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Archive for Kid Organization

Ott Go Tip

Memorabilia and Family Treasures
To Keep or Not to Keep?  That is the Question!

If you have LOTS of mementos and family keepsakes and are running out of storage space or simply don’t know what to do with it, you need some criteria to decide what you should keep and what you shouldn’t.

1. If it is important family history such has letters, genealogy, photos, birth and death certificates, military records, etc. those are items to hold onto.  These items tell your family story.  But, they need to be stored with care.

  • Anything paper should be kept neatly stored in archival quality boxes.  You can get these at Storables or the Container Store.  They must be acid and lignin free.
  • Wrap like items with string or raffia and put a tag on them to indicate what they are, before placing them in the box.  Labeling is important!  Once the generation is gone who was able to identify items, the information could be lost forever.
  • ALWAYS keep these items in a place in your home that is free of moisture and is kept at a consistent temperature.  Don’t store them in the garage, or attic – too hot and damp.If they are truly family treasures that you want passed down to the next generations, then they must be treasured!!

2.  You are not required to keep things you inherit or get as gifts.  Just because you love the person who gave you the item(s) doesn’t mean you have to love the item(s).

  • If it is not your style and you know you will never use it, give it to another family member or a friend, sell it, consign it at an antique mall, or donate it.
  • When my grandma died, I kept just the things I loved or were useful.  It is OKAY to let go of items when people pass away.  They loved us and wouldn’t want their items clogging up our lives and causing us unnecessary guilt and stress.  So use it, display it, honor it, or give it away before it gets ruined.  Just DON’T store it forever.

3.  Our children make a lot of cool artwork, bring home truck loads of school papers and create beautiful cards, pictures and notes for us.  Every last piece can be precious; however we do not have room to keep it all.

  • Again, keep the historical items; stories or journals they wrote about what was happening in their life, photos, drawings of them or family, hand prints or items that chronicled their age.
  • Let go of math papers and other assignments, cards with no real messages inside, basic artwork (the kind you can’t even remember which child made).
  • Take photos of items and put them in a scrapbook and get rid of the actual piece, especially the big ones.  If you love it, frame it and hang it.  Put the clay art in the garden or use it for something practical.


Take Action!

If you have something you can’t decide what to do with, contact me and let me help you brainstorm.  Sometimes you just need to talk it through before giving yourself permission to let go.



Favorite Organizing Tools

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Clear View Binders and Page Protectors: Used together, they are perfect to display recipes, organize articles, and safeguard papers

  • Used as a Family Planner, you can add a calendar, phone number and address lists, emergency info., menus from your favorite restaurant, school news letters, and to-do lists. 
  • You can also create a Decorating Notebook to simplify home decorating projects. Store your paint and fabric swatches, and organize torn-out articles from decorating magazines.
  • How about a Home Appliance Manual or Home Inventory Folder for insurance purposes. 
  • As a teacher, they are invaluable for Curriculum.  

I use mine for EVERYTHING!  Don’t forget to label the spines, and for a clean, uniform look get all one color.  

Turnabouts:  Traditionally, turnabouts are used for kitchen utensils.  But, I use them  for Office Supplies, Craft Centers, and a portable Homework Caddy.  My clients LOVE them! 

  • As a Homework Caddy they will hold rulers, protractors, min-staplers, a roll of tape, colored pencils, erasers, markers ,scissors, and the list goes on.  They spin and are light weight and very durable.  I have had mine for over 16 years and 5 children – they are tough. You can even wash them in the dishwasher. Let me know if you want to purchase one, and I can get you a great deal.
  • Other uses: Scrapbook Supplies, Knitting Needles, Classroom Art Caddy, Tool Storage (hammer, screw drivers, etc.).  Leave me a comment and let me know your ideas.


Clear Storage Drawers and Pencil Boxes:  The nice thing about clear-view drawers, towers, and pencil boxes is their versatility.  Drawers can be used separately or stacked, and when you add casters they can roll wherever you need them. The pencil boxes fit perfectly in the med. sized drawer, and they are great dividers for organizing all the little things that get lost in the “junk drawer”. 

