Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mom's Command Central

As the beginning of the school year approaches, mothers all over the country break into a cold sweat. Not because they have to buy school supplies. Not because they have to pack 220 bag lunches (multiplied by 3 kids) during the school year. It's because they will be overrun by an avalanche of paperwork.

Papers to keep, papers to return, and papers to keep forever. Menus, permission slips, invitations, spelling tests, homework, and notes from the teacher.

Here are two ways I have used to keep track of my children's paperwork. I used the first method when my 3 children were older and were responsible for keeping up with their "study papers". You know, those graded papers and homework papers that needed to be used to prepare for tests.

I used the second method during the 3 terrible years they were in 3 different schools. Honestly, those were the most confusing years of my life.

This first idea uses a desk-top basket. In the back compartment, I have a file for each child. This is where announcements, schedules, and report cards are kept.

The middle compartment is where items go that need to leave the house. Permission slips, envelope with lunch money, and notes to the teacher. This spot needs to be checked every morning before school.

The front two compartments hold, pens, pencils, tape, note pad, post-it notes, and calendar. You could also have a magnetic calendar on the fridge that would serve the same purpose.

The second idea is a binder (to which I am partial). Remember, I'm a Piler!! Here I've used a small binder, but you would need a large binder. You could use a 2-3 inch one. It's better to have a bigger one and not use all of the space, than to have one that is bursting at the seams. You'll also need a zippered pencil holder that has 3 holes punched in it, several pocket dividers with tabs, and possibly some clear binder sleeves.

First, put in your zippered pencil holder. Fill it with items you use all the time like pens, pencisl, tape, scissors, and post-it notes.

Then, label each tabbed pocket divider with one child's name. Now, each child will have their own pocket divider. Add a few clear binder sleeves to hold menus or schedules that you'll want to glance at quickly. On the front of the pocket, you can write the phone numbers of your child's friends, the teacher's email address, or other info you might need to find. It will save you from searching through papers to find them.

If your child wants to, they can decorate the pocket divider. Let them have fun with it.

I hope this gets your mind thinking about how to control that paperwork that will eventually show up at your house. One more thought: go through the folder with your child once a month and decide what can be thrown away and what needs to be kept. Any of their keepsakes and love notes can be saved using this method.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for visiting! I'm glad you liked my label idea. Thanks for all the great organizing tips! My "command central" has gotten way out of control lately. I bought some pretty file folders in the dollar section at Michaels yesterday, so I'm going to tackle it today!


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