Creative Cleaning and Cleansing

"Less Stress from Cleaning the Mess." From decluttering to inspiration! Proverbs 31:27a

School Paperwork

SCHOOL PAPERS

Is paper taking over your home? Do you groan each time you check the mail? Are the contents of your children’s backpack waiting to take over your dining table? Help is available to control paper, and it may be simpler than you think.

1. Create a command center.

Create a regular place where all paper is kept. Mail is sorted here. Backpacks are emptied here. Receipts are deposited here. To make it a great command center, you’ll need a shredder, trash can, and at least a temporary filing system. In just a few seconds, you’ll be able to sort paper into the shredder, the trash, or an action or archive file.

2. Store digitally.

Keep digital copies of what you can. Storing things on a computer takes up less space in your home, so when possible, store items digitally. I’ve tossed out my recipe box in favor of storing recipes online. The things I need are easier to find and they don’t take up additional counter space.

3. Toss right away.

Throw out paper that isn’t needed right away. Whether you recycle it, shred it, or trash it, throw out unnecessary forms, receipts, and letters right away. The command center comes in handy for this. Instead of moving piles of junk paper around, you’ll throw it away and forget it.

4. Have a filing system in place.

Take the time to create a filing system that works for you. I have a set of temporary files, and a set of archived files. When paper comes into my command center, I can right away choose whether it’s something that should be trashed, archived, or requires action on my part. It’s filed accordingly.

5. Use a shredder.

Before I had a shredder in my command center, I always ended up with a stack of papers to remember to shred later. Often that stack would get moved around and piled up with other papers, forcing me to re-sort. Having a shredder available is a huge time-saver. Just shred it and be done.

6. Go paperless.

If possible, go paperless with as much of life as you can. More and more companies offer paperless billing options. Even schools are beginning to communicate through email and webpages more frequently. Take advantage of paperless options wherever available and you’ll have less coming into your home.

7. Set a time/date to file and clean files.

Depending on the size of your household and how much paper you receive, you’ll need to have a set time each week to file. I do mini-filing daily when I sort the mail and after school papers. Then weekly, I go through my action and archive folders in my command center and take care of those papers. Doing this regularly has gotten me into the habit of taking care of paper daily, and it’s made all the difference.

8. Teach the kids.

Teaching your children how to file their own items will save you time. My children are already learning how to evaluate the paper that they bring into our home. They can make decisions on whether those papers need an action for me, need to be archived, or can be thrown out.

9. Put it on the calendar.

Just like anything else you schedule, filing needs to be written as part of your daily plan. This is to help remind you that it’s an important part of your day. After awhile your routine will become…well, routine. But for now, writing it down in your daily planner will help keep you honest about keeping up with the influx of paper.

10. Multitask your sorting.

Sorting paper can be a great chore to multitask with. I love going through files while I watch TV. It’s a great way to get something done and not feel guilty about spending time catching up on your favorite shows.

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A Mom’s Prayer-First Day of School

Here we are again, Lord.  Their backpacks are loaded and their faces are scrubbed and their lunch accounts are full.

And I know you’ll walk with them, Lord.  You always do.  But a mom still has to ask.

Will You walk with them?  Will You whisper to them what they need to hear, when I’m not there to whisper it?

Will You please, oh please, cover their school with the protection only You can give, and will You keep harm far away?

Will You make their minds strong and ready to learn?  Will You help them understand that hard work honors the One who created them?

Will You guide their teachers, giving them patience and wisdom and creativity and more patience?  Will You bless them for their efforts?

Will You love all those children there, the ones whose lunch accounts aren’t full, the ones who feel alone?  Will You teach my children to be kind and unselfish and to love those who are different from them?

Will You point them back toward home just as soon as you can?

Lord, I give them to You today and everyday, trusting them to Your care.

Thank YOU God that you are their God!

