Well we are a couple of weeks into the new school year… Always a very busy time in our house and the beginning of some very chaotic schedules that is for sure.

It always amazes me how much paperwork adds up with school and activities starting, what is a parent to do?

Well the key to keeping it all straight is to have an assigned place for it all, this can be a simple or as complex as you want to make it, but it does require some changing of habits at first.

Here are some ideas:

1.My favorite is a family bulletin board. On ours we have a place for each kids ‘stuff’ including activity schedules, school information, phone numbers for coaches and of course any tickets/information for upcoming events. This large bulletin board is located at the back door so it is the last thing we see as we leave the house each day. Being right in front of our eyes is very important to keep things front and center.

2. Countertop file holder- this is a very popular solutions. Creating a filing system that is portable and placing it in the location that most paperwork gathers is a great way to ease into using the system. Creating a section in the files for each child’s school and activities information as well as one file for parents for anything that requires parents signatures. I suggest the signature one be a different color to mark it’s importance.

3. Individual baskets for each child and parent- counter or wall. Assigning a specific basket for each child’s information is one of the easiest ways to begin using a system…if being organized is a totally new thing for all the family, creating a very easy system to start with can ease everyone into it. Having a basket to drop things into may be the way to go for your family, although it will require a bit more time when looking for things as you will have to dig a bit, it will at least start you off in keeping things in one location. As a bonus it works great for dropping little things kids leave lying around the counter as well, as you can just drop their stuff in the appropriate basket…so when they say ‘mom have you seen…’ you can easily reply ‘did you check your basket?’

4. Binders for each child. Some people work really well with keeping information in binders, if you are naturally someone who will follow a system once it is in place then creating individual binders for each kid using page protectors to slip information into it easily can work for you. keeping the binders in a convenient location so that as school and activity paperwork comes you can easily add to the binder.

5. Family Calendar. Online or Off the creation of a family calendar can help to keep all important dates for school events and activities on parents radar, there is nothing like getting up in the morning and being reminded at the last minute that there is a school fundraiser tonight you forgot about. Getting in the habit of adding any events into the calendar as soon as the notices come into the house will save things from falling through the cracks. An online calendar can be synced with everyone’s phone so it appears on everyone’s calendar and reminders added. A paper calendar can be placed near a prominent place in the home where everyone looks at it daily.

The key to keeping paperwork contained is to create a place that is convenient and natural for your family to use. if you try and go against nature and put it in a location that requires everyone to bring it there such as an office then the system will most likely not work without a lot of nagging (which does nothing but frustrate the nagger aka mom). Embracing that all the school and activities paperwork are naturally going to collect at the entrance of your home or on the countertop of the kitchen, create an organized place for them to land in that location will save lots of time, energy and most of all frustration.

Happy Organizing,