The Mama Mess {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

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This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Life. Contained.ย Want to catch up on the entire series? Click here.ย Want to stay connected and not miss another post? Follow me on facebook.


We are still hanging out in the kitchen today. We’ve soothed away problems in the medicine cabinet and eased the chaos of packing for the noonday meal. Today is another troublesome zone of mine.

creating a binder for important papers


Appointment reminder cards, field trip information slips, school policies, and everything else under the sun somehow lands on my kitchen counter. The temptation to crudely stack it all together and shove it in a drawer is strong, to save the headache for another day. But tomorrow means another day, another mess. Drawers don’t seem to help with this dilemma, unlike yesterday. All of my drawers seem to have a dark crevice which sucks every piece of significant material into a deep and dark abyss. Never to be found again, without much, MUCH blood, sweat and tears.

So I created something special, a sunny, happy place where my papers live all happily in a row. And it was life-changing.

I call it The Mom Binder.

organizing schedules and school papers

Sure, I like to be all tech savvy and punch pertinent data into my phone and/or other electronic devices. Paperless? I love the thought. Realistically? Sometimes, I still like to be old-fashioned, to see and hold something tangible. And to be honest, sometimes I just like proof that I was indeed correct.

The card clearly stated that my teeth would be cleaned today at 9 am, so here I am.

ย You know what I mean. I like reassurances that I didn’t transfer the original details incorrectly. I have been known to do that. I am human. I do make mistakes at times. Knowing all of this about myself, I try to hang on to a limited amount of specific originals.

However, in spite of my best intentions, occasionally I misplace things. It’s that mean ol’ black vacuum in my drawers. It’s not supposed to happen. Mom is supposed to know where everything is, at all times. I battle with this swirling theory every day.

solving paper clutter

Evidently this mess in my hands now. Where did those papers go?

Zip needs her signed field trip permission slip for the pumpkin patch –today. It was last seen floating by the kitchen counter three days ago. Nice, but where was it put? Her tear-stained face pulls at my heart-strings, but I just can’t find it.

Great. Now I have guilt. Visions of my child sitting forlornly in an empty class room fills my mind.

I can feel your empathy through the screen. Whether you are a mom, housewife or simply the sole secretary of your household, you know exactly what I’m talking about it.

This binder has organized this mountain of mess in my life. All papers that come across the kitchen counter and table are properly sorted. Trash, scan and save are now the three choices available at any time.

filing important info

To organize my binder, I grabbed some color dividers from Target’s after school clearance last year as well as some plastic sheet protectors. And since I would be looking at it often, purchasing a pretty storage binder was also at the top of my list. Next came the fun part, the part that made me feel all grown-up and secretarial -putting it all together. Here are the categories I used:

Red- Medical

This is for appointment printouts, cards and/or postcards that we receive, reminding us of the day/time scheduled. It also holds any informative materials that our family may have need of further done the road.

Yellow- Church

Clearly this one is for anything church related. Music ministry, youth group, AWANA -you name it, we need to know about it. I also have each different ministry’s calendar filed in here. Our family board in the kitchen can only hold so many.

Blue, Purple, Green, etc.- Children

Like I stated in yesterday’s post, each child has a color in our family. Bunny is blue, Fuzz is purple- you get the idea, I’m sure. Color coded children makes life easier, for me and for them. Each division in this binder holds that particular child’s school info, extracurricular calendars and church info. I actually need a few more different colored dividers- big family problems. ๐Ÿ™‚

This system has saved my life…on more than one occasion. It feels so good to be able to just reach over and slip out the needed papers. No dark hole. No sweat and tears. No sobbing child.

Whew.ย Papers are organized, Zip gets her pumpkin and Mama feels all grown-up.


the mom binder

Do you have an avalanche of papers to be sorted on your kitchen table or perhaps heaped on a desk? Want to conquer and contain your mess? Regain some valuable surface “square footage” in your home by starting a binder. Keep important papers sorted and filed in a handy binder. This technique helps curb and control clutter in our home.

How about you? What do you do to stay in control of the paper monster? Do you save some papers or are you a paperless family? Do tell. I’d love to hear your method.


4 thoughts on “The Mama Mess {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

  1. Candace

    I am paperless! Almost too much sometimes! Poor little E got teary when she saw me walking to the trash with one of her many math papers. Oops! If I have ado cumene I need to keep, like insurance, takes, etc… I usually snap a pic of it and if I need to, I will print it off later…. Then I can always find it. I have a file of the best of the best kids papers and they pick one paper per week to display on the fridge. This has helped the tears! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have tried to use my phone for all my calendar reminders. I always have it with me, so it is working pretty well… Before I would have post it’s everywhere. The phone method works well!

    1. heather Post author

      Haha. The post-its sound like me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Glad to know that paperless is a good option. Hubs and I are dabbling in family calendars/reminder alerts on our devices. It’s a hard leap sometimes to know what to trash and what to keep. Call me chicken. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Christina @ The Frugal Homemaker

    Paper… my nemesis. I don’t use a binder and prefer to transfer everything online to google calendar (like appts, church activities, etc.) – then I can smile when I toss yet another paper in the trash. ๐Ÿ™‚ Throwing paper away brings me great joy because I struggle to keep it under control. But the things that can’t be added to google calendar (like coupons, flyers that I need to call about, bills I need to follow up with, magazines I never seem to get a chance to look at) – that is what drives me crazy. I need to work on finding a better “home” for them all instead of the living room coffee table. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Enjoying your series!


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