Where is that note? Creating a “School File it Folder”

 

This where I admit, that over the years, as a teacher, I have destroyed a small forest with the amount of paperI have sent home.  The discussing, planning, seeking approval, writing, editing, copying, sending home of notes only to be often asked to replace them because they have been lost between school and home! 

I can not stress enough how important it is as a parent to……..

KEEP TRACK OF THE PAPER THAT COMES HOME FROM SCHOOL!

Other wise you may miss important occasions, get the middle of the night parent teacher interview time or even worse your child misses an excursion!

Master O is yet to start school and already we have a folder full of paper!  That’s right a whole folder!  I mentioned it briefly when we set up our Organisation Station but here is how our “SCHOOL FILE IT FOLDER”  works.

THE SYSTEM

First there is a system. 

  1. READ. Check for notes DAILY.  Check bags, lunchboxes, communication books and if you can the school website.
  2. WRITE. Write down ALL DATES immediately.  We write them on our family calendar and in my “Inner B Mum Organiser”  Be sure to write in your diary when the note needs returning AND when the event is taking place.
  3. ACT. What do you need to with this information?
  • Does it need returning?  If it does, fill it out and put it back in their school bag immediately!
  • Do you need it for future reference?  File it away in your “SCHOOL FILE IT FOLDER”
  • Do you need to tell anybody else about the event?
  • Organise different pick up arrangements or a day off work?

SCHOOL FILE IT FOLDER

This folder acts as a file for ALL IMPORTANT pieces of paper that come home from school.  You can expect the following kinds of notes.

  • Enrolment Forms
  • Student Handbooks
  • Uniform Lists
  • Book Lists
  • Tuckshop Menu’s
  • Newsletters – School
  • Newsletters – Class
  • School Contact Details
  • Fee Statements
  • Excursions
  • Special Days and Celebrations
  • Calendar of Events
  • Rosters
  • Curriculum Information
  • Parent Contact Details

Do you see what I mean about a lot of paper!!!! 

HOW TO SET IT UP

I use:

  • An A4 Ring Binder
  • Plastic Pockets
  • Subject dividers with clear insertable tabs. (Extra Wide)
  • Clear Plastic Pocket with Velcro closure
  • Label maker
The extra wide dividers help separate your folder into sections.  Place them in the folders and decide what your main categories will be
I have used; 
  • Newsletters
  • Fees
  • Tuckshop
  • Notes
  • Class
Place a few plastic pockets behind each category.
I use a large pocket folder at the front to hold bulkier items such as labels and receipts.
Create a cover!    DONE!  
I keep our folder in our Organisation Station so it always part of our wider household organisation and at my fingertips!
You now have a system, a place and some order to your everest high pile of school papers!  If only I could find a system for dealing with my everest high pile of washing!  Would it fit in a folder?
 
 
 

 
 

Meal Planning 101

 We have now been meal planning for more than six months!  I have to admit we have been a bit relaxed about meal planning during the holidays (read too relaxed to do much of anything!) but we are now gearing up to get back on track.  We have had more time during the holidays to think about our meals and shop at the last minute but we have noticed our grocery bill skyrocket!  I mean triple the amount we usually spend!!!

So now my tips for meal planning.  I know I have published them before but due to the number of requests here they are AGAIN!!!

1. 7 Days of Creation.  
For us it is a strictly 7 day plan.  I can’t think that far ahead and grocery shopping with two children in tow means that a weeks worth of groceries already takes us two hours!

2. Don’t just think dinners.  
I try and plan it so that Wednesday’s and Thursday’s dinner meals are left over worthy so that I can take them for lunch the following day.  This has meant we are saving a further $10-15 a week on lunches!

3.  Kids Menu. 
 I try to plan meals that are easy for children to eat or can easily be altered, it saves cooking two different dinners!

4.  Make it Mondays.  
Our grocery store pamphlets arrive Sunday’s.  They are loaded with specials that inspire many ideas and they often have recipes and meal suggestions inside!  Our woolworths has it’s specials starting on a Monday. Hence I plan on Sunday and shop on Monday’s.

