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messy paper piles
Papers, Papers Everywhere!  
September, 2011

As the school year finally gets underway (a week late for most of us in Rhode Island, thanks to our friend Irene!), the paper piles in our house begin to get bigger and bigger with each new batch of school papers the kids bring home and the mail deluge that just keeps coming. If you are overwhelmed with dealing with the paperwork in your home and want to find a way to keep it all under control for you and your family, try setting up a Family Command Center.


To get your Command Center started, you will need:


Trash/recycle basket

Baskets or paper trays or hanging wall files for each member of your household  (labeled with their name)

Hanging file folders

Desktop hanging file box


Once you've assembled your materials, just follow a few easy steps, and you're ready to go:

  • After you've sorted through the day's mail and the papers your kids bring home from school, take a few minutes right then and there to shred, throw away or recycle any junk mail. Keep a shredder close by to make this easy. It takes about 2 minutes to do this on a daily basis. This keeps paper from piling up, and keeps the important stuff from getting lost in the shuffle!
  • When you've gotten rid of the junk mail, put any paperwork that someone else needs to take action on in their labeled basket/tray/wall file.

What's left will go into your Family Command Center:

  • Label a hanging file folder for every area in your home life that you receive paperwork for that you either need to save for the short-term (team schedules, address lists) or on which you need to take action.
  • Put the labeled files into your desktop file box. These are your "action files".
  • Sort anything that you have left over after you've trashed/shredded/recycled/delegated into these action files.
  • Keep your file box in an easy-to-access place near where the mail/school papers come into your home. Some great places: kitchen counter, bottom shelf of upper kitchen cabinet, kitchen desk.
  • Now everything you need will be at your fingertips, easy to find, and not cluttering up your kitchen countertop!

Each family's Command Center will look differently, with action files that pertain specifically to you and your family. Here are some categories that my clients and I have found useful:  

To Pay  (bills)

To Go  (events - mark on calendar first!)

To Do

Name of child  (for papers concerning them)

Sports team name

Kid's Activities




Data Entry  (info that needs to get into your computer - addresses, etc.)

Order  (tear out page from catalog and save here for future ordering.)  


Waiting on Response

Coupons/Gift Cards

Medical  (for school physical forms and upcoming medical test slips)

Current Projects  (insert a labeled file folder for each project into the hanging file.)

Read  (keep these papers in a file folder which hangs inside the hanging file, so you can carry it with you on the road.)


For a more in-depth explanation and individual guidance on setting up a Family Command Center, and other solutions to conquering your paper clutter at home, sign up for my Family Command Center workshop on Oct. 13th, offered through the Barrington Community School (information below.)


If your child needs organizational help with his or her own school papers, check out my Get Organized for School workshop below on Sept. 28th. You will find ways to help your child set up organizing systems that will help them succeed in school, and make your home life more peaceful!


Once the school year swings into action, life for you and your family can be hectic. Keep your kitchen countertop and dining room table clear, and stay on top of all those papers with your newly established Family Command Center. Life may still be a bit frantic, but you'll feel less stressed and more in control when you can put your hands on what you need when you need it!



Find us on Facebook For weekly motivation, inspiration, events and product recommendations, check  out my Facebook page for The Organized Way.  Become a fan by clicking the "like" button, and be eligible for special offers. Share your own organizing successes and challenges. I love hearing from you!

What a Professional Organizer DOESN'T Do!


Need a chuckle? Check out this video from Australian P.O. Lissanne Oliver. While organizers are often perceived as obsessive neat freaks, this just takes it a bit too far!

Undie Folder
Undie Folder

Lisa S. Griffith
Lisa S. Griffith

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10% off  

all packages


Purchase a package of organizing hours

during the month of September 

and receive a  10% discount. 

Then use your hours any time -  

no expiration date! 





Fall Into Function

Women's Networking Fair 

Lisa offers coaching on organizing various areas of your home life for women business owners at this W.E.B.O.N.D. (Women's Empowerment and Business Owner's Networking Development) event, (affiliated with The East Bay Chamber of Commerce).

Tuesday, Sept. 27th

5:30 - 8:00 pm

The Lobster Pot

Bristol, RI

For more information, go to: East Bay Chamber of Commerce  



Get Organized for School 


In today's high-pressure academic environment, it is essential that students learn organizing strategies for both school and home. Come to this workshop, and Lisa, a former teacher, will teach you how to help your child organize his or her backpack and school papers. Discover how to set up a "homework center" which can function in any area of your home and make homework time more productive by keeping what your child needs at his or her fingertips. Find out how to set up a system to deal with incoming and outgoing paperwork from school and all of those activities that keep your kid (and you) on the go. End those last-minute morning scrambles to gather all the stuff they need for the day and those frantic trips back to school to deliver forgotten items. This workshop is geared towards parents of children in fourth through twelfth grades, but parent and child may also attend together! 

Wednesday, Sept. 28th

6:30 - 8:00 pm

Barrington Middle School

Barrington, RI

For information and to register, go to: Barrington Community School 



The Family Command Center:

Get those papers under control! 


In this workshop, participants will learn strategies for managing the day-to-day influx of paperwork related to your family that often threatens to take over our home spaces and lives. You will learn how to establish a family command center that organizes the various papers that come into your home. You will be able to reclaim your kitchen countertop, dining room table, or any place that catches the overflow. Never miss another deadline for a bill payment, a field trip permission slip, or a party RSVP. Put your hand immediately on that team game schedule, school calendar, or church directory. Get it all under control and keep it under control for you and your family. 

Thursday, Oct. 13th

7:00 - 8:30 pm

Barrington Middle School

Barrington, RI 

For information and to register, go to: Barrington Community School  



An Organized Holiday:

Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season


As the holidays approach, are you filled with the joy of the season, or with dread at the thought of your endless to-do list? When the big event finally rolls around, are you too exhausted to enjoy it? Come to this workshop and learn some holiday organizing tips and strategies that will decrease your anxiety and increase your productivity. We will set up a plan to organize your holiday to-do list, systemize your gift purchasing and giving, and help you create a memorable, stress-free holiday season.

Wednesday, Nov. 16th

7:00 - 8:30 pm

Barrington Middle School

Barrington, RI 

For information and to register, go to: Barrington Community School  



Electronic Waste Collection & Shredding Day

Saturday, Oct. 15th

Electronic Waste Collection: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm

Shredding: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

East Bay Chamber of Commerce

16 Cutler St.

Warren, RI




In order, in joy, 



Lisa S. Griffith
The Organized Way