Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Get Organized with Duct Tape & Vinyl?

I have had a problem ~ paperwork overload from my kid's schools!  Papers, papers and more papers which includes calendars, homework schedules, homework, spam from outside sources, fundraisers, book order forms and more!  If you are a parent who has kids in our public school system I am sure you can relate!  My kitchen island would turn into a stock pile of paperwork and we quite frequently missed deadlines, homework was late, tennis shoes were not worn on P.E. days, the book orders missed the deadline and so on and so on!  I was a organizational paperwork failure! 

It's not that I haven't tried various systems to make it all work.....I've tried the 3 ring binder - one for each kid, but that requires that you open up the binder to see what is going on or coming up and the binders always made their way into the computer cabinet to clear up counter space and only worked for about a week.
I also tried clear file organizers like these ►
I had one file for each of my kids and one for "Miscellaneous", these worked pretty well if all you wanted to see was the first page of whatever was "filed".  Then came the crash........after about 9 months of hanging up (with industrial double sided sticky tape) they came crashing down to the floor!  I ended up with a headache and a huge paperwork mess, not to mention the computer cabinet which now boasts sticky tape remnants on the side.  Moving forward......I thought to myself, well maybe I could use my refrigerator and attach everything with magnets, pretty soon the fridge was gone and I had a 6 foot tall paperwork cube (at least that is what it looked like)!

My last and quite possibly my most brilliant idea came together when I started thinking clear vinyl, duct tape and the removable 3M sticky tabs (the kind you usually use for their hooks).  My first step was to "sketch it out in my head" and then sketch it out on paper, then finally make patterns.  Once I determined that the patterns would work, I started on the real deal!  One thing to keep in mind is that my day job is working for a sign and awning company so I was able to get clear industrial strength vinyl from my work.  I think you could probably get similar clear vinyl at a fabric store and to save on costs the back piece would not have to be vinyl. 
Here are the steps:
  1. I cut out one long back piece, one bottom pocket piece slightly taller than the rest, and eight slightly shorter pieces.  
  2. The next step was to trim the top of each piece with duct tape, including the top of the long back piece. 
  3. Lay out the long back piece on the table and duct tape the bottom of one of the eight shorter pieces onto the back.  You will need to utilize some good math skills to make it all work together. 
  4. Lay the next of the eight pieces on top of the one you just taped onto the back and tape it at the bottom, I left a 3" gap from the top of one piece to the top of the next.  Continue until you are left with the one piece that is slightly larger than the rest - it should now fit flush with the bottom of the backer piece.
  5. Tap the bottom of this piece and then tape the sides of the whole unit.
  6. Attach however many of the 3M removable double stick tabs you think you will need and attach any embellishments to the front.
  7. Remove the paper from the double stick tape and attach the whole thing to the fridge.  My unit is so large that I removed the paper from the tape in sections....first I attached the top, then the middle section and finally the bottom.
My unit is rather large so that I can have the bottom piece be the calendar, then I have Monday through Friday spots, one Saturday/Sunday spot, a Future Spot and a Miscellaneous Spot.  It may not be the prettiest of designs, but it works and we haven't missed a "deadline yet".  I purposely left off the exact dimensions that I used, because
          A) I misplaced them and
          B) You may not want yours to be as large as mine.....
As long as you create paper patterns first to see how it all works you can just use the patterns!
The unit is designed so that all of the pages will go into their respective slot in landscape
mode, the edge of each paper sticks out about three inches to make it easy to grab. 


The bottom slot is the only one designed so that you can see the whole page -
the idea is that you will only change this paper out monthly.

This is the calendar at the bottom, it is the only window
that you can see the whole page.

I used inexpensive foam stick on letters to label each section.

This is the top which has Misc. and Future categories!
My hope is that you can use this to create your own little organizational hub!