The Mom Station - An Ever-Evolving . . .Thing

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Over the past few months, I've re-claimed part of the kitchen. Though I never say this out loud, in my head I think of it as The Mom Station. It is the one place where I keep calendars, school papers, invitations, or anything presently "important." (Anything past-important goes back to the home office to be filed, and that is a disaster, my friends.) Having this one place out front, though, where I can quickly access "current" stuff, is incredibly useful. It also gets incredibly messy.

My method of attack was three-fold. First, I revamped my filing system. I created a Tickler file almost one year ago, and it hasn't been working for me. Maybe I should say I haven't been working it. Either way, I don't use it and the folders are ugly - time for a change. I came up with a new filing system, based on the piles of paper that I need to keep at arm's length. It looks like this:
New Filing System
Instead of a folder for every month (a la the Tickler file), one for "This Month" and "Next Month" is easier for me. "Activities" holds sports registration information, which can be tossed at the end of the season. The "Coupons" folder is for those pesky Bed, Bath & Beyond "20% off any item" coupons that I cut-out and never remember to bring, and the like. The Christmas folder is where I am stashing random ideas and my gift list . . . you get the idea. These folders hold all the papers that haunt my life.

As for the color, I wanted something pretty from the Martha Stewart Home Office collection, but due to a lack of selection during my one quick trip, I ended up settling for the Staples house brand in "assorted pastel colors." A pack of 24 cost less than 4 Martha Stewart folders, and one month later, I'm still happy with them.

Side note: Even if I had a kitchen desk area like this,
it would never look that clean and de-cluttered. I am a visual person. If I can't see it, I forget about it. I'm learning to embrace that about myself and just keep the files out on the counter, for heaven's sake. My ideal kitchen desk area would like more like this:
Lived in. But I digress . . . 

Second, I decluttered the cork board. Expired items went in recycling and random coupons went into my new filing system. Simple.

Third, I cleaned out my Mom Notebook and incorporated some of its contents into the new filing system. Activities and Blog Ideas were getting lost in the Mom Notebook. In fact, since we rearranged the kitchen and I lost the space to leave the Mom Notebook open, it's just been in the way. So, not long after I took this "After" picture,   
I moved it to the bottom shelf. It only holds school papers now (which is quite enough - geesh!) and my "week at a glance" remains on top where I can see it. Still, my old-fashioned/spiral notebook weekly calendar doesn't properly fit on that narrow shelf, so I may need something smaller. It would be nice to fit it in my purse. Also, I got rid of our traditional calendar. It was just there for the national park photos, which aren't that great. In addition, each child has a school calendar that comes home each month, so three hanging up there seemed ridiculous. It looks less cluttered now. I'd show you a picture, but the counter is a mess of cold medicine at the moment and I simply don't feel like it. (smile)

And speaking of ridiculous - if you are still reading this crazy long post, thank you! The point is, my "household manager" organizational system is an ever-evolving process. I don't think I'll ever claim to have found "the one perfect thing that works for me, and should work for you." In fact, I hate that kind of advice. The kids change, our schedules change, our furniture arrangement changes - and so must my methods for keeping up with stuff. It is sort of a relief to admit that.

How do you do it?

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13 Comments »

13 Responses to “The Mom Station - An Ever-Evolving . . .Thing”

  1. I think your center looks pretty darned organized! ;) Jealous!

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  2. You are so right about the ever-evolving process. It seems every time I get a little system going, something changes and I need to start over again! I must be visual, too--the only stuff I remember is what I put on the memo board right in front of my face. If I put it in a file, I forget about it until it's expired or useless!

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    1. Me too - If I file it, it's done for!

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  3. These words: "I am a visual person. If I can't see it, I forget about it." Yes yes yes. Thank you for putting it in a way that doesn't make me feel like a flake. I also appreciate the idea that I'll never get the perfect system figured out. I need permission to have a less-than-perfect one.

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    1. Hi Rita - I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one! Less-than-perfect is the way to go. It is better than complete chaos, for sure.

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  4. I love the second kitchen/office pic too - organized, yet top of mind.

    This past weekend, my husband kick started our get re-organized drive. (Love those 4-day weekends!) He rearranged a couple things in the kitchen, which forced me to rethink how I was "filing" paper - filing being a very loose term - it was more like a paper pile up place up high on a shelf.

    And now I'm determined to try try try to keep the paper tiger under control. Having no mercy is working for me. :) Especially with the mountains of school papers we get.

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    1. Oh, the school papers! It really boggles the mind, doesn't it? How cool that your husband kick started things. Love that!

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  5. Awesome system! I'm always reinventing mine too. The difference is that it doesn't make sense to anybody but me...

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    1. Well, I'm not sure anyone else could really use my system, either. At least, no one in my house claims to understand it :) Funny how that works!

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  6. Yeah, that first office is so unrealistic. No one works there. ;)

    I've been using a binder system for almost a year, but I'm not sold on it. I like it for some things, like keeping our financial, car, and contact stuff in it, but it's not very good for daily use. I end up just tossing everything in a pile in front of my binder. My mom station is half the size of yours, so I really need to find a better solution! I like your files - I may have to go back to that...

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    1. Yeah, the binder isn't working for me anymore, either - at least not for daily use. The files are helpful though.

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  7. Love seeing this! I cannot keep the paper in my house under control. I have a basket in the kitchen that I know is getting out of control when my husband covers it with a dishtowel. But, like you, I am an "out of sight, out of mind" person. I like the separate file folders other than a big accordion file-- much easier to change out when your needs change.

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