Quote: “It’s not about perfection. It’s about working with excellence.” – Jessie Pedraza, Naples business owner of Ordered Excellence
I love this quote from Jessie, a professional organizer in Naples, because she wants everyone to feel like organization is possible in anyone’s home. You don’t have to have all the perfect organizing bins, baskets, shelves, etc. All you need to do is use what you have and find ways to make the space better for your needs. I have worked with Jessie first-hand on organizing my own home office space. She was so helpful in asking key questions like, “Do you need these files immediately or stored?” We eventually discussed other home organizing tips in regards to my kids. I was so impressed with her simple yet sensible answers that I immediately felt at ease about organizing on my own.
For example, Jessie taught me how to take all the papers I had saved of my kids’ schoolwork and condense it from 5 bins per kid to 5 folders per kid. This process was definitely difficult because I had to discard 90% of the papers, but I loved seeing the finished product – one small bin for each kid with a folder of about 20 papers from each school year. After completing this project, I realized that this summer was the time to get prepared for the school year. I didn’t want to waste all this time sorting through all the paper at the end of the year.
The process for this year will be to give each kid a bin. They would place graded papers in the bin but hang up other reminders and communication on their clipboard. My kids start their homework and eat an after school snack immediately after school. As they work, I usually discuss with them their graded paper and other important reminders. This is a good habit that helps us know what we need to get done that night or what to put on the calendar to complete in the future. On Fridays, I’m going to add one more step – go through the bin. I will only keep one or two graded papers – you know, the ones that show your child’s best work for that grade.
As a mom of 4 now and 3 going to school this fall, I’m excited to not only have a process for all those papers but also to get my home organized for all the homework, extra curricular activities, and important reminders. I want to make sure I have a system in place to stay on top of everything and help my kids become responsible for their own activities as well. As I searched for tips on getting a system in place, I noticed that Jessie from Ordered Excellence posted an awesome flier (below) on her Facebook page that helped me get started.
She suggests to “create a notice board.” I created more of a “notice wall” in my laundry room. We’ve always used our laundry room to hang up notices; but this year, I added these super cute yellow ruler clip boards to the space to hang up important school papers. I label the different areas of the wall with each kid’s name. I bought these ruler clip boards in the dollar section at Target for $3 each.
Jessie also recommends creating a “workspace for homework.” We’ve tried using a workspace in the kids’ bedrooms, but they aren’t really old enough to complete all of their homework on their own. They usually have a question or two, so we use our kitchen island as our homework space. I’m usually preparing dinner right after school, so using the island allows us all to to be in the same room so that I can answer questions quickly.
Probably one of Jessie’s most important tips is to “have supplies on hand.” This tips seems so logical, but how many times has your child asked, “Where is the tape, scissors, crayons, glue, etc.?” while trying to complete his/her homework. Our island is also the place where we keep all of our school supplies, since we have lots of cabinet space. You might use a desk, tray or bin – whatever is a handy and organized space that your kids can find all their necessary supplies to complete their homework.
This last tip is one of my own that has helped our family tremendously. Most families keep a calendar, which is a great way to keep everyone in the family in the loop of the activities going on. We needed to take this a step further – by using a chalkboard in our mudroom/entryway. The chalkboard lists the activities for the week. It’s large enough (about 3’x4′) to list several activities for each day. Every Sunday evening, I will update the chalkboard with field trips, school activities, after-school activities, birthday parties, and weekend events. Everyone in the family (who can read) is expected to check the calendar every day so that we can all remind each other who needs to do what and how to prepare for that day.
Depending on the ages of your kids and the space you have in your home, everyone will organize in various ways. We hope these tips work for your home regardless of space and age. The main idea is to plan ahead to designate spaces in your home that will be easy and functional for everyone to stay organized throughout the school year. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments to this post! Happy 2019-2020 school year!
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