5.  Shop around.  
Ok so it is not as convenient BUT…we have Aldi, Woolworths and a Dollar Store at our local shopping centre.  After a month of shopping I know which products are cheaper at each store! I generally start at Aldi, then Woolworths.  I can’t rave about Aldi enough especially after this week they announced they will be removing all products with artificial colours from the shelves!
6. Do not shop without your plan and list.
We have all read about how much extra money you spend when you shop without a list.  Now times that saving by two for a plan and a list!  When you have a plan you only buy what is on the plan.  No vegetables rotting in the bottom of the fridge because you bought them without a purpose!

NOW HERE IS A BIG ONE
We have developed a Monthly Plan for household shopping.  
We were living with a horrible cycle of everything running out at once! 
Toilet paper, cleaning products, toiletries it would be a huge budget blowout, we would stock up again to face a month later that everything had run out at the same time…AGAIN!  so…..
on my meal plan and shopping List printable you will notice a lack of “BIG” items.  It works like this…..
Each month is divided into 4 weeks.  Each week we have a designated “Monthly Items Shop” This way we can also save money by buying in bulk and never run out of the necessities like toilet paper!

Monthly Items -
Week 1 – Toiletries – Toilet Paper, Shampoo & Conditioner, Soap, Baby Bath, Tissues, Hair Colour, Personal Care etc
Week 2 – Cleaning – Dishwashing liquid and tablets, Spray and Wipe, Sponges, Air Freshener, Blue Loo
Week 3 – Household – Washing powder, batteries, lightbulbs, fly spray, stationery,
Week 4 – Kitchen – Glad Wrap, Paper Towel, Serviettes, Alfoil, Snap lock bags, Sugar, Flour etc
The key to making the monthly shop work is really thiking ahead.  After 1 month of sticking to it you get an idea of exactly what quantities of each item you require to last the month.
So where do you keep all of these plans and lists?
I have created our very own meal plan and shopping list.

Even better you can download the Meal Plan and Shopping List HERE

Here is mine for the week.  I use the spaces on the left to fill out what is for lunch AND dinner each day.  In a few weeks we will be back into the school and work lunches routine.  We are preparing now by thinking about how we can best use our grocery shopping and dinners to also to provide lunches.  

The next space is a place to write down the shopping items needed for that particular meal.  The final column is our weekly shopping list, with a little space down the bottom for other shopping, this week its a storage container and contact.

For us meal planning has saved us time, money and sanity.  But it’s more about what it gives me.  The satisfaction knowing my family are eating healthy meals, I feel organised and on top of things, well the meals at least!!!

Do you meal plan?  Would you like to try? If you need inspiration check out the meal plans linked up to The Organised Housewife today!

Creating a School Zone ~ Some Pinspiration

Time is ticking.  The closer the big day gets the more that tick starts to sound like a gong.  Or maybe a knock.  Reality knocking on the door of our family.  Knocking us out of our dream world where Master O is aged four forever and stays home with his Mother where there is no need for formal school uniforms with too tight ties, knee high socks and school bags that appear to swallow him whole.   So here is where I admit that the thought of him going off to school was so overwhelming that just maybe I considered home schooling?  I am not sure wether it was the idea of having him learn under my watchful eye or the thought of spending days reading under a shady tree or maybe the hundred images on pinterest of picture perfect school rooms? 

A small space, but organised, practical and child friendly with everything at their fingertips!

Got to love an IKEA Trofast!  These would be great just to have in the playrrom with a different activity in each box!

 

Ok so you can breathe again now!  WOW!  This is absolutely amazing a custom built deluxe playroom!

 

 

Light, bright with plenty of room and a comfy couch for snuggling with a good book!
Oh pottery barn how I covet thee!

 Ok so I wont be homeschooling or creating a classroom at home but I will be using some of these ideas to create a “School Zone”.   This will be a central area in our home for all things school.  Somewhere to store school bags, musical instruments and homework folders.  With a study space , a school Launch Pad and our Organisation Station.  Perhaps this project will keep my mind off the whole baby starting school scenario?  Or maybe I should slot in some room in this space for a bulk supply of tissues!

Linking up with 

Tina Gray {dot} Me

 and

Top 5 Organising Projects of 2011

Somehow between my first year of blogging, working part time, kindy drop offs and being a part time stay at home mum I managed to complete a few organising projects in 2011.  Some were big, some small, but they all have had a HUGE impact on how we live our lives.

THE PANTRY

The Organised Panty

This was a HUGE job.  Our pantry had NEVER been organised.  It was full of expired lurkers at the back and general chaos at the front.  Nothing had a place and no systems existed.  After a little shopping for some container ideas and a few days  culling, sorting and ordering we had a “new” pantry!  This project was life changing and I am very happy to say that thanks to all the containers it has stayed organised!!!

