Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to School Organizing Tip

Organizing Tip! Create a system for school papers and artwork

Back to school time again! For those with children, from pre-school to high-school and beyond, you'll need a system for managing all the papers that come home from school. I'll focus on the pre-school thru middle-school years for this tip, since that's when most of the volume that parents have to manage occurs.

1. Action Paper Drop Spot: First - you'll need to set up a process whereby the kids immediately give you all the ACTION PAPERS from their backpacks (ones that parents need to read or take action on - not their homework or other completed work) . I would suggest children do this as soon as they come home from school. Set up a convenient place with a small bin/tray/basket/folder where they can simply drop these papers. (Should be a central place, such as on a kitchen counter, or in a mudroom.).

2. Completed Paper Drop Spot: Now.... what to do with the plethora of completed school worksheets and artwork? Again, have a drop-spot with some kind of bin. If you have multiple children, consider multiple bins so you don't have to re-sort someday. This drop-spot should be convenient, but not on the counter. Consider bin(s) in a nearby closet, on the stairs (if not in the way), or dedicate a drawer or two in a nearby room to collect these items.

3. Parent Review: On a daily basis, take action on any parent papers found in the Action Paper Drop Spot so nothing gets overlooked or turned back into school late. As for the items in the Completed Paper Drop Spot, you will need to review these at some point to decide what to keep and what to purge. As for the timing of doing this review, you have several options, depending on your personal style in dealing w/ this stuff, and available time during the day, week, month, year.

If you are the "up-front-ruthless-get-rid-of-most-stuff-right-away" type of person, then review daily or weekly and purge to your heart's content!

If you are the "every-so-often" type, then review the bins every week, month, or school marking period, and decide which items are worth keeping.

If you are the "I-don't-have-the-time-and-don't-want-to-deal-with-this-until-the-end-of-the-year" type, then no problem! Just make sure you have large enough bins, and plan on reviewing everything sometime between June and August.

Or... you may be a combo of the above - just do what works for you.

4. School Memorabilia Storage: Lastly, you'll need a permanent place to store all the school paper and artwork 'keepers'. There are many options, such as: an art portfolio for each year, a large expanding office envelope/wallet, Rubbermaid/Sterilite plastic storage containers, or a product called 'Schoolfolio', to name a few. Remember, you can also display art in frames, on bulletin boards, send to relatives as gifts, or use as wrapping paper too!

Linda English - Owner/Professional Organizer

Organizing With EASE, LLC


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