It's almost Back to School Time! Each new school year presents a fresh organizing challenge. How do you manage the constant flow of paper work – tests, homework, schedules?
Here are some tips to help you design a system to keep school paper organized and under control.
Set guidelines for what to keep and what NOT to keep UP FRONT. The best way to keep paper under control is not to keep too much of it in the first place.
Deciding up front what to let go of will:
o teach your child how to think ahead and clarify what’s important.
o make it easier for your kids to make decisions independently.
Some examples of guidelines include: When a new schedule comes in, recycle the old one. Keep exams & homework only until the report card for the term has been received. Extra Special Reports and Projects should be place in the school archive.
Set up a school memorabilia archive. This will give a home to all the papers work that you and your child really want to keep, but don’t need to refer to on a regular basis.
Once you have an archive set up, you will also have a home for some of those papers cluttering your fridge and kitchen counters! Store the archive in a closet or other location that is out of the way but still accessible to you and to your child. I recommend using waterproof containers with lids to keep papers clean and safe.
Create a simple hanging file system for current papers.
o Include a hanging file for each class, activity, and personal interest.
o Keep extra files on hand to make it easy to create a new file for any new projects that may come up during the year.
o Use your child’s favorite colors and involve them in choosing supplies. One way to use color meaningfully is to use one color for classes, one color for activities, and another color for special interests. Alternatively, all the organizing supplies for a given subject could be the same color, e.g., the binder, notebook and files for science class might all be yellow.
For younger children, you can do the filing and they can take responsibility as they grow up. After each report card is received is a great time to clean out the files with your child and choose only a select few of the very best examples of their work to keep in their school archive.
Establish a weekly routine for cleaning out their backpack. Help your kids establish the habit of cleaning out their backpack on Sunday evenings by doing it with them.
This is a great way to teach them to plan ahead and start the week organized. Have them empty their backpack completely and only put back what they absolutely need for the next week.
May this school year be your best ever!
By Ariane Benefit
Neat & Simple Living