  • Use small clear-view drawers in the pantry to contain seasoning packets, powdered soft drink packets, and tea bags.  Use larger drawers for bulky bags of pasta and chips.  
  • Clear-view storage towers are perfect in any craft room.  Use them to organize your sewing, quilting, knitting, or scrap-book supplies.  If you are a stamper; use the large drawers to hold paper, and the small drawers for stamps and ink. 
  • I use them in the garage for grocery bags, umbrellas, vacuum bags and attachments, my husband’s work-bench supplies, and more.
  • They are perfect for storing children’s small toys.  I have a large one under my son’s bed for all of his Lego’s, small ones on the toy shelf for actions figures, and more on his desk for crayons and markers. 

Label Maker:  Next to my husband and children, my label maker just might be my “favorite” thing!  I have had my (Brother P-touch Label-er) for over 10 years, and it is still going strong.  It is my #1 organizing tool.  I use it to label everything in my home, my office, and my client’s homes.  

  • Label your notebook spines, storage containers, luggage tags, kid’s school supplies, your pantry shelves and containers, and all the misc. electronic cords (chargers, cam-corder, etc.). It will help you to designate specific homes for your items, and your family members will know where to find things, and more importantly, where to put them away!

There are so many wonderful organizing tools, and these are just a few, but before you run out and purchase them, make sure you have an organizing action plan in place.  You need to get rid of the clutter first, and then give your important belongings a home.


Summer Organizing Is In the Bag!

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How would you like to end the school year and start the summer feeling organized? 

You can….it’s in the BAG!!

Don’t dread the big paper bag full of school stuff that is coming home.  Go through it with your child right away and make a special time out of it by talking about the year’s memories.  

  • First, throw away all the beat up supplies that you won’t use again. 
  • Next, quickly go through papers and toss the ones that are not important and keep the ones that are.  Papers that you plan to keep should be special (stories your child wrote, exceptional art work, special notes from your child’s teacher or friends).  
  • Store your child’s papers in a file folder and label it with the grade they just completed.  On the inside of the folder have your child print and sign their name, write their teacher’s name and who their special friends were during the year.  Have them jot down some of their favorite and least favorite activities and a goal for the following year. 
  • Pick out a nice plastic bin or a memorabilia box that can hold multiple folders and place the folder in the box.  Make this a tradition.  You will feel totally organized and your children will have their memories at their fingertips when they need them.  My kids love their memory boxes and they have come in very handy at graduation time when they are preparing for their senior presentations.

Create To-Go Bags.  Whether you will be heading off to the beach, going to the park, or taking a road trip; To-Go Bags are very handy.  Simply gather up some of those extra totes you have lying around the house and designate them for a specific purpose. 

  • To create a “Beach To-Go Bag” grab some sunscreen, extra beach towels, sand bucket and shovel, flip flops, extra sunglasses, a few water bottles and you are ready to go. 
  • For a road trip or those long errand days with the kids create a “Car To-Go Bag”.  Include colored pencils (crayons can melt in the car), color book, reading books, flash cards, snacks, action figures, Mad-Libs, and maybe an electronic game for really long car rides.  
  • If your kids are planning lots of summer camps or over-nighters, plan ahead and make up some “Toiletry To-Go Bags” with mini toothbrushes and paste, little shampoos and soaps you have kept from hotels, and other essentials.  When it comes time to pack it will be a breeze. 
  • “Emergency To-Go Bags” are always a good idea to keep in the car.  Include a flashlight, snacks with a long expiration, water, Tylenol, and a first-aid kit.  One of my clients recently made up a couple for her cars and put them in back packs.  A very good idea if you will need to leave your car and walk any distance.

Whether you are emptying or filling your bags, the trick is to think ahead on how you can be more effecient and organized.  Be CREATIVE and have a fun summer!