked on the link, it opened in my browser. To get it to print full size I had to download it (open it in Word) and then print it. It worked fine, then. Thanks for this wonderful resource! Post it notes and dry erase markers are my best friends!!!

  91. I LOVE this! I created a home management binder at the beginning of this year. I have been looking around at different blogs to see what most women put in their binders. I am adding a menu section for sure! Can you share a blog post about other things you have in your binder? I would love to know.
    Thanks!!

    • Thanks Jessica! Geesh, don’t you just love the idea of a home management binder? I too have been thrilled to see what so many others have come up with! If we all put our heads together… 😉 I shared my blog organization section, and next I’ll be sharing the printable calendar section. I would love to see what you have come up with! Good luck!

  92. I’ve been flipping through all of your posts like crazy. They are so inspiring. I only dream of being like this one day. I’m pretty messy and unorganized and I have low self esteem because of it. Any ideas or tips on how to discourage low self esteem and encourage organization?
    Thanks
    Myrella (23 year old waitress, student, wife and mommy of a 2 1/2 year old and a 9 month old. )

    • Thank you Myrella, I’m glad you like the blog! Oh honey, you have young kids, I was a hot mess when mine were 1 and 2! And I’m still working my way out of disorder 5 years later! 😀 Someday I’ll write more about my low points, but just know you are NOT alone! I’m sharing the process it takes me to BECOME organized and tidy…I have not arrived. But I believe we can do it, one day, one habit, one space at a time… and it’s ok that it takes time, so don’t let it get you down!
      Good luck!

    • Feeling your pain too Myrella!! My kiddos are 3 (boy) and 1 (girl) both VERY busy and I cannot leave them alone for a second….oh and to top it off I am 4 months pregnant! Whew! 🙂 Good luck sister…we are all in the same boat with little kiddos.

  93. Thank you! Oh I think it is wonderful that you customized it to fit your needs and style! That is my goal for sharing…usefulness! 😀 I would love to see it! If you ever want to share feel free to share via Facebook, Google Plus, or link! 😉

  94. This is perfection! I’ve been looking for a system that I could use that would also be a record of our favorite foods and the cookbooks where the recipes are found. I revised the word docs to my favorite fonts and added a page for a cookbook list and the abbreviations I use for each book/recipe…ie Thai Peanut Noodles RT5, p104 (RT5 means Robin Takes 5). I’m so happy with this system. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Peace, Love & Light!
    Hope

  95. Thank you for sharing! I’m customizing now, however, I think I’m going to start off with sheet protectors instead of laminating. (Mainly because I have tons of sheet protectors and only limited access to a laminate machine) Any ideas/thoughts on if this will be a problem with the post-it notes?

    • I’m always happy to share! If someone else can benefit from my crazy creations, why not? 😉
      I also tried using sheet protectors at first (I did not own a laminator at the time), but the post-it tabs do not stick to them well. Walmart produces a generic brand of sticky tabs that might work better on sheet protectors…it is “stickier”. 😀 Let me know how it works out for you. Otherwise I suggest using the self laminating sheets that do not require a laminating machine, that is what I finally used. I have listed it in my amazon store for anyone wanting to find them at a good price. Here is the link: http://astore.amazon.com/hommadbycar-20/detail/B00006HZ5F
      Hope that helps!

  96. You are a GENIOUS! THANK YOU! I’ve been searching forever for something that works in the way I think. I’ve been wracking my brain for even longer on HOW to create my own meal planning system. I think it will work perfectly in a kitchen binder that will include my inventory sheets, THESE meal planners, my grocery lists, AND my recipes. Thanks again… I’m off to create!

  97. I love this idea! I have been trying to keep a menu planner for YEARS (25!) and think your way of doing it will actually work great for me. I am using your customizable documents, but for whatever reason the menu planner document will only pull up as legal-sized. I’ve downloaded it and tried to change the document size and it won’t let me 🙁 I have a Mac and don’t know if that is why I am having that problem, or I am wondering if you happened to save the document as a legal-sized doc (?) I would love to be able to use it. So far, the other documents I have downloaded are letter-sized and work great. Thanks!!

    • Thanks Tina, I hope this works for you!
      The legal size is intentional… if you can print using legal sized paper, then trim to size, the lowest boxes won’t be cut off by a 1/8th of an inch… if however you are like me and don’t care about that bottom line, you can still print it onto letter sized paper. I did! 😀

  98. This is a fantastic idea! Its colorful, organized and who doesn’t like laminating and post-it notes! lol I had a similar one but never took the time to organize it all out. Instead, I sometimes wrote on note paper or would think about it and plan in my head for 2 days or so in advance!

  99. What a great idea. I am printing this now. I will let you know how it goes. My mom, brother and I are all starting diets and we have been trying to come up with a good plan on how to be organized. We plan on getting together after church on Sundays and cooking/creating what we need for the week.

  100. I love this idea! It seems so user friendly, I can’t wait to try it!

    thanks so much for sharing!

    I am so glad to have found your blog 🙂

    • Thank you! I hope you find it helpful. If you end up giving it a try, feel free to share it with us on facebook! I’m always interested to see how people personalize it to their needs. A friend of mine uses dry erasers instead of sticky tabs! 🙂

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