Tag Archives: organization

The Paper Pickle {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

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


Paper. What do you do with it? It is surely the monster that threatens to consume my very existence or at the very least, my sanity.

the paper pickle

As of this year, we have three girls attending a charter school. This equates to piles of school papers. Piles.

What do I do with it all, I ask you? Short of hiring a personal secretary, I stumbled across this concept –keepsake boxes.

We began using them last year and it changed my life.

school paper organization

I went to Office Depot to pick up the very same colorful totes that Toni used for her kiddos. Clearly, I was making the right decision when I saw that they were buy one, get one free. I now had Office Depot backing me up. When you waffle on making decisions like I do, a sale sign seems paramount. It was like pushing the easy button but in the wrong store.

I rounded another corner, and boom. The hanging file folders were also on sale. Of course they were. This mission was corporate-approved, I tell you. Could a project be made any easier (and cheaper) than this? These childhood boxes were meant to be. I could not deny it.

children's paper storage

I grabbed up the colors that I needed in the totes as well as their coordinating folders. (Remember my children are color coded.)

school paper storage

I used my labeler to make the following labels for the files. While I used some of the same folder names as Toni, I did not follow her list exactly. Nor will you, if you should choose to try this organizational method. Obviously though, grades K-12, report cards, birthday cards, artwork, etc. will be necessary for any child. The more extracurricular preferences and interests will be the areas that vary.

  •  Birthday cards
  • Report cards
  • School pictures
  • Artwork
  • Toddler years
  • Kindergarten- Twelfth Grade (one file for each grade)
  • Church (Sunday School, AWANA, VBS, etc.)
  • Academic Awards

storing school papers

And yes, it was a little emotional to print labels such as these. The senior year of high school seems so distant, but then I remind myself, so did fifth grade and yet here we are. The years are like water in my hand, slipping by at a rate that is beyond my control.

I still have several empty files to organize new categories as my children continue to grow and to pursue new interests.

organizing school papers

Their boxes are stored on the top shelves of their bedroom closets for easy access. At the end of each semester, I sort through their school papers and decide which to keep and which to toss.

(A life lesson I’ve learned: Never sort and discard papers during the daytime — and certainly not in their presence. Tears will be sure to follow.)

memory storage for children

(As shown in the pictures, I have two totes that I’ve fully finished creating and labeling files. The blue and green keepsake totes are still being worked on.)

Pink. Purple. Blue. Green. I just need to go grab their orange one for Baby Van. ( By the way, I love being able to share her “name” now. It makes me smile just typing it.)

Orange would be the perfect choice for my October baby — Mama’s little pumpkin.


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How do you store your children’s handiwork, schoolwork and keepsakes? A designated filing drawer in the family’s filing cabinet? A cardboard box under your bed? Taking the time to sort and organize papers will not only help to better preserve their work, but will also help to reduce the amount of storage used. Tame that monster today.

Thanks for reading.


The Personal Puzzle {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

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


The kids are screaming in the backseat and Mom and Dad are staring at the 5.3 hours left on the ETA, ready to pull their hair out.

“Are we there yet?” “He’s touching my sleeve.” “I’m starving.” “There’s nothing to do.” fills the air and turning on classical music doesn’t always help.

Mozart does not solve everything.

A diversion is desperately needed, but you have nothing in your car.

Sound familiar?

Ok, maybe this scenario will ring a bell.


You are racing against the clock as you browse the clearance racks at Target. Lunch time was forty-five minutes ago, the normally scheduled nap time is in twenty, the baby needs to be nursed and you have a thirty minute drive home.

As a result, you’re shopping like a crazed woman. You are on a mission—hunting for bargains, browsing through the 70% off racks and stuffing necessary coupons in your pockets to give to the clerk later at checkout.

You’re doing it, though. You’re getting it done.

All noises have faded to mere background cacophany as you try to serve your family by being the best financial economist you can be, a true Proverbs 31 woman, a wise steward of your hard earned cash.

Then one lone cry pierces through your trance-like shopping expedition.

“Mommy, my pants are wet.”

Grrrreat. And you forgot to add a change of clothes for your three-year old to the diaper bag this morning.


I’ve been there.

I’ve apologized to the Burlington Coat Factory employee as I sheepishly pointed out the wet puddle on the carpet behind me.

And at Babies R Us.

Yes, my face was pink.

It happens.

I’ve stripped my kids of their wet clothing and squeezed them into a size 2 diaper meant for a baby twenty pounds lighter than them. Or worse yet with no alternative action, I’ve simply lined their car seats with brown paper towels from the public bathroom and plopped their wet tushes down for the ride home.

I have totally been there.

Why do I find myself in these frustrating mom moments?

I’m not always as prepared as I should be.

