Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pretty Spring Cleaning and Organization

Spring always makes me think of spring cleaning. Anyone with children is always looking for better ways of becoming organized. Here are a few of my ways of staying on top of the many children's needs. I love bags! They are perfect for staying organized and being able to move quickly. The above bags hang by my front door. Each child has one. The girls' bags I made with a longer and thicker handle so they could carry them more as purses, and the boys' bags I made with a short handle to just be carried on their hand or wrist. I also embroidered each child's name on their bag. Every time we head out the door the children grab their bag. My kids usually add their own small stuff to it. However, there are a few items that must be in there. They each have a pair of sunglasses, a water bottle, and a hat. One of them also has sunscreen and hand sanitizer! We live in the dessert. So these are essentials year round. I hate being out and about and deciding not to do something spontaneous because we weren't prepared for the kids to be in the sun! I also include that week's spelling list or other flashcards that I add depending on what academic area they could use help in, as well as a small notebook and pencil. This way when we are running errands, they have plenty to keep them occupied. I have found the time driving in the car, waiting on appointments, etc to really add up. This is valuable time that can be spent on their homework or the flashcards.
This is a sign that I made that is by my front entry way. It's a great way for the kids to show off crafts, papers, or anything else that the kids made/did that day! I laminated this for extra durability!
Another bag. I seriously love bags. This was a plain canvas bag that I bought, though you could very easily make one yourself (and I have in the past). I embroidered my daughter's name on it as well as adding other embellishments on the outside, to turn this into her dance bag.
I also added a liner to the bag so that it would have pockets. On one side of the liner I made a closed pocket (that was divided in two for better organization) for money and hair accessories. On the other side of the bag I made 2 much larger pockets. These were for her shoes to slip into. The center portion is where she puts a water bottle and her dance clothes! When it's time for dance, all she has to do is grab her leotard and tights from out of her bag and get changed. Then, we grab the bag and go. It takes us less than 5 minutes for her to be ready and heading out the door!
My kids have hooks in their bedroom where their activity bags are hung. They each have one for each of their activities that they are in. The bags house whatever items are needed for that activity such as balls, uniforms, etc. Then, they are organized and ready to go when it's time to get to practice or a game!
My system rounds out by also having a calendar and a cork board. The calendar is actually on the corkboard. We fill in EVERYONE's activities onto the calendar, to make sure it will all work! I fill in things like Birthday parties on this as well. I hang up the Birthday Invitations and information on events, to the corkboard around the calendar. I post papers that I want to see the whole thing at a glance, such as sports schedules, or the children's "good grade certificates" (you know, all the gift certificates that your children get to restaurants for their good grades or good behavior). I also put coupons I know we will be using, on this corkboard. A final touch on this corkboard is that I have awesome pushpins that I made that are my children's faces! This helps me to see, at a glance, whose schedule or party it is. I will be showing you how I made those, soon!
Last are my clipboards. These really help me to keep the kids' paperwork accessible and organized. No more losing book orders, class information, or field trip forms!
I love clip boards. And paper. So, I altered some cheap-o clip boards. I'm sure you can all figure out how to do them. I did one of these for each of my children.
I then chose coordinating paper for each child. I went with that child's favorite color! Then, I topped each one with that child's initial.
I hung all of these one on top of each other, right next to my computer.
I knew that my children and I would be taking these down to use them and so I also made coordinating tags to hold the place of each clipboard when it was in use, to help keep this system organized.
I use these for the onslaught of papers that children tend to have. I found that once I had more than one child in school, I needed a better system to keep me organized. The kids all have so much paperwork. I have these hold the paperwork for things that need to be held onto longer than a day or two (things needing to be immediately returned go straight back into their backpacks, or are clipped to a corkboard by the front door to be grabbed on the way out the door).
Some ideas of what are clipped to these boards are each child's school calendar, papers with information on things that are ongoing, sports team rosters, suggested reading lists, etc.
This has been such a lifesaver for me as I used to have one pile of kids paperwork to dig through every time I was looking. Now, it is at least narrowed down by that child.

I would love to see what creative things everyone else does to keep organized! Just leave a comment here, and add pictures to our flikr group!


chinamommy said...

i have one word for your organized self: WOW!

MammaDucky said...

Holy moly. I bow down to your organizational skills.

Dana Tate said...

These are some great ideas. Love the clipboards.

the monkeys' mama said...

Martha Stewart would be jealous

Unknown said...

What great ideas.. even for someone with no kids! I love bags too.

Myrnie said...

Oh goodness. I have a basket I stuff the mail in?? You are awesome!

Alison said...

Oh you smarty pants...

Tricia said...

These are wonderful! With 5 kids, I needed a new idea for organizing and this is perfect.

Katherine Marie! said...

LOVE all your organizing ideas!!! Clips are my addiction too... :):) I covered mine, but I can never get it looking good around the clip part?? What's the trick??

I'm going to implement your BAG system--- that's such a fantastic idea--- always have everything ready to go!!

THANK YOU for the inspiration!!!!

Rana said...

Love the bags, love the clip boards! What can I say I love it all.

Chris Clark said...

Wow. Can you come and organize me? I don't even have kids at all and i'm way less organized than that.