Amen.

~~~~Author Unknown~~~

“Let my child’s light shine before others, that others may see YOUR good deeds and praise YOU, our Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

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School Stuff (Part 2 of 2) Papers

Here are some really neat suggestions to help with Papers and other items for School!

At The Beginning Of The School Year Designate A Large Envelope For Each Child’s School Papers

School papers are most useful for the school year they are issued, so start each school year off fresh with a big folder or binder, or something to keep each child’s school papers in.

I suggest getting and setting up these envelopes or folders at the same time you buy your child’s school supplies.

If your child brings home lots of stuff, you may even want to create a new one each semester or quarter. Whatever suits your needs, but the minimum is each year.

Go Through Your Child’s School Papers Daily As Part Of Their Homework Habit

As children get older they will have to do some type of homework, even on days when they don’t bring a specific worksheet home.

If nothing else, have each child show you their backpack, which they clean out to make sure there are no papers that need to be reviewed.

Then put all graded homework in their folder for that year, once you review it, to get it out of the way.

Put All Dates On The Family Calendar

Other school papers that I review have information on them, such as assignments or dates to remember on them.

All tests, quizzes, homework assignments, projects, library book return dates,Also try to write on the family calendar the dates of everything involved. School closings, school vacation or holidays, field trips and special events. All notes and newsletter info too.

Once written on the family calendar, which is in a central location, unless the school paper is really important it should be typically thrown away.

If it is important, you can place it in a folder in that childs school notebook.

Just be sure, if you do this, that you clean out this folder regularly, or you will soon have now useless information from two years ago cluttering up your home but most important you could miss something really important.

Also keep the detailed instructions about projects, because the space on the calendar nay not big enough to write all the details, just a summary.

Once the project is done, and graded, you  can generally throw the instructions away.

Every day, while your child does homework, you can look at the family calendar together to make sure you are on track for all assignments, such as studying for the spelling test tomorrow, or beginning the big assignment due next Friday to be able to do a little each day.

This crucial habit also allows you and your child to figure out if  your child is ready for the next school day, such as putting all library books in their backpack to be returned by their due date.

Put All Contact Information In Your Address Book

Each year your child may get new teachers and/or a new bus driver. I periodically need this information, which is generally passed out at the beginning of each school year.

I take the time when I get this big stack of school papers each fall to put all the information in the right locations for future quick reference when I need it.

If I didn’t do this, I would never be able to find the paper with the bus driver’s name on it, to know her phone number when I need it, for example.

And trust me, if I need to call the bus driver, it is some type of important reason, so I need that number, and I need to be able to find it quickly without a lot of hassle.

Fill Out All Paperwork Promptly And Return It To School.

I have no idea if all schools do this, but my child’s school has Friday Folders. These folders are used to bring home the majority of information for the week, on you guessed it, Friday.

A Friday Folder typically includes lots of graded homework and tests, field trip permission slips, class or school newsletters, and a menu for the school cafeteria.

I suggest going through your child’s Friday Folder while they are doing their homework and dealing with any paperwork as soon as possible.

I try to go ahead and immediately fill out permission slips or sign report cards, so I do not forget.

This habit also makes it easy to place it right back in the Friday Folder on that Friday for delivery back to the teacher by your child.

Please note that another reason that you need to check your child’s backpack at least quickly daily is because they are being entrusted to turn information back in to their teacher.

All children will occasionally forget to turn something in, such as a homework assignment or other paperwork. When you and your child check their backpack daily you can generally catch a problem before it is too late.

At The End Of The School Year Clean Out Your Child’s School Papers Folder of Non-Essentials

At the end of the school year your child’s folder will likely be stuffed with school paperwork and completed homework assignments, because of all those graded worksheets and other information.

You can use their folder as a keepsake of their school year.

I like to keep my child’s report cards, and representative homework assignments in several areas of study from various points during the school year.

I also like to keep not just the A+ work, but I also like to keep some things which show them struggling and then improving in various areas of study.

That is more like real life and what really happened then just the perfect scores.

You don’t need to, and in my opinion, shouldn’t keep all the school papers that your child brings home once the school year is over. It just becomes a big pile of clutter once the school year is over. So cull out the repetitive parts and just keep the gems.

I hope these few ideas have helped you spur some of your own for to stay organize and help track of the mountains of school paperwork.

So now it is your turn. My way is not the only right way, and maybe your way will work better for another person reading this. Tell me below how you keep track of your child’s school papers.

May your life be full of information!

~Assorted Sources

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School Stuff (Part 1 of 2) ~ The Basics

Is paper taking over your home? Do you groan each time you check the mail? Are the contents of your children’s backpack waiting to take over your dining table? Help is available to control paper, and it may be simpler than you think.

1. Create a command center.

Create a regular place where all paper is kept. Mail is sorted here. Backpacks are emptied here. Receipts are deposited here. To make it a great command center, you’ll need a shredder, trash can, and at least a temporary filing system. In just a few seconds, you’ll be able to sort paper into the shredder, the trash, or an action or archive file.

