When systems are complicated, they usually don’t work. The key to being able to keep track of things is to keep things as simple as possible! Some moms love to put together binders, notebooks or planners where they keep and store all their information which is WONDERFUL and this helps some moms stay so organized….BUT for the moms who don’t want to take that time or KNOW they won’t keep up with it, I suggest they start with SIMPLE.
LITERATURE SORTER/ CUBBY SYSTEM
You need a place to put the papers that come in each day. They can’t be put in a "pile" because, well, you know.. It will be lost forever! You can’t set the papers down to “file later”. You need a place you can get them right away, in the proper place, in one swoop, easily!
If you have to open a filing cabinet to look for a file, or have to open a notebook and find the right page, or if you have to leave to go to your office or desk upstairs or across the house, it’s probably NOT going to happen.
Literature sorters are one of my FAVORITE things, especially to keep ALL the kids schedules, rosters, menus and school papers together! They are open cubbies so you can SEE your papers and it is EASY to simply throw papers into their designated spot. Things are labeled, ORGANIZED and it's SIMPLE. This should be a place for ONLY active paper you will need to refer to. There are MANY sorters to choose in all sizes and colors.
What Do You Put in Each Cubby?
First off, you will want a cubby for EACH child’s Completed Schoolwork. Once papers are graded and kids are done with them, get these papers OUT of their backpack. (Clutter makes it hard for your child to find current important papers.) TOSS the graded busy work that your child is done with forever. There will be papers that you may need to hold on to throughout the year incase you need them again for a portfolio or test etc. You may also want to hold on to your child's creative writing or papers they are really proud of. These are papers that you put in their cubby. (Each child should also have their own bin for bulky art projects ect. as well.) At the end of the semester and again at the end of the school year, you will go through and TOSS most of the paper. But for now you have a designated place to keep them.
You will also want to create a designated cubby for other things that you will need to refer to, like School Menus and Schedules, Sport Rosters, Music lesson info and Calendars, Upcoming events and Invitations, Papers to Return to School etc. Each family is different. Think about the types of papers that come into YOUR home often that you need to keep track of and not loose. Papers that you will need to refer to. Create categories and cubbies for these papers. REMEMBER to only keep the ACTIVE papers in your sorter. You will want this sorter to be in the area of the home where most papers tend to get dumped and close to where you go through backpacks and homework with your children. It should be your command center.
Now keeping things digital is alway a fabulous idea! Evernote has a free version that is PERFECT in helping you keep ALL your important papers at your fingertips, ALWAYS! Evernote can do all kinds of amazing things that helps you gather information and organize it. BUT it is very simple for what I use it for. Anytime I have an important paper that I may need to refer to while I’m out and about, I take a picture of it, tag it, and put it in my Evernote app. Easy. It’s great for schedules, invitations, rosters ect. You can create folders or just tag the item so you can easily find what you're looking for.
COZI FAMILY ORGANIZER APP
This is a place you can create a shared family Calendar that the whole family can be part of. Any family member that has a smart phone can add his/hers activities and appointments to the calendar so everybody stays in the loop. You can also have shared shopping lists, chores, etc. I so wish they had this app when my family was young!
LARGE FAMILY CALENDAR
Digital is great but also having one large family calendar hanging on the wall for all to see is a HUGE help when trying to stay on top of everything! I have 5 children and I had a different colored pen associated with each child. That helped the kids see what they had going on at a glance.
USE YOUR PHONE!
I put EVERYTHING on my phone or I forget. I set my alarm and reminders and add calendar events with alerts that beep at me. I set alarms for myself throughout the day to remind me to do things and to help me be on time and stay on task. Couldn't live without doing this! Most of us have phones now that do this. Take advantage of it!
So these are just a few things to help you keep on top of all the stuff being thrown at you with the new school year just getting started. Having just a couple simply systems set up will relieve so much stress in your life!! Good luck! And enjoy those babies! My kids are all grown and I miss this! Time goes by so fast! Enjoy the moment!