Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Controlling Paper Chaos - Top 40 Organizing

I shared in an earlier post that I was spending time this summer organizing the areas in my house that need it the most. I wanted to share the first area I tackled because I'm so excited about it.

With 4 kids in school and activities, the paper clutter in our house was out of control. I really wish I had taken a picture of all of the papers that the kids brought home on the last day of school. It literally filled their backpacks so that they could barely zip them!

I wanted to sort through the piles to keep the most memorable pictures and papers and also to file away the important papers that I would need to reference later.  I had saved so many papers through the year though that the thought of sorting through everything was very overwhelming!

I started, as I start most projects, by scouring Pinterest.  I have always loved this idea by A Bowl Full of Lemons, so when I saw it again on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. It seemed like fate that when I went to check the prices of the totes and folders that they were having a great sale!  I ordered them on the spot - in 4 different colors (coincidentally, the 4 colors they had available were also the 4 colors that we already used to sort our kids' things).

They aren't perfect, but they look so much better than the stacks of papers on my dresser or the counter.  Having a limited space to store things really helps me to weed things out and figure out what's most important.

To label the file folders I ordered a Dynmo label maker (which I also happened to buy while it was on sale for $9.99 - I had a lot of dumb luck with this project).  I LOVE my labeler and can't believe it took me so long to buy one.

The totes took care of the keepsakes, but I still needed a handy place to store important papers that I need to reference quickly (and storing them in files was an out of sight, out of mind issue for me).

I came up with my school year action binder.  I made the cover quickly in Publisher (you can download it for free by clicking on the picture).

Inside I added dividers and folders for each child and each activity.  Here I can store class newsletters, contact info and class lists.

I also have a general school section for both our elementary school and our preschool.  This is where I store info that is relevant to both kids at that school - things like calendars, handbooks, and login passwords for homework websites.

Here's hoping that the next school year is less stressful and chaotic and more organized!

What tips do you have for keeping school papers sorted and organized?

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