How do you organize kids' papers/calendars/schedules?

jellybenMarch 9, 2006

I am still pretty new to the forum and have already gotten so much great info!

Now, my 3 kids are going to be the downfall of my clutter-free existence! I like to have everything out of view, but if I stick calendars and permission slips etc. into a drawer, I forget all about it! I have 1 cabinet in the kitchen dedicated to kid stuff-library books, paperwork. I had to stick a megnetic calendar on the side of the fridge to remember appts. etc.

Our computer is on a desk in the family room near the kitchen, but that is a black hole of DH's paperwork, so I try to kep my stuff away from there.

Anyone have any great tips for keeping my family life organized and clutter-free?

Thanks, Karen

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I have a 1st grader, kindergartener, and 4.5 yr. old. They come in back door, hand up coats on hooks, take off shoes, and come in to empty lunch bags of leftovers and put freezer-balls back in freezer, hang up lunch bags on hooks, and then take out school folders.
Their art papers go to their own in-box (dishpan) in "arts 'n crafts cupboard". (I weed through this every other month or so and they do at the middle and end of the year.)
The papers Mom needs to see/sign/transfer to calendar go into their own pocket of a mesh metal wall file holder (like the kind that holds magazines in a waiting room). This file pocket gets emptied every evening. I put papers that need to go back to school directly into the child's folder which is now in their backpack, hopefully at the back door near their coat, ready to go. (I think next year they'll retrieve the papers themselves from mesh pocket in the morning.)

The wall file is under the wall phone, the calendar hangs there too (I use the school district one the PTO provides that has lots of activities in small print that we may have mssed if listed elsewhere), and I have a jumbo clothespin that holds invites in chronological order. I write on the invite the date I rsvp-ed and have noted the event on our calendar.

Disclaimer: I was a teacher. Creating independence
and systems that work without me present are a top priority. It's really never to early to get kids to be part of a system that makes life less stressful for everyone.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 6:00PM
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...never too early...

PS. I wasn't an English teacher.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 6:22PM
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Karen, welcome to the group.

jcs7, I'm a teacher, too and could always tell the kids who are indepdent at home.

I still have 3 in elementary school, so all papers in the backpacks go on the kitchen table when they get home. Field trip/permission slips are put aside on my control journal so I deal with them after dinner. Everything else is either an "atta boy" and in the trash, something for our art corner or they can put it up in their room with a push pin. Homework is back in the backpack when finished.

We have a funky hallway area and that has become where we post the artwork. It has a bookshelf that the top is reserved for those clay and papermache projects.

My calendar is made by More Time for Moms. It is 16 month calendar so I can write an entire year's events as soon I get the calendar for school, scouts, etc. and then I don't have to keep the schedules. The boxes have enough room that I can put down "field trip/need sack lunch" and still have other events listed. There is a packet at the back if I really need to keep something.

I also keep a hanging file for each kid in the same place I keep my medical, household type stuff. If it's something I think I may need in the future then I put it there and I purge that stuff every fall.

Part of keeping this stuff in control is to learn that every paper is not a keeper. I put away beginning of the year examples and then another one at the end of the year because it's nice to see the growth. Otherwise, we really don't keep daily stuff. If they do want to keep it, their bedroom is a good spot and if it becomes too much, they have to decide what goes and what stays.

I have to say that "out of view" doesn't work for our family. When we remodeled this house the contractor wanted to put up a wall next to the fridge so you wouldn't see the fridge. It was so ingrained in having our calendar on the side of that fridge there was no way I could have a wall there and no calendar. With the calendar out and easy to get to, all six of us check it constantly. We know now-if it's not on the calendar-it isn't going to happen.

Can you at least designate the inside of one cabinet for the calendar and have a big pocket there?


Here is a link that might be useful: mom's calendar

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 7:23PM
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Wow, thanks for the great info!

Gloria, I think you are on to something-as much as I want 'out of view', it doesn't work for us! Lightbulb moment-I need to accept that! I love that calendar, I will probably order it.

jcs7: I am working on making my kids take more responsibility for their stuff, and slowly they are getting the hang of it.

My system actually sounds similar to the 2 of you(my kids are 8, 5 and 3). I guess I am doing better than I thought!

Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 11:24PM
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My boys are teens (one is away at college) and I let the handle their own papers (even if it means they're on their bedroom floor, LOL).

They've always used the sports & school & scouts schedules on the refrigerator. After many years, I finally realized that keeping a "family calendar" on the refrigerator wasn't working for me since I'm either at work or at the aforementioned sports and school functions. LOL I now use a spiral academic calendar that fits in my purse and has plenty of writing room. It is PERFECT. No matter where I am, I can look in my planner and know that it is updated.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 5:49AM
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I also use the More Time For Moms calendar and it's the absolute center of my family organizing. I can't say enough good things about it.

Backpacks get emptied when the kids come home, papers I need to sign or invitations that need an RSVP go into my version of a Control Journal (a spiral notebook with my daily To Do list scribbled in, each day gets its own page), and any artwork, papers, projects, etc., worth keeping (and I've gotten ruthless) go into the kids' storage boxes under my desk. At the end of the year we sort through and try to save just two or three (though it's usually more like 15 or 20) items from the past year that go into "keeper" boxes in each kid's closet. Someday we'll weed those out, too.

Any appointment cards, invitations, tickets, etc., that I need to have on hand get paperclipped to the calendar. Carpool schedules, volunteer schedules and sports schedules get written into the calendar and then archived in the pocket at the back just in case I copied something down incorrectly or the schedules change. It is kind of messy, but it works for me.

I have a very elaborate fantasy of having a spacious mud room with those wonderful coat/backpack cubbies and a proper boot tray and a central location for unloading backpacks and sorting papers, but that's just not in the cards. Everything takes place in my kitchen *sigh*. A girl can dream, though!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 8:44AM
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