You guys, thanks so much for your thoughts on my crowded kitchen last week. I am ordering a 5-pocket wall file to hang near the back door (thanks to swimmermom for the idea!) and I am trying to make paper sorting part of the post-dinner cleanup routine. Bearing suggested doing it beforehand, but getting food on the table is generally a scramble.
Next challenge: we don't have much storage space in our dining room. Consequently, we have a bunch of stuff crammed into a small piece of furniture. Cloth napkins and serving dishes sit cheek by jowl with crayons, markers, construction paper, etc.
Step 1 is probably to give napkins an assigned space that fits them. They overflow their current basket, and so the kids just toss them anywhere. It's also reasonable to move the serving dishes elsewhere (or donate them) since they are rarely used.
Tell me, though: what do you do about art supplies? How often do you purge crayons and markers? How do you determine when a notebook is garbage? Kids generate a lot of crayon nubs and half-filled notebooks. Don't even get me started on the capless markers, which must, mysteriously, have wriggled out of their own caps and flung them stealthily into the heating ducts, because the kids never know how they came to be capless.
Several of you said you'd be up for weeding where you're planted too. Write a post and link to it, please! I'd love to see what's on your mind.