Thursday, August 21, 2008

School Paperwork Solution for a Disorganized Child!

Do you have a disorganized child? I do! He has a form of autism and he very much struggles with not only keeping his paperwork where it belongs but also is not very gentle so he destroys things much easier than most. Every year, he has a planner and by mid November, it is looking pretty rough. By mid January, pages that should be intact are falling out. Also, paperwork that needs to come home sometimes doesn't and paperwork that needs to go to his teacher is lost between the car and the classroom! If any of this sounds like your child, read on!

Last year, we had to brainstorm on solutions and his teacher came up with a folder like this! I took on creating this year's folder for his new 4th grade teacher and of course had fun with it! He LOVES legos and I've had this scrapbook kit sitting, just waiting for the right project!

Here's how to set up the binder:

  • Planner goes on the rings (this planner is school issued)
  • Binder clips are clipped on both sides so it is opened to this week's page. NO tearing through pages trying to find where he is supposed to write.
  • On the left pocket is a sticker that says "Keep at Home"
  • On the right pocket is a sticker that says "Return to School"

Here's how to use the binder:

  • His teacher helps him sort his items each day to bring home
  • Items he does not need to touch that she is just sending home, she puts in the left pocket
  • Homework sheets and things that need to be sent back are on the right.
  • I place anything that is going back in the right pocket along with his completed homework.
  • The teacher takes his folder and pulls it all out, preventing him from putting things where he can't find them!
  • As I check his folder Friday afternoon, I move the clips to the following week.

This has worked great for us and I hope it helps you if you have a disorganized child! Working with the teacher is obviously necessary as this requires more support than most kids are accustom to. We have found that a little more effort on the adult's part makes it not only easier for us in the long run but takes stress off of him as sorting all this random paperwork has proved a bit overwhelming!

If you have other organizational issues with your child, let me know in the comments and I'll be glad to address them. I think it's safe to say that most problems we have faced in this family between this child on the autistic spectrum and my other child with a very short attention span so bring it on and I'll try to help!

post signature

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stacked Laundry Area

One functional decision we made when building our home was to put a washer and dryer in our master bedroom, in addition to a set in the upstairs laundry room. Anyone with a master on the 1st floor and kids rooms on the 2nd floor knows the frustration of having laundry on only one of those floors. We had this in our last home and I loathed carrying the laundry up and down the stairs. This was an easy decision for us!

When you walk into the closet, those stacked machines are the first thing you see. We custom build a hamper in a lower cabinet and then had the surround built around the machines to maximize storage. People have asked if you can stack this type of machine. They are so large that you can't imagine how tall they will be and picture it huge! You can see that they are a bit shorter than a standard closet cabinet which is to their left and is not as bad as you would perhaps have pictured. My 9 year old can reach the top controls just fine, though my 7 year old can't. There are other chores he can do so that's okay! It works great for us and I think it's easier on your back too! If you have a tight space and want to maximize your storage, this is a great solution.

I didn't love that you see the side of the machines when you walk in. Building our surround storage deep enough to cover the sides would have taken up too much space and I felt it would have been more of a "wall" than I wanted so we opted to leave it open and set the storage back. This storage, though large, would have also been too deep to function well, sometimes "less is more". I found this fun decal through Uppercase Living and I think adding this turned something boring into something fun with a bit of whimsy! I smile when I walk into my high functioning closet and what else could a girl want really?

post signature

Monday, August 4, 2008

A forgotten hall closet

This closet was a great place for things to "collect". It had lots of random stuff and it was a place where they looked for things they needed, not sure if it was there or not. One of those "maybe it's in the hall closet?" spaces. This space was a perfect spot to organize all their household items--light bulbs, cat food, tools, batteries, extension cords--all those things you need but often end up under the sink or in a desk drawer. I picked up a few of my favorite things (these bins, notice how there isn't an ugly gray handle on it!) and viola! A space perfect for all thier household items. Now when they need something, they know exactly where it is!

post signature

Back Porch Redo

I recently showed you the family room redo with the fabulous green window treatment. Now that their family room is done, they decided they must redo the back porch. They are in Florida and could use this space for many relaxing evenings as well as another seating area for large parties, which they do have!
Interesting story to consider: I mentioned I was working on this space to a mutual friend who had been at a party in their home when it looked like this (Right). He said "they have a back patio?". It was so underutilized that it didn't even exist! They didn't use it and their friends didn't even see it--even through the 16 foot window!!

Here is another view of the patio BEFORE from the newly completed family room:

Here is the same view now that the porch has been redone:

The #1 change is the screen enclosure. This gives them a bit more shade and will help keep their new furniture clean. A brilliant idea that the clients had was their use of a refrigerator as a side table. It is topped with a natural branch runner to give it some texture and interest and used just like a side table but if they would like a cool drink on their Florida porch, they don't even have to move! The outdoor rug soften the pavers and makes it all the more comfortable. They now relax with their laptop and a drink and use a space that at one time was rarely uses!
This is the view from their breakfast nook area. We are still looking for the perfect simple 'something' to disguise the AC system. The clients now enjoy grilling which is something they never did before this redo!
post signature