Category: Containers



Every year, inevitably, both parent and child arrive at a place where paper becomes their arch nemesis. That is, if they do not have a good system in place.

Sometimes, people think because I am a home educator and an organizer that things ALWAYS go off smoothly and I NEVER have to make adjustments, maintain or catch up. None of these can be the farthest from the truth. Organization is work, it is work to maintain it and life does not always ‘play nicely’.

And, being an organizer does not make me immune! But I am armed with a tenacity to find a solution, so I tend to tackle problems with an attitude that a solution will, indeed, be found.

To this end, I have a younger son, who, a few years ago, we found was fighting an epic battle with school related paperwork. Prior to the new school year beginning, we had set up a binder system  where he could place his assignment planner, his work in progress and notes, etc.

He had all the tools that he would need to complete his assignments…So, we thought.

As I am his instructor, I began to notice that on a frequent basis, his assignments were not all being completed.

Almost simultaneously, it occurred to me that each time he came to our schoolroom to attend class, his binder was almost empty, while his pile of paperwork was toted down the stairs poking out of books, stacked precariously atop of his pile of books or simply MIA.

I decided to take a few days to observe. Day after day, the same scenario occurred. Finally, on the third day, I asked him a question that changed his educational career and saved my sanity!!

Now brace yourselves, this question is momentous!!!! Are you ready for it?

I asked, “Son, why do you not use the binder system we put into place?”

With a frustrated sigh, he replied “Because it makes me really, really mad!”

I was shocked. How could a binder system make anyone ‘really, really mad’?

I asked him to tell me why this particular system provoked him to such disgust.

He began to tell me how much it frustrated him to have the paper holes tear and for the pages to be hanging askew, lacking tidiness. Now, folks, I’ll admit this astounded me, because he toted this papers down in ways that would make me crazy. Nonetheless, he had shared what he thought about it and I took it to heart and began to think about solutions.

So, I asked him about using the ring reinforcers. He did not like that idea either, because it “made everything look, I don’t know, off…”

Ahhhhhh. I got it. I really did.

Because the system produced less than stellar aesthetics and functionality, in his mind, it provoked him to anger, which made him not want to use it. He didn’t want to turn in torn work or work that looked less than what he thought it should look like.

I can TOTALLY relate to this. When I use something, I want it

1) to work and 2) I want it to be as aesthetically pleasing as is possible. If it isn’t, I don’t want to use it and, apparently, neither did he!

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. This child is a BOYYYYYY. He doesn’t do frills. He is interested in things that are functional and do not create a disaster. Something that works. For him, the binder system just did not work.

So, what were we to do? Well, I decided to go try an accordion file.

I zipped down to Target and purchased an eight pocket file, zipped back home and he began to label the tabs with the names of his courses. Place a legal pad in one file, along with his zipper pen holder, and then, place his planner which he uses to keep track of assignments and events in the front.

I cannot tell you what this small change made in our lives. He began to not only be able to track his homework assignments, he came to class prepared, less stressed, turning assignments in on time and receiving good grades. It was amazing. Now, the young man will not be found without it, when he is pursuing something academically!

This just reiterated to me how much having a tool that does not work affects us. And this is true in any organizational feat. The tool may work fine for others, but it may not be a good fit for us.

My daughters, for example, work just fine with a binder system. In fact, they prefer it. He simply cannot abide it, so it does not work. And it showed in everything  he was trying to do. It kept him from being successful.

Now, my younger two children are teens and my older two are adults, so I have been writing more about teens. But you may be a younger mother, or, at least, a mother with younger children and you may begin to ask, what about filing for the little ones in our lives?

The lil’ people are so fun to find storage solutions for, because there is so much more color and texture (Generally, speaking…) than for the teens. Or maybe, I just feel that way, because pretty paper, glue, markers, etc. get to be pulled out and I get to have more FUN!

At any rate, stay tuned and we will look at storage for the needs of our little ones tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, if you have a ‘frilly, creative’ girl, whose desire is to use an accordion system, as well and wants to add some sass, you can follow the idea from this Pinterest page, using whatever material she would like to. Make it modern, antiqued or whatever your style is…the point is to make something functional beautiful or cool. Just have fun with it!

This idea could also be used for Mom’s organization of paperwork that has to be kept, but available on the go! So, don’t forget the possibilities for yourselves ladies! After all, we are the managers of our home!!

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As I sit here typing away, my children in honor of their first week of summer break have began to do some really “summer like” activities…well, for us…:)

My elder daughter, who graduated from college about a month ago is preparing for a missions trip by gathering items from friends and neighbors who would like to donate items for a garage sale. She is currently out organizing the items and readying them to be priced…lil’ sis is out there beside her, as a trusted and faithful buddy!

Our younger son has decided that he would like to take on a summer writing project, which he has worked on all morning. Writing, writing, writing with brief moments of questions, statements and observations. For a kid who has demonstrated an intense dislike for writing in the past, it shocked me that HE was the one who came up with the idea and has committed the morning or afternoon of all four of the first days of summer to the task. He says his goal is to publish it for he and his friends by the end of summer via Blurb. I say…GO FOR IT!

With the hubby and elder son at work, that leaves me at home, not teaching and turning my mind toward blogging once more…

So what to write? It occurred to me that since summer is upon us and my kiddos have already planned much of their summer, there may be some folks with younger peeps who may not have made it that far…so that is where my summer comes in…I could blog about ideas that I find to help out!

The first I found today is actually a craft idea that can be used for a bzillion different uses! The first thing that came to my mind was containing items for road trips…Our family LOVES road trips, so this template will come in very handy!

But, as you can see, it could be used to organize much, much more. It could be a pencil box, a sandwich holder, a snack box, a wipe container (if they are not too wet), a mini garbage receptacle, and the list goes on and on.

I think this was a very clever idea on many levels. Not only does it serve many purposes organizationally, the project also requires very little investment, can be done together with your children or grandchildren, and is repurposing something that many of us already have. I think that the whole concept is great! I love the idea of dressing it up, too. If any of you decide to create this container and dress it up, please post, as I would LOVE to see it!

Below the photo, there is the link where I found the idea, I recommend the site as it has various repurposing ideas that really make sense and help with organizing some of those little things that can make us a little goofy, sometimes.

Happy creating!