By Amanda Morgan- Not Just Cute
Confession: I tend to be a stacker. My natural tendency is to place papers into sometimes-neat-and-tidy-but-always-inefficient piles. Somewhere between my husband actually wanting to find his mail and my first grader coming home with more paper than Dwight Schrute could sell in a week -- notes to be signed and schedules to keep track of-- I finally decided to create a home organizing center.
That may sound like a huge undertaking, but it was actually quite simple and has saved me loads of time and sanity in the long run. With back to school (and all that paper!) right around the corner, you might find it useful to set one up too.
My inspiration first came from this post at Lovely Crafty Home. I created mine with a file box I picked up at Target. On the outside, I used bulldog clips to attach a calendar (you can find plenty of lovely free ones like this one online). Since then I've added another bulldog clip on the side to attach my ever-growing grocery lists so that I can add to them right there in the kitchen as I use the last ounce of something.
Inside I have a file for each person in the family. When mail comes in, I sort it into the files so my husband gets his before little fingers in our house get a chance to relocate it. When my son comes home with a calendar from school, I write the events onto my calendar and stash the paper into his file so I can reference the details as needed. Spelling words for the week drop into his file as well, so we can always find them and pull them out for practice. Notes that need to be returned get a reminder on the calendar and then drop in the file. Projects to save get filed away while daily worksheets get looked over and then recycled.
In front of the files, I have a home binder that slips neatly into the box. This binder has come to hold all the things my brain can no longer keep track of! Using free printables from Life Your Way I've been able to keep track of things I'd forgotten to even try to remember. I have sections delineating cleaning schedules for me and chore cards for the boys as well as forms for tracking goals, menus, and loaned out books.
But the section I probably use the most is the section for my boys' school info. Using the School Information Form, I can keep track of phone numbers and schedules so that I know when to drop in for a surprise lunch or who to call when my son's running late. And how about all those papers I get from back-to-school night and orientations? Instead of stacking them in a drawer or a neat pile by the phone and then wondering where they are four months later, I hole-punch them and put them in the binder behind the form. It's not only nice to know that I can find what I need, but when I've needed to leave the boys with someone else, they can find all their school info too. (Which came in handy when baby boy #4 was born last spring.)
So how about you? What do you do to take care of all that extra paper clutter that comes with back-to-school?
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Amanda Morgan is a full time mom to three busy boys and a part-time trainer and consultant for a non-profit children's organization. She also writes at Not Just Cute, a blog focused on intentional whole child development. It's full of ideas that are more than just cute, for preschoolers who are much more than cute too.