Organizing kids’ artwork

I can’t bear to let go of the things my children create at school. They come home every day with projects and art, and I knew I needed to find a way to keep it all organized so it wouldn’t take over the house.
My first thought was to create a binder for each of my kids and add their work to it as it comes home. I realized quickly that their things are oddly shaped or too big for that option, so I moved along to something bigger. I bought these bins on Amazon and a pack of hanging file folders.

Kids' Artwork Bins

I labeled each hanging file with a year and gave each child a bin. I used my silhouette cameo to create labels for each bin.
Labels for Kids' Artwork
I keep them easily accessible so projects don’t take over my kitchen counter!
At the end of each year, I sort through the bins and keep the things that are most special to me (usually anything involving hand or footprints!) and take pictures of the rest. I upload them into shutterfly albums (by child and age) so that I can make photo books of their artwork later on.
How do you organize your child’s art?

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Money and shame

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Money shame is real.

I had outlined this post when a dear friend sent me a text message. “Why do we go to the doctor when we’re sick, bring our car to the mechanic but we aren’t supposed to talk about money or ask for help when we have money questions?”

Money shame. Somewhere along the way, the notion that it is impolite to discuss finances has gone to an extreme where no one talks about money ever. Sure, it’s still impolite to ask someone how much money they make or how much something cost them, but what about the rest? What about those struggling with money? With budgeting? With debt? With savings? With retirement? Money is so complex and emotionally charged, it’s one of the top reasons for conflict in relationships and it causes stress in the lives of countless people. Its management is also critically important to your future and security. I’m going to talk money because I think financial literacy is important.

There are two MBAs living under our roof and neither of us had done a true written budget until last year. No matter how much education you have, there is very little exposure to managing your own personal finances. It’s not that we didn’t want to or that we weren’t smart enough, it was a combination of not knowing how, and for me, some shame. I read Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” in three days while my husband was gone on a business trip. I opened my laptop, created our complete budget and when he came home, told him about our new plan. He was totally on board and excited (relieved?) that we had a path. I was so excited that I shared with a few close friends and family members. The responses were so interesting.

“Ohhhh, Jen. I’m so sorry. I thought you guys were doing okay . . . .”

FREEZE. Okay. This response, I will admit, sparked some shame. We WERE doing ok. We could pay all of our bills. We never worried about feeding our family. We were saving some. We were able to give gifts and have fun. We were fine. Why did a budget suddenly mean that we weren’t doing okay? Are budgets only for people who aren’t doing okay financially? “Doesn’t that feel too restrictive?” “Only poor people need to budget.” “Only people with a lot of money can budget.” “You work hard, you DESERVE to get whatever you want.” WOAH. No wonder we have money shame.

For a lot of people, money shame comes when you have to say no, when you limit, when you have to own up to your own financial behavior, when you spend money you know you don’t have, when you know you should be changing your behavior and don’t, or when you ask for help. It also prevents us from change. “I deserve,” “I earned,” “I want.” Disregarding our long-term for short-term gratification. Our focus culturally has shifted from being wise with money to materialism and the price is high. Any of this sound familiar?

I challenge you to let go of the shame. For so many reasons. The biggest is that shame weighs us down and gets in the way of happiness. It gets in the way of actually being able to help ourselves financially. Don’t let your shame rob your future. Saying no is hard, asking for help is hard, owning up to your behavior is hard, but once you do it, you’re free! You can go on the path. You can learn. You can grow. You can pay off debt, save and be financially secure. You can give. You can win.

The single best way to control your finances is to control what goes OUT. Get a written budget. “The Millionaire Next Door” teaches us that most millionaires become millionaires because they control what goes out. They don’t buy things they can’t afford. They save and invest. They are disciplined. They say no. And most of them did that from the ground up – not from inheritances or the lottery. Hard work and smart choices. They aren’t ashamed to limit themselves.

It’s something everyone can do…but you have to let go of the shame.

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Welcome to JenPlans

Thank you so much for joining me!

I’m Jen, and I’m a stay-at-home-mom to three little ones, the wife of almost 10 years to a busy entrepreneur and I just moved our family across the country to chase some dreams. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by!

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Over the years, I’ve had many people ask how I manage to stay so organized and get so many things done. In the spirit of keeping my thoughts organized, and after a lot of encouragement, I felt like the time was right to start blogging about my projects, habits and thoughts. I hope you’ll find this to be a helpful, inspiring place!

To start off on the right foot, I want to share my goal for this blog. We are all human and no one is perfect. I strive to be smart and efficient with my time and resources and to try my best. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I succeed. I learn from my mistakes. I keep learning new things. I keep trying new things if old things don’t work. I’m a firm believer in choices dictating outcome. I strive to be disciplined and diligent. Most of all (and ironically), most of my focus IS NOT on the planning . . . it’s on the DOING.

Planning is a great tool, but it can also be a way to procrastinate. My focus will be on how to efficiently plan in order to accomplish your goals. That should always be the objective of planning. Getting too caught up in how to organize or the best supplies to use or how every system has to be perfect hinders us all from getting things done. I’m going to try to share how I plan with the end goal of accomplishment. I’m not a particularly creative person, but I’ve learned how to take ideas and inspiration from others and tweak them to fit what works best for my family. I will share my process for finding ideas and making them work for me so that you can have more ideas of how do the same in your own life.

We’ll dive into many topics – daily planning and home management, personal finance and budgeting, health, family + marriage, and much more! If there’s something you’d like to see, please let me know and I’ll happily share!

In the FAQ tab, you’ll find the answers to some of the questions I’m asked most. In the links tab, you’ll see resources I find helpful and inspiring organized by topic.

Thank you again for joining me on this journey!

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