Feel like your car is your mobile office?

Your school-based and home health occupational therapy colleagues shared ideas for marking sure you have everything you need (where you can find it!). Why don’t you try these 17 ideas for getting organized?

Before You Begin—Declutter

An occupational therapist working in public schools recommends getting rid of what you don’t need before you start organizing. A few tips from this post:

“As OTs we keep a lot of fun stuff in our "stash" of materials. If we haven't used those pumpkin pencil-toppers or antique tins of theraputty for several years, now is the time to reduce-reuse-recycle them.
Has your treatment approach changed over the years so that now you primarily use equipment and materials already in the classrooms? If so, drastically reduce the amount of supplies you keep--in your car or in your storage space.
Each time you declutter and organize, put the bag of giveaways in your car and plan which charity you'll donate to tomorrow.”

Get 30 tips from OT Tools for Public Schools here.

Where Do You Do Documentation?

If you’re like this home health OT, you might be doing documentation in the back seat of the car. Wherever you do it, Monika Lukasiewicz suggests the following:

“Identify your three most commonly used items and ensure these items are within arm’s length without needing to bend, stoop, twist or reach over when you are at your desk and in the car. I have a small cup in the back pocket of the driver’s seat with pen, pencil, and highlighter for when I do documentation in the back seat.” -OT Practice Magazine March 9, 2015

Picking Your Therapy Bag

Before you pick out a bag, first thing to decide is what you need in your bag. Monika says she keeps OT supplies in the trunk instead of always carrying them in her bag to lighten the load. -OT Practice Magazine March 9, 2015

Another option is to have two bags. One larger rolling suitcase bag that has your main supplies (organized in plastic zipper bags and plastic containers) can stay in the trunk. Another smaller bag (for example a rolling scrapbook bag) can be what you bring into the school or home. Scrapbook bags have a lot of pockets and compartments for keeping things organized. –OT Connections user

Mama OT likes to use rolling boxes. “Personally, I like to use a rolling box to cart my therapy supplies around. It keeps things organized, fits plenty of supplies, and saves my back.”

Colleen at Sugar Aunts explains why you might want a rolling bag: “You'll want a bag on wheels because sometimes an OT working in schools has to set up shop in storage areas, stairwell hallways, or backstage extra rooms. Being a therapist who only visits a particular school one day a week, most occupational therapists don't get a special work area. They might need to find a desk area where they can and that can mean a lot of walking inside the school.”

Use Accordion-Style File Folders

Use these file holders to organize copies of commonly used worksheets or client education handouts.

In this post, Colleen of Sugar Aunts says she uses her file folder for “organizing different types of writing paper, several thicknesses of paper for teaching scissor skills, and therapist-parent communication forms or home recommendation sheets.”

Use Binders

An OT Connection user uses a different binder for each day of the week with “working charts” for each student. All of the binders are kept in a crate in the trunk.

Monika keeps blank copies of commonly used forms in a binder in the backseat of her car (where she does her documentation). The binder gives her a hard surface to write on. -OT Practice Magazine March 9, 2015

If you do use binders, make sure that you also have a portable three-hole punch with you in your trunk or bag. -Colleen of Sugar Aunts

Items to Have Nearby

Monika recommends having a copy of your “team list” in your car, bag, or phone with phone numbers of all of your key members (e.g., the physical therapist, nurse, social worker, home health aide, etc.).

She also recommends keeping catalogs in your bag to show clients commonly recommended products and a DME provider list that includes local medical and thrift options.

Finally, Monika suggests having healthy snacks on hand. Fill a lunch bag with small snacks that have protein and fiber. -OT Practice Magazine March 9, 2015

Always Have These Three Things

You should always have pens, highlighters, and sticky notes nearby. You should have a set in your bag and in the middle console of your car so you can take quick notes, write down phone numbers, or jot down updates no matter where you are.