Paralyzed by paper

Chris,
Paper, paper everywhere.
So, what do I do with it?
School work
Special cards
artwork
notes
invitations
etc.

Please HELP!

Signed,
Paralyzed by Paper

Dear Paralyzed by Paper,

Oh, paper. This is one of the banes of my existence and I am sure every mother out there. There isn’t enough room in anyone’s house for all the paper that children generate. Somedays I feel like my children are single handedly responsible for wiping out all the mature forests in our country.

The key to any system is actually doing it. I know that sounds simplistic, but how many times have you begun a new organization system, have your hopes set high, only to abandon it several days or weeks later. You need to find a system that works for you and stick to it. Even when you don’t want to.

That said, I am ruthless. I save very little.

Get an invitation? Immediately write all the pertinent information on the calendar and toss the invitation in the trash. You don’t need it.

I have a HUGE calendar. One of those desk blotter sized ones. There is room on there to write everything that I could possibly need to write, including the phone numbers for parties or doctor appointments. I use my different colored highlighters for different things. Baseball games are yellow, doctor appointments green, etc. This way I can glance from across the room and easily see what is going on for the next few weeks.

Don’t think you have room for a huge calendar? What about on the back of a closet door? Keep your pen tied to the thumbtack there so it is always handy. Do you have a pantry in your kitchen? That is where I keep mine. I don’t like clutter. You’ll never see things taped to the front of my refrigerator.

Cards? Store bought go in the trash as soon as possible without being offensive. I don’t think I have ever read the card over the open trash can, but I’ve come close.

Homemade cards I’ll cherish, clutch to my bosom, and shower the recipient with my undying gratitude and love, before quietly disposing of it. If it is really spectacular and not another rendition of MOTHER written down the side of the card with words like Mommy- Old- Tells Me What To Do, etc. I’ll take a picture of the child holding the card, before I file the card away in my special storage cabinet, aka the outside garbage can.

I have one large drawer in my pantry where I put works of art. Every so often I go through and determine the best representative artwork they have done, books they have written, etc and toss the rest. Anything not able to be stored flat or worthy of public display is tossed. Egg carton caterpillars with glues on wiggly eyes? Cute, but buh-bye. Anything made out of a discarded coffee can? Oh how clever, but buh-bye. Any sort of pen holder, ashtray, paper weight. They go in my special cabinet straight away.

I display my children’s artwork.

Children's Artwork

I have many paintings matted and framed, hanging on my walls. I have pottery on display, and ceramic creations hanging on the wall.
Children's ceramics

It is a nice way to make the house feel like it belongs to the children. It makes them proud of their contribution to the decorating. Framing just makes it look nicer and more polished than scotch tape.

Since we homeschool, I probably keep more of my children’s school papers than a parent who has a child in traditional school would need to. I put their papers into colored folders, each child has their own folder. At the end of the year I put all the consumable books they have used and folders into a box and put it into the attic.

I go through the mail as soon as I come home with it. Everything that isn’t a magazine or a bill is tossed right away. Sometimes I get rid of the extra stuff at the post office in their recycling bins so that I don’t even have to cart it home. Then I put the mail where it belongs. Yes it has it’s own place.

Look at these organization systems at Pottery Barn. But don’t shop there, unless you have lots of money to spend on something you can get much cheaper somewhere else. See how you can make something similar yourself for much less money, that will suit your needs perfectly.

Good luck. And if all else fails you can make a bunch of paper airplanes and wear some large paper hats.

A Large Paper Hat

2 Responses to “Paralyzed by paper”

  1. jennifer g. Says:

    Hi!

    I discovered these wonderful art frame “cabinets” that hold up to 100 flat projects, so I got one for each of the kids. I still have to be selective about what we save, but it’s very easy to switch out the displayed picture because the front opens like a door. They’re called L’il DaVinci, and you can get them at http://www.dynamicframes.com.

    Also, we use the back sides of old school papers for the “books” my five-year-old son produces daily. It’s kind of neat to read about whatever adventures he’s written and see his progress from the past school year on the facing pages.

    Thanks for the tips and the laughter you provide–I’m a faithful reader of your other blog!

    Jennifer

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