Getting Organized to Avoid Mayhem by Dalia Faupel
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as the new school year begins – from establishing morning routines to handling piles of paperwork. How to keep the chaos under control? We asked the experts. COMMAND CENTRAL Kim Friedman of Nest, a professional organizing company based in Roswell, says that the most important thing to do before school starts is to set up a central station for incoming papers, pending projects, and homework materials. “Have a home for all that paper,” says Friedman. “The more paper we see, the more overwhelmed we feel. Things start to fall through the cracks.” Read it, mark necessary information on a calendar or planner, and put the paper away. Assign a folder or accordion file section for everything, she says, including schoolwork, extra-curricular activities and forms that need to go back to school. Putting papers away also keeps them clean, especially if they’re items you’ll want to display at a later date. Professional organizer Stephanie Christopoulos (organizedchick. com) of Snellville says that the kitchen is an ideal place to set up a “command center” for school materials. Her school paper tracking method uses a 12-section accordion folder with enough space for artwork and important papers, divided by months of the school year. She also dedicates pockets for her 6-year-old daughter’s school directory, awards, and miscellaneous items. On her refrigerator, she uses a magnetized folder for holding papers that need to be returned. She assigns the responsibility for putting them there to her daughter, and advises client families to give their kids this task as well. For housing items with return dates, like library books, Friedman uses a basket or plastic bin. “Keeping them together means nothing gets lost in the house, and you can keep it portable for easy car transfer,” she says. atlantaparent.com
Stephanie Christopoulos’ school paper tracking method
uses a 12-section accordion folder with enough space for artwork and important papers, divided by months of the school year.
SUNDAY START Both Friedman and Christopoulos advise taking time on a weekend day to plan for the coming week. On Sundays, Friedman prints out the week’s lunch menus and together with her 8-year-old son, they choose the bring/buy days for that week, and then post it in their pantry. They also check the weather and choose school day outfits, placing them in an organizer for easy access. Christopoulos prepares for the week on Sunday as well, portioning school snacks and placing them in a pantry bin for grab-and-go ease. She and her daughter also go through papers that didn’t get attention during the school week. On a particularly busy weekend, she suggests setting an early alarm for Monday and tackling that prep work then. Tracy Coney, a North Atlanta professional organizer (powerovermyspace.com) recommends clients make a weekly appointment to handle paperwork. “Create a pattern of organization and you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish quickly,” she says.
Back to School
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August 2014 Atlanta Parent 25