5 Small Ways to Cut Back on Clutter

by Esther Simon

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Being an organized mom is somewhat like being an artist.  You just need some good supplies, tools and a little good advice. 

Everyone knows that there is an artist within all of us.  It just needs to be drawn out and given a chance to perform.  I would challenge each mom to give it a positive try.  Here are some tools and advice I would give to the mom who wants to be organized:

Practice Smart Scheduling

Start by using a separate clipboard for each child to keep track of his/her school permission slips, doctor’s appointments, or paper work.  Mark their appointments in your own Day Timer or Smart phone so you remember dates of field trips and other special events. 

Create a "Family Yellow Pages" 

First, buy a 3-ring binder and plastic sheet protectors.  Slide in your class rosters, religious groups’ rosters, Mommy and Me lists, and other often referenced lists.  This notebook can also be used to keep coupons, emergency numbers, and miscellaneous things that you don’t want to toss, such as favorite jokes, quotes, or articles.  The Family Yellow Pages will become your best friend.  You don’t want to ever lose your best friend, so keep it by your kitchen desk or phone for easy access.

Start a Supply Center

Create an arts and crafts center to keep supplies.  Use plastic containers for things your kids need and want handy: Crayons, glue sticks, rulers, scissors, glitter, construction paper, etc.  Don’t keep junk: If it’s broken, throw it away.  Keep the arts and crafts center where you want your kids to do these activities:  Kitchen, playroom, or bedroom.  You can put it on a rolling cart if you lack cabinet space. 

Saving Kid's Artwork

Create kids’ art portfolios by buying a thick plastic art portfolio (available at Michael’s or Pearl Art Supply) to store large artwork: this can be stored under the bed or behind a bookshelf.  Date all the work!  For actual schoolwork, use a banker’s box or storage box (Staples) that accommodates hanging folders to subdivide by holiday or grade.  Be selective.  Don’t save every scribble.  The best tip is to take picture of your kids holding up some work/pictures before you toss them!

Extra Storage Tips

Other storage tips include buying a 64-gallon plastic flip-top containers (Target) for dress up clothes, holiday decorations etc.  Create a hanging file system with separate hanging files for report cards and evaluations, medical records and immunizations, extracurricular awards and certificates. 

These small tips will make either a better artist or a better organized mom!

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