After over a decade of motherhood and five kids, I’ve learned a few things along the way—most of them from embarrassing issues like those mentioned above. Here’s my emergency zone to remedy these situations.

the personal puzzle

This is a handy dandy car organizer that I purchased on clearance at Target a few years back. It is stuffed with all the necessities of those life emergencies that we sometimes find ourselves in.

Puzzled about what to put in it?

creating a kid zone for the car

I have an extra change of clothing for my three youngest children (5, 3 and 1). This entails a full outfit change with socks—underwear for the five and three year old.

Select a seasonally appropriate outfit and remember, it is a spare change of clothes in case of an emergency. Don’t pick an outfit that will be missed from their wardrobe.spare kids clothes in the car

Diapers and wipes for the baby. car storage for moms

Hand sanitizer and pocket tissues for dirt, germs and sticky situations.car organizer for mommies

Small toys, books and healthy snacks can also go a long way in maintaining peace while traveling. I try to select snacks that will handle storage in the car well, the elements and lots of bodies pressing in.

car organization for mommies

Here’s my complete list for surviving life with little ones while meeting their personal needs.mom storageThere you have it. My answer for solving the little personal puzzles in life…well, in my car, actually.

A car organizer for moms—because my purse just isn’t big enough for all of this. 😉


tip 23

Ever find yourself needing something personal? Do you have a dedicated spot for helping with those unexpected moments in life? Any other mortified moms out there? Take a moment to pack some extra gear in your car for emergency purposes. This post may have been written for mommies, but it really applies to anyone. What are some things in your life that you may need to have handy? Wipes. Snacks. Gum. Socks. Clean t-shirt. Tylenol. Create an emergency zone in your car to meet personal needs.

Thanks for reading,


Holiday Spruce-Up 2014 {A Seven Week Home Series}

Sometimes I need a little nudge, and sometimes I just need a kick in the pants.

This is my kick in the pants.

Holiday Spruce-Up 2014

Welcome to my new series Holiday Spruce-Up. This is a seven week series focusing on the rooms/areas in our home in a specific order for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are in a serious countdown for both of these special days. For some, this may mean huge family gatherings, reflecting on our blessings and rejoicing in our faith during each respective holiday. And so we should.

However, we don’t want any stray dust bunnies under the living room couches or little forgotten cobwebs in the corners of our kitchen to distract us from focusing on what truly matters during the coming days—faith and family.

So let’s tackle our homes so that our hearts can embrace the full spirit of the holiday seasons.Are you in?

Here’s how it will run down. Over the next seven weeks, each Monday I will share a quick post containing a small “to-do” list for each week. We can tackle just a few things each day. Divide and conquer is our motto. And if you don’t finish all the cleaning tasks that you’d like to in a room, that’s okay. You can either continue with that room or move on to the next challenge given here. (Even if you only finish half of what you’d planned, your home will reflect it. A little is better than nothing at all.)
Throughout the week, I will post a picture of my task each day on facebook, holding myself accountable to my fans as well as inspiring those who may have accepted this Holiday Spruce-Up challenge. We all need encouragement, don’t we? Of course, it could also be called motivational peer pressure, I guess.

But I prefer the term encouragement.

On the weekend, I will have a quick update on the blog complete with those same pictures for you guys.

Sound good?

I cannot tell you how excited I am about the series. My home sure could use a little bit of TLC before I drag out all of my seasonal decor. No sense in draping Christmas finery over dust and crumbs, eh? (Not that I ever do that. I will admit that it has been tempting at times, though.)

Here’s to a cleaner and more relaxing environment for our holiday season. Let’s start this Holiday Spruce-Up, shall we?


The Hair Bow Hole {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

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


Hair bows. Hair bands. Head bands. They are everywhere.

the hair bow hole

With four girls and a mama under one roof, I guess that this is bound to be an issue.

You know those adorable hair bow organizers made from ribbon or chicken wire and a picture frame that you see on Pinterest? Don’t you love those? Me too.

kid-friendly hair bow storage

Only I don’t have one.

My organizational system is in their bathroom closet—behind closed doors. I like to call it the grab-n-go method. The drop-n-run method. Selecting and storing hair bows has to be quick and simple.

hair bow storage

I’m using some of my favorite baskets from Target and a tall glass jar that I had. Using what you have certainly works well.

The girls know exactly how to tidy up and store their hair things. Notice I said know, not that they do.

creating a zone for hair bows

We’re working on that.


Do you lose hair bands constantly? Have a solution to plug the hair bow hole? If not, any container or drawer will do. And perhaps—if you are like me—one day you may make a fancy decorative one. Complete with chicken wire. Who knows? I may make one myself yet. For now though, simple may be best.

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