Staying Organized When School Starts

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One of the things I most dislike about the start of school is the mounds of paperwork that accompany the event.  When you multiply lots of kids and lots of paperwork, it can become overwhelming to keep everything in order.  The bottom line is that you need a way to make sure papers get signed, important dates get recorded, etc.

No doubt that you have created some sort of system for yourself by this time!  Now is the time to consider how well that system is working for you and what things you need to change before the start of school this year.

For example, many experts in organization say to get a calendar for the fridge where you can write down activities and events.  Supposedly, the whole family is supposed to be able to see the master schedule at all times, and this will avoid conflict in scheduling.  In our home, the dog likes to eat the calendar page off the refrigerator, and I had to keep the calendar low so that the shorter kids could see the calendar.  Perhaps after our Labrador retriever grows out of the puppy stage, this idea may work for our family. It certainly doesn’t work now.

I found that it was necessary to keep a pocket calendar in my purse with all of the appointments and events listed.  That way, I didn’t have any scheduling conflicts.  For example, in the past it was common for me to schedule an evening appointment only to find out that another child had a school event on the same day or same time when I came home and consulted the master schedule.  Either that or I’d forget to write down the appointment and incur “missed appointment fees”! 

I keep color coded folders in a cabinet in the kitchen.  I have a folder for each child, and a master folder.  In the master folder, I have information like doctor, dentist, and other important phone numbers.  I also keep copies of shot records and other important information here.  This really saves time when I have to fill out forms!  I have all the information in one place.

The children’s files have a calendar page that I print out from the computer along with information that I need from the school.  For example, I’ll put a copy of the school calendar in their folder as well.  I also make sure that the important dates are listed in my pocket calendar, not just the school calendar.  The children can list important dates, test schedules or whatever they want on their calendar in their folder.  I’ll keep receipts or other items in the folder pockets for easy access too.

My system may not work at all for you, but it’s important to come up with some way to keep your household running smoothly!  What system do you have set up in order to stay organized?

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