It’s Why Not Organize Something Wednesday and today we’re going to be tackling all those papers coming into the house daily. Jessalyn wrote in and especially wanted to know how to deal with all the papers coming home with her kids from school. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with what to keep, where to keep it, or what you would feel safe with (heaven forbid) tossing? What about when you come in from the mailbox? Yay, more paper! It’s never ending. First we’ll tackle the mail.
1st: Deal with papers daily! Not twice a week or weekly. Everyday. What if you don’t have time to do it right now? You’re running to soccer practice, a play performance or you’re trying to get dinner ready. Then you need a file folder labeled “Daily Mail”. Open the mail, put the pieces in the file you need to keep, and then toss, shred or recycle the rest. That way if you need to reference something, at least you know where to find it.
2nd: Once you have time, after the evening rush, go through the folder and put papers where they belong. I have a folder for every member of the family, and a separate area for bills that need to be paid. I have a basket that sits by my desk for all the files I need to access often. You can use a basket or a table top file holder (just make sure it’s big enough for the files you need to keep there). Remember you need to make it convenient for you, so you’ll use it.
3rd: Make files you will use and use the files you make. Some suggested categories are: one for every family member, coupons, to read, to file permanently, to do. When your child brings home their soccer schedule, file that in their personal file. When you receive a birthday invitation or reminder to make a dentist appointment, file that in “to do”. Something catches your eye that you want to read, file that in “to read”. I love the “to read” file. You know how you always seem to be waiting some where? At the doctors office, at the kids school or after sports practices, just grab the file and bring it with you. Ta-Da, time to read.
4th: Use your calendar! Before you file away that birthday invitation, write the date and time on your calendar. You can also give yourself a reminder to buy the gift a few days before the party. Before you file the soccer schedule, write down the days you have treats for the game. My calendar is color coded so I know what’s most important at a glace and what pertains to me or another member of the family. I also write down when bills are due a few days before, so I can pay them online.
5th: Go through your files once a week to weed out old papers and make sure you didn’t miss anything. This should keep your files pretty small and easy to find anything you need to access.
If you keep up on this, dealing with papers should only take a few minutes a day.
Now, school papers. Ugghhhh! Why do they send so much home from the schools, on six different papers, for four different kids? Yesterday I received book swap reminders, parent-teacher conference reminders, monthly calenders, lunch schedules, green ribbon week calender and walk to school day reminders x 3!
1st: This is where I put all the duplicates. In the paper recycling basket. We use these for coloring, doodling, working out math problems, shopping lists, paper airplanes, etc. At least they print them off in different colors so we have some variety. The other basket is for newspaper, flyers and magazines for recycling. That will be going in the mudroom if it ever gets finished.
2nd: Back to the calendar to write down the parent-teacher conferences, walk to school day, book swap days, etc. All color coded in light blue, for kids.
3rd: What to do with their school work. Clipboards have been a lifesaver for me and the kids. Nothing has been lost in the last 5 years, since we started using them. What goes on them? Spelling words, math homework, projects being worked on, supply list for projects, book report info, etc. Everything is at their fingertips. If we’re running to dance practice or a soccer game, they can grab their clipboard and bring it with them to work on their homework. Plus they have a hard writing surface. I also put any papers that need to be returned to school or notes to teachers on it, so they can be put in their backpacks in the morning. The clipboards are checked everyday after school, before bed and before school. It only takes a few minutes.
This has been a long post, so I’ll cover what to do with your little darlings art projects and other school papers later this week. I hope this has helped you manage your daily paper coming in from the mailbox and school a little better. For us striving to be in a paperless society we sure do have a lot of it, don’t we?
Thank you to all of you that have sent me your Organizing Dilemmas. I will get to all of them as quickly as possible. What Organizing Dilemmas do you have? Leave me a comment or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to write a post about it. Here’s to a more organized life!
I’m linking this to Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family. I know it’s late, but I was without a computer for most of the day.