Who can attest that your kitchen countertops can begin to look like a paper recycling center after a week of school?
Recognize these? If you’re a parent, your heart rate and breathing might increase slightly upon seeing this every afternoon.
I have two coming home with these folders and all the papers they contain now. However, I can say I’m on top of the paper madness 🙂 I want to share my strategy of dealing with all the papers children bring home from school, and hopefully help you get and stay on top of it too!
ROUTINE is the key word in maintaining any type of organization. This word makes some people cringe. Its not a bad word, I promise! If you’re a free bird, there is nothing wrong with straying from a routine when needed. In actuality, flexibility is born when there is something from which to flex!
Here’s our routine from the time the kids walk in the door:
1. Place backpacks at the table
2. Put shoes in cubbies
3. Wash hands
When they come back to the table, they have a little snack and we pull out those beloved folders. They start homework, and I get to work on the papers. I separate them into piles, and then deal with each pile.
Pile 1 – Events: After collecting all the events/dates/newsletters, I grab my calendar and record the dates, and write any important information right there in my calendar. Then the paper goes away.
Pile 2 – School Work/Art Work: I look through the school work to see if they are having trouble on anything. I then leave the kids each a pile of their own work to look through and see if they’d like to keep anything. They have twine hanging on the wall in their room on which they can display papers.
Here’s a picture of their display area. One goes up, one comes down (and gets tossed). If its something really special, I save it. I have one box for each of them where I keep special things 🙂 You could try saving one per month to track progress, or less. You could also scan or take pictures of work if you have a hard time letting it go.
The third and last category contains papers that need to be filled out/signed/returned. I work on these while the kids are doing their homework. I stay close by anyway so I can be available should they need help.
I also take homework time to unpack their lunch boxes.
After the kids finish their homework, they pack their folders away and put the backpacks in the mudroom where they “live.”
That’s what works for us. If you’re struggling with school paper overload, try taking this and adjusting it to fit your family/schedule. Maybe you don’t get off work until 5 or 6, and your kids go to an after school program. Your priority might be cooking when you walk in the door. And then there are extra curricular activities 🙂 Find a consistent time in the evening where you can sort through the folders. Just don’t let school work take over your countertops/tables/any free surface! Working through it every day takes much less time than having to deal with it after it piles up.
I would love to hear from you! Share your strategy (or your plan for one!).
Thanks for reading,Melissa
Get Organized. Simply Live.