2. Store digitally.

Keep digital copies of what you can. Storing things on a computer takes up less space in your home, so when possible, store items digitally. I’ve tossed out my recipe box in favor of storing recipes online. The things I need are easier to find and they don’t take up additional counter space.

3. Toss right away.

Throw out paper that isn’t needed right away. Whether you recycle it, shred it, or trash it, throw out unnecessary forms, receipts, and letters right away. The command center comes in handy for this. Instead of moving piles of junk paper around, you’ll throw it away and forget it.

4. Have a filing system in place.

Take the time to create a filing system that works for you. I have a set of temporary files, and a set of archived files. When paper comes into my command center, I can right away choose whether it’s something that should be trashed, archived, or requires action on my part. It’s filed accordingly.

5. Use a shredder.

Before I had a shredder in my command center, I always ended up with a stack of papers to remember to shred later. Often that stack would get moved around and piled up with other papers, forcing me to re-sort. Having a shredder available is a huge time-saver. Just shred it and be done.

6. Go paperless.

If possible, go paperless with as much of life as you can. More and more companies offer paperless billing options. Even schools are beginning to communicate through email and webpages more frequently. Take advantage of paperless options wherever available and you’ll have less coming into your home.

7. Set a time/date to file and clean files.

Depending on the size of your household and how much paper you receive, you’ll need to have a set time each week to file. I do mini-filing daily when I sort the mail and after school papers. Then weekly, I go through my action and archive folders in my command center and take care of those papers. Doing this regularly has gotten me into the habit of taking care of paper daily, and it’s made all the difference.

8. Teach the kids.

Teaching your children how to file their own items will save you time. My children are already learning how to evaluate the paper that they bring into our home. They can make decisions on whether those papers need an action for me, need to be archived, or can be thrown out.

9. Put it on the calendar.

Just like anything else you schedule, filing needs to be written as part of your daily plan. This is to help remind you that it’s an important part of your day. After awhile your routine will become…well, routine. But for now, writing it down in your daily planner will help keep you honest about keeping up with the influx of paper.

10. Multitask your sorting.

Sorting paper can be a great chore to multitask with. I love going through files while I watch TV. It’s a great way to get something done and not feel guilty about spending time catching up on your favorite shows.

http://housekeeping.about.com/od/organizing101/a/controlpaper.htm

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Back to School-Basic Organization

Move over, summer–a new school year is coming!

With the start of school, families face new organization challenges. School bells ring–and so do early-morning alarm clocks. Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Can the holidays be far behind?

Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead:

  • Create Calendar Central

Each school year floats on a sea of schedules. School functions. Lunch menus. Scout meetings and music lessons. What do you do when you’re drowning in paper?

Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You’ll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.

Form is less important than function. A paper calendar with large squares lets you enter information easily. Pre-printed white board calendars are easy to revise when necessary. Color-coding entries by family member helps keep busy lives straight.

Planner users dedicate a planner section to serve as Calendar Central, while tech-savvy  store the info in a smart phone and sync with multiple computers. Choose a calendar format that works for your family.

Post the family event calendar in a public place near the telephone. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board.

Add other calendars to Calendar Central: school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules. When the room mother calls for field trip volunteers, you’ll know at a glance whether you’re free to join the group on the bus that day.

  • Ease the family into a school year schedule.

The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually.

During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they’ll need to rise when school begins.

Don’t neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks to accustom little ones to rituals of the school day before the school year begins.

  • Check before you shop

August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Back to school clothing sales begin as early as July! Are you prepared to run the school clothes gauntlet?

An informed shopper is a savvy shopper, so prepare before you shop. Take an afternoon and assess each child’s clothing needs. Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either store or donate the discards.

Working with your child, clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added–and cut down on school morning calls of “Mom! I don’t have any clean . . . . ”

Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you’ll avoid in-the-store tantrums.

Similarly, ask the school for classroom supply lists before shopping for school supplies. Forewarned is forearmed … and helps protect the family budget.

Do shop early! With back-to-school sales beginning in mid-July, tardy shoppers have a tough time locating needed supplies among September’s Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations.

  • Gather your papers

School entry may require documentation from immunization records to report cards from the previous school year. A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches.

Call your child’s school beforehand to find out what paperwork will be required–then find it! You won’t be sorry come registration day.

  • Take aim on morning madness

How are school mornings in your home? Crazed and chaotic, or calm and cheerful? Plan ahead to send your schoolchildren out the door in a happy mood.

Each evening, think ahead to the following morning. Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes. Lay out children’s clothing the night before.

Multi-child households may need a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror.

