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Getting Orgnaized

It’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about – the time of year where we’ve made promises to ourselves that we are going to make changes: lose weight, pay off debt, be better at something, quit a bad habit, get more organized. You get the idea.  And we are far enough into the year that many of us have gotten off track.

My challenge this year is to get more organized. Some people are naturally organized and can keep things miraculously clean. I’d like to think that is me, but this isn’t a perfect world, and I don’t want to lie to you.  I have “organization spurts” where I can focus and get something in order, but then I get stuck.  Makes me human.

I already have some systems that work. There are areas in my home that are still overwhelming, though. The biggest area – PAPER! I have a child who brings home tons of school papers every day. I have bills, magazines, things that I need to keep for tax purposes, memories to store for future generations. I’d like your input and advice. Here are a few questions:

1. How do you decide what to keep and what to toss?

2. How do you store what you keep?

3. Do you have a time limit for how long you keep something?
4. If you don’t keep every school paper (and I know you don’t), how do you dispose of the unwanted ones so that tender feelings aren’t hurt?

5. What is your best organizing tip in general?

I look forward to your replies. Have a great day, and happy organizing!

4 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. With two kids (ages 8 & 6), we have our fair share of school work. I generally only keep art projects that can be framed or ones I know they've worked especially hard on. I also keep certificates of achievement, but toss the daily stuff the next morning after they've gone to school.

    Regarding organization in general, I love plastic bins! We have a room in the basement just for bins. We have one for things we'll keep (high school & wedding memorabilia), tax papers (keep for seven years), etc. We used to have more for bank statements & check stubs, but thanks to e-statements we no longer worry about keeping all the extra paper.

    We also try to purge the whole house at least twice a year (spring & fall). Papers, books, magazines, closets & the kids rooms. As we tell the kids, "You can't keep everything forever. The just isn't enough room!"

  2. I feel overwhelmed sometimes with the amount of paper that goes through our house on any given day. To help with the bill organizatation, I bought a cheap clear coupon organizer. I labled it with dates like 1-2, 3-4, etc. When I open the mail, I immedaitely throw everything away but the bill and stash it in the day that it is due. That way I always know what is due for a certain paycheck, and I don't ever loose anything.

    I have 3 kids and a small house so I HAVE to keep things organized or the toys get out of control really quick. I usually go through all the toys at least twice a year. I have clear shoebox bins that are labled. So when my kids clean up…everything has a spot. (It also helps when other kids come to play).

    As far as school papers, I try to keep several from the first of the year, the middle of the year and the end of the year. I keep ones that they did well on, and ones that they didn't, so they can see their improvement. I probably don't keep more than 10 per week. I store them in a file organizer that sits on our desk. At the end of the school year I seperate the papers in piles of Math, Science, Bible, Handwriting, etc. Then I let the kids pic no more than 5 papers from each subject to keep. I then store the papers in a binder that is labeled with their name and what year in school they are in. I also put important awards, pictures from parties and artwork in it (in clear protector sheets). I have also included letters to Santa and one invitation from their birthday party that year so they can see exactly what happened that year. They got their binders out this weekend and spent a long time looking at their old pictures and papers!

    I'm always looking for a better way of organization!

  3. My system needs work also! Bills are no problem, I have a basket for those and I put them in order by due date. I also write the due date on the outside of the envelope and write all the bills on a calendar.
    School papers all go in another basket that I go through and sort periodically. Since my son is in Kindy this year I have yet to throw any of his papers away! I have been putting them all in a shopping bag, will probably reduce them further at the end of the year. (I am hopelessly sentimental about such things.) And artwork gets hung on the fridge or possibly even the wall until some other masterpiece arrives to take it's place (then into the shopping bag it goes…)
    I have a filing system for other papers, medical, tax papers, etc. so that I can find them at the end of the year.
    I have gotten better about throwing out catalogs and newspapers since I never get around to reading them but I still always have those "other" papers that I must keep in case they are needed later (flyers and clippings and things like that). Those are usually just in a stack that gets moved around from place to place and it is considered "mommy's papers" so that no one touches them!

  4. I love to throw things away and find myself not being the extremely sentimental type. Here are a few tips I've found to be helpful.
    1. For school, church, or VBS craft projects, I have used plain, white pizza boxes (Large size). I label the top with the child's name and the grade or age they are. I ordered them through a websight that sells boxes. I have them for pre-k through 5th grade for each child. Yes, I could digitally save several of them but my kids and I love to look through the boxes. There is nothing like looking back at these creations and seeing the details. It is a stack of boxes in the end, but, hey, it's organized.
    2. As far as developmental toys for younger children…. if you have 5 toys that all function to promote the same developmental stage, one or two is probably adequate to have.
    3. Electronic calendar like Google is priceless.

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