My most favorite part of my job is all of the paperwork that I have the privilege of completing -said no SLP ever! Unfortunately, paperwork is just something we all have to get a handle on, which is why we are tackling this topic during Organization Week.
Day 2. Paperwork!
Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you rein in some of your paperwork drama.
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#1 Use your filing cabinets.
If you have IEP authority on cases or handle a lot of confidential papers like I do, I’m sure that most of you have a filing cabinet.
I’ve known some that just use their top drawer or 2 for files but then fill their bottom drawers with random junk. Everything just ends up getting piled in.
That’s precious space, friend! Grab some hanging file folders and put it to good use.
I use mine to store homework packets by sound. I have a file for each of my most frequently worked on phonemes.
You could even revamp an old filing cabinet to make it a pretty little piece of furniture for your speech room. Start HERE for some great ideas.
#2 Color code your forms and files.
Doing this will make it easier to spot the paper you need in a hurry. Plus, it’s just so pretty.
I’m in the process of color coding my forms. Check out the “before” shot. Haha.
Here is the system I’m planning to use (with the hanging files mentioned above):
Red – RtI and screening forms
Blue – Eval/Re-eval forms
Yellow – IEP meeting forms
Green – Teacher checklists
Purple – Other
I’m hoping it looks something like this when I’m done! 🙂
#3 Hanging pockets for frequently used forms.
If you want to make it even more convenient, store your most frequently used forms in a hanging pocket. We are utilizing that wall space!
This one is fabulous!
Or make your own DIY pocket chart by following a tutorial like this one.
I have this cascading file box from the Container Store. It’s super cool when you need something portable!
It looks like this when you open it up! I use the metal circle to hang it up on a hook. Check it out HERE.
#4 Drawers and crates
I love to use plastic drawers to keep my paperwork system flowing. I got these fancy ones from the Container Store, but they also have similar ones at Target or Walmart.
Check out this post from last year to see how I use each of these labeled drawers.
File crates are also great to keep your papers in, especially if you don’t have the drawer space. You can usually find them at Walmart for pretty cheap.
Or this deal from Amazon is a steal! $24 for a pack of 6: Storage Crate, White, 6-Pack
Because my district has SO many forms, I keep them in a crate on top of my desk table. That way it’s easy access for both me and the other therapist. My hanging pockets are just for the forms that I need frequently or on a daily basis.
#5 Be creative and make it pretty
Just like with classroom materials organization, sometimes you gotta get creative with paperwork too. Ask yourself what forms do I use regularly and which only come around once a year? What papers will I need to access quickly? How can I use my space to keep my paperwork organized? What kind of system could I make work for me?
When you answer these hard questions, sometimes you need to think outside the box to find a system that works for you. Aaannnd if you work at making it pretty and cute, you’ll find you’re more likely to keep at it. Here are a few fun ideas I’ve come across.
This fun magnetic strip would be perfect for notes and reminders or even kids’ artwork.
I love these sturdy magnetic clips for my white board. They can hold several papers or charts at one time.
Cover some clipboards with scrapbook paper and hang them on your wall. These are great for keeping those forms together, plus they’re super cute!
Binders are also a great idea for keeping data. Be sure to stay tuned later in the week to find out more about how I use those!
What system do you use to keep you paperwork organized? I’m always revamping and would love to hear your ideas!!