What do you do about books and papers, lunch money and permission slips? Make a specific place for each so that no one will be without.

  • Spiff up household systems

A new school year quickens the tempo of family life. Sports activities, music lessons, church programs and volunteer commitments tap parental time and put new mileage on the mini-van.

Get organized! Spiff up your household systems to meet autumn’s faster pace”

Take a stab at speed cleaning and whip through household chores in record time.

Cut time in the kitchen: create a menu plan and never again wonder “What’s for dinner?”

Try a session of freezer cooking and stock the freezer with prepared meals for stress-free dinners on sports nights.

Whatever you do, just know that if you make your family a priority…then everything else will be GREAT!

Enjoy your last few Summer Moments and Make Back to School Simple and Super!

 

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Back to School Beginning Hints

Make Life Easier!

Pack lunches the night before and refrigerate!

Make sure backpacks are packed and ready to go the night before.

Create a homework center. Stock with extra crayons and supplies needed to complete homework. Make sure it’s not near a t.v.

Lay out clothes the night before.

Remember kids need to make as many decisions as possible. Avoid power struggles by letting them make small decisions.

Create a special hamper in the laundry room for uniforms and other rush items.

Fold T-shirts so that the design is recognizable without unfolding.

Each evening have a 30 minute family clean up time to get everything back in place.

Back To School Shopping!

Buy smaller glue and crayons. Space is limited and teachers stress children sometimes lose these items easily.

Remember school dress rules when buying clothing. Some schools have rules about the verbage appearing on t-shirts.

Don’t buy plastic scissors for your school aged children as they just don’t perform up to standards.

Consider the new velcro straps for books as some schools require backpacks be stored upon arrival at school.

Buy socks that are all the same for easy matching at laundry time.

Make sure to buy lots of extras before school starts. Take advantage of the lower prices.

Again when possible let kids choose their own items or at least the color or design.

Buy a good backpack and lunch box as these are probably the most abused. Save on the trendy stuff.

Make sure you buy a lunch box or backpack that your small child can open easily.

When buying shoes buy extra shoe strings and polish if necessary.

If you have trouble telling your kids’ socks and underwear apart; Buy different brands as they usually have a different colored stripe, or band on them.

Back To School Prep!

About 2 weeks before school starts: Begin going to bed and getting up on a school schedule.

The weekend before school starts: Don’t make any stressful plans for big events or trips.

Don’t forget to check out that bus schedule!

Call your school or organization and get the facts about fall sports teams and social clubs. Don’t be late or miss something!

Make sure to get all immunizations and physical completed.

Make a master list of Mom and Dads phone numbers along with doctors and emergency numbers. You are sure to need these several times.

If you have medical concerns make sure to meet with the school nurse prior to the first day. Especially if medicine must be given at school.

Get a couple of rolls of quarters and dimes. Put them in the cabinet so you don’t have to hunt for change at the last minute.

Make a check list of items easily forgotten at the last minute and hang it in an obvious place.

Put up several hooks for backpacks, jackets, and lunch boxes. Don’t hang them too High!

Make up some freezeable lunch and breakfast items for those crazy days. Thaw and nuke!

Label, Label, Label; All items that will be taken to school or worn and taken off at school!

Make a list of rules and adjustments for school days: Homework schedule, tv schedule, bath time, bed time etc…

Make sure to arrange afterschool daycare!

Save 35 mm film canisters for change in lunchbox.

Try to set up a time to meet the teacher; some schools provide this occasion.

Go over school rules with your child.

Make a calendar to place in a visible spot; fill in events and school vacation days.

Make a special box for your children to place forms from school which need special attention.

By Cynthia – Organized Home

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Back to School

Yes, it’s back to school and school is in session!

Here are some ideas to help stay organized and clutter free.

1) Have a magazine bin for each child and label each bin with his/her name and grade. The child can pick their own color too. Then the papers that relate to each child can be put in their bin and when you need a paper or need to check on something it’s easier to find.

2) Have a specific place for shoes, backpacks, and lunch kits. Keep this place for leaving for school and coming home from school.  If you need floor space use hooks and place them in order of oldest to help with location and organization.

3) Clothes–get clothes out each night before you go to bed that way it’s easier to get dressed.

4) Lunches, homework, and other items that need to be taken to school should be made and ready to go before going to bed. This way lunch will not be forgotten as easily and other items are at school and the children are prepared.

5) Have a morning schedule/routine. Allow about 5-10 minutes for the child to wake up. Set timers to help stay focused so you won’t be late.

6) Have an afternoon schedule/routine.  Most children are hungry when they get home, so have a snack ready. Then a plan for homework and a moment to relax.  Get ready for dinner, and bath.

7) Have a bedtime routine.  No matter how old sleeping in important. So wet a time for bed. Allow 10-15 minutes before to brush teeth, get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, get clothes together etc… then lights out.

8) Make sure you read all paperwork. You don’t want to miss something that involves your child.

9) Make sure have the schools telephone number programmed in your phone, just in case they call you or you have to call them. And it’s good to have the nurse’s direct line as well.

10) Be involved and volunteer as much as you can.  It’s very important that your child knows that you are excited about school just as much as they are…and by being a part of school activities, shows support to the school and the community around you.

These are just a few basic steps to think about.  If you want specific for your children and your personal schedule please feel free to email me and I will be glad to share more with you.

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