Just like most Netflix addicts, I was hooked on Tidying Up at the beginning of January and moved from room to room decluttering. I tossed clothes and things and then everything came to a complete stop when I ran into the “paper” stage. I finally realized that the biggest paper problem is KID PAPER! It just keeps showing up! I swear when we are all sleeping, they have babies and multiply!

I came up with a system to manage the kids’ paper problem. I think Marie Kondo would approve. Now if only I could find a solution for all the kids tiny little misplaced toys that float around. 

Give It A Landing Pad

Designate a spot where you can put all the paper that comes home from school right when you walk in or where you empty backpacks. This will help keep everything together and easy to find when you need it. We have a desk as you come in from the garage. Their backpacks get hung close to it so this is our landing area. I use this as my sorting area and I found a gold file holder from Target that brings me JOY!

Toss Things Right Away

Go through folders and bags immediately and toss things that are not necessary, you’ve gotten already or that you don’t need. This helps widdle the pile to a manageable level. Once the pile doesn’t seem as overwhelming, it’s easy to go through what’s left. 

When you find a paper with an important date, take a picture and save it to your phone. That way it’s easy to find the information on the go. It helps if you can assign it to a school paper album. 

Fill out and return immediately

For things that need to be filled out, signed and returned, try to do these immediately and get them right back into the “send back to school” folder. This keeps you from stressing over missing papers later on.

File The Memories

My biggest issue is that everything seems important and memorable and I hate tossing art and misspelled papers. To combat this, I came up with a filing system. Each child gets a pretty folder for papers I can’t mark immediately. As I go through “memory papers” I write my kiddo’s name (if it’s not already on there), the date and their age on the back of the paper and then they are put into a storage bin. When we leave for practices, I can grab the folder to sort/label and it gets emptied into the storage bin when I get home and stored in the closet. When I’m a little less nostalgic, I can edit down the memories and keep just the most important pieces.

Turn art into seasonal decor!

This tip came from my Mom and I love it. For “seasonal” and holiday art, I label with name/date/age and I put them in a separate folder to take to the nearest teacher supply area that has a laminator. I make huge sheets with the art and cut out as needed. Then I use them to decorate for the holidays! The kids get a kick out of seeing their old art work. The laminating keeps it safe and seeing how their art changes is so fun. 

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Drop me your favorite ways to display or control your kid clutter…new tips always welcome!


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A Florida native, Chenoa is originally from Miami but has been living in Maitland for 22 years with a short 2-year break where she lived in (and fell in love with) Raleigh, NC. She's part "adopted Southern charm" with a streak of feisty Miami girl! She's Mom to two strong-willed, preemie babies, a 25 weeker and a 35 weeker, who now are thriving big kids (6yr old girl and 3yr old boy). They have led to a hot mess parenting style that's fueled by coffee to get through the day and wine to try and soothe the nerves at night. She's married to her college sweetheart who she met at the University of Central Florida (GO KNIGHTS) while studying English-Creative Writing and the fine art of Greek life. She's a DIY junkie who loves Fixer Upper (of course), loves reading, cooking and writing. When out and about with her husband, sans kids, she loves eating at new local places around Winter Park, enjoying coffee from a favorite local coffee shop or enjoying a date night at Eden Bar in Maitland. Her adventures through motherhood have included recently transitioning from full-time working Mom to stay-at-home Mom, raising a sassy, hilarious little girl and helping her silly little guy navigate some developmental delays that have challenged her to slow down and let him guide her way. She hasn't lost hope that she can control all the things that parenting brings and her kids haven't given up trying to prove her wrong. Her husband is the Helicopter Parent to her Free Range which is the perfect topping to the chaos of everyday life! She frequents social media and uses her Instagram to document the fleeting moments of "put-togetherness" that occasionally happen by accident...sometimes.



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