 THE BATHROOM

The Organised Bathroom

This was another BIG project.  The bathroom was a dumping zone.  A hundred bottles of deoderant, messy make up and things that just don’t belong in a bathroom!  The drawers have needed reorganising a few times but the cupboards have stayed organised!

THE BAG

The "OiOi" Carry All ~ That really carries all!!!

I literally think about this life changer every day!  This bag never leaves my side and thanks to it’s brilliant design I am always organised and can find everything at my finger tips!

THE ORGANISATION STATION

The Family Organisation Station

The Organisation Station took a few attempts to get it right!  We are still working on keeping this system going but it works.  Most of all having the one family calendar has been a life saver!  

THE WARDROBE

The "INSTA- Shelf"

If there was a time to get emotional it was all about the wardrobe.  The culling of the oh so gorgeous baby clothes is enough to make anyone cry and I had whole containers of it!  But the end product of weeks of work was two sorted and organised wardrobe’s with some great systems in place to keep them that way!!!

  • The school zone – A place to keep under control the mountain of paper work associated with a little one at school, a place to do homework, to keep home readers and to get organised for learning.
  • A bag zone – For handbags, swimming bags, beach bags, grocery bags!
  • Outdoor Equipment – A way to store all of that outdoor craft and play equipment and some much needed play area makeovers!
  • The Linen Closet – A final solution for this space
  • The Entryway – A system for when we enter the house and to beautify the area!
  • Two picture boxes – Two picture boxes that are bland and one that is a dumping ground for keys!
  • Two photo galleries – Finally getting around to creating some family photo display areas!
  • A Display area – A seasonal area to display trinkets and pictures.

Oh I could go on for ever!!!!  But there you have it the projects of 2011 are inspiring me to continue on into 2012!!!  

What needs organising or beautifying at your place?

 

 

 

The room in which we LIVE ~ The 1st Project of 2012

We are back!  I wish I could say refreshed, organised and inspired to start 2012 but it is so far from it!  In the midst of unpacking, recovering from a 2 day long drive with two children and limited sleep we somehow decided the last day of 2011 was a good time to buy 10 flat packs of IKEA furniture!

Why do we do this to ourselves? I know it’s only the third day of 2012 but I think it is already time for a flashback to 2011….

Remember how we were looking for some colour?

And how 2012 was going to be the year of LIVING in our HOME?

With these dreams in mind and exactly a day to spare of 2011 we made a start.  That’s right the first organising and decorating project of 2012 has begun!  And it’s a big one! Of all the rooms in the house we want to work on this year, one was a top priority.  The most important room in our house.  The living room, because you know that’s where we live!

Our downstairs living areas are all open plan which means our living/dining room and kitchen are combined with a few columns separating the entry area and a dwarf wall separating the play room.  

I am approaching this project just as we have all other projects in our house. Step by step.

1. Identify the problem.  I am so grateful for our home, but to be honest we have not really done much with it since we moved in.  I guess really that’s the problem.  It’s lacking colour, organisation, style….LIFE!  The living area also needed to be opened up whilst reamining a defined space.  So we can all fit in there to play the wii but be able to recognise that it is the living room and not a home for all the toys!!

 2. The inspiration.  I had already tracked down some colour inspiration, via pinterest of course! 

We are hoping to mix a bit of teal, beige and tiffany blue with…

some classic pale blue and white. 

3. Begin!  I have started to gather little bits and pieces for our new wall size entertainment unit! (That’s what the 10 packs of IKEA was!) 

I have been searching the depths of every cheap store, for years, trying to find some kind of display easel!  I was actually looking for a cream shabby chic style but even better I came accross this metal easel for only $5 and it is a decent size!  

These vintage style frames were a steal at $3-$4 even better they came in the exact shade of tiffany blue I was searching for!

These shell tiled candle holders were wait for it… $2 each!  Love the neutral colours and the fact they remind us of our favourite place…the beach!This little assortment of tin buckets were in the garden section!  Best of all the outer picture is just stuck on the tin so fingers crossed with some peeling, scrubbing and eucalyptus oil we will have some cute tins for around the house!

There will be plenty more before and after pics to come….if we ever get this entertainment unit assembled!