I want to share an organization tip that is so helpful in my family. I am hoping it will help other FlyBabies as well.
I have four children, ages 3-11. Needless to say, our schedule is very full with many activities. As well, a lot of papers come into our house from school, day care and various other activities. Keeping on top of things can be challenging, as both my husband and I work full-time outside of the home. Papers used to go into a big pile that was a huge hotspot and resulted in missed notices and an unsightly mess near the front entry way. Thanks to routines and FlyLady tools, we turned it around into a much more manageable endeavour.
The first key to our success is the FlyLady Calendar, which has been a mainstay in our home for several years now. To keep everyone’s activities and appointments in order without having to write each person’s name next to every single activity, I use colour-coding. I purchase packs of multi-coloured, erasable pens. I then keep the pack of pens in the sleeve in the back of the calendar. (I love that sleeve! It is so useful.) These are the special “calendar pens” and they are not used for ANYTHING ELSE EVER!!! Each person is assigned one colour that never changes, so it becomes easy to remember as the colour is always associated with the same person. The activity and time are simply written on the calendar in that person’s colour without the need to write their name for everything. For example, red is for my 7-year-old, so I would write “Swimming 6:30-7:00” in red on each day that he has a swimming lesson. His schedule is then clear with a glance at the calendar.
The second important tool is that each child also has a magnetic clip on the side on the fridge for important papers that need my signature or some other type of action (permission forms, notices, etc.). The FlyLady Calendar Magnets work great for this, as they can hold a lot of papers and still stay firmly attached to the surface they are stuck to. I have put a coloured sticker on each child’s clip to correspond to the colour I use for their activities on the calendar. So again, everyone knows at a glance, which clip belongs to which person.
The third and arguably most important part is the routine! Each morning and evening, as part of my routine, I look at the calendar to see what each person has in their schedule that day. I also go through the papers on each person’s clip. That way, signed papers are put on the Launch Pad when needed, and notices are written directly onto the calendar so that extra papers can be decluttered quickly. My children also have their routine—as soon as they arrive home from school or activities, they have to empty their bags and put all notices on their own clips. (We still help the youngest child with this, but the older ones do it by themselves.)
Paper clutter and organization is a battle that requires constant vigilance, but with the calendar, clips and a system of regularly checking things, it can stay mostly under control.
Thanks FlyLady for your inspiration and all the wonderful tools!
FlyBaby Jennifer in Ottawa, Canada