The last few weeks, I have spent my time gearing up for the school year.
As I have been organizing, sewing, and preparing....I realized that I have been doing this for 12 years (including preschool) now! I figured I could share some of my own habits to keep this family organized and do the little things that make sure they are completely ready!
Today, I thought I would share what I do to keep the paper flood that begins on the first day under control! So far, I have been on the ball....but in May, I wasn't so much! The backpacks were stored away in their home in the garage cabinet and I discovered I had a bit of work ahead of me!
So I thought I would take the moment of sorting through it all to share how I handle it!
PLEASE NOTE: This is not about "looks" for me, it is all about function.
Someday I will pretty all of it up!
Start the moment the kiddos open their backpacks!
The wad of papers:
Sort the papers right away. Granted, if they hand the papers to you while you are cooking dinner, like mine do, stack the pile knowing you will be sorting before you go to bed. This is NOT fun in the morning. Trust me!
There are three categories....Return, Trash, and File.
Return: IMMEDIATELY return any forms that need to be filled. Write the checks/attach the cash. Sign the graded paper and test. Make decisions about buying the newest Spirit shirt, yearbook order, or the Libary book club as soon as you receive the form. DO NOT hold on to them. Give them back. I have made the mistake of holding something to "think" on it and have missed deadlines!
Trash: This is really difficult for parents. But I am going to be honest. The first year my oldest went to Kindergarten, I kept EVERYTHING. I had a whole Rubbermaid tub full. It wasn't pretty. Can you imagine if I continued the madness? I calculated that I would have 27 tubs. Yes. 27!!!
So be smart. Keep the special things like handprints, art (but not every single thing in preschool), projects, and papers that are great examples of handwriting. If they struggled with a concept and finally got it and the teacher wrote "YOU DID IT". It's a keeper. I usually gauge it based on how much the child covets it. Keep it! All else...trash (or recycle in my house!).
IMPORTANT: DO NOT DO THIS IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILD. EPIC TEARS WILL COMMENCE!
File: So you saved all of the items...NOW WHAT?
Short term: This is where you sort your items by child. I keep all the items in this for the week. Ex. Graded items, field trip info, artwork and paperwork to be saved, study guides, spelling lists.
Long Term: At the end of the weekend when I have a quiet moment, I file the items to clear out the wall file boxes so they are empty for the next week. They get placed in a three different places.
- School Binder: Items that include future dates (field trip). Reference items (teachers syllabus), lunch menu, PTO events, Photo order forms with the check number and amount written on it (I am missing last years class photos, I promise...comes in handy) etc. Basically anything that I might need throughout the year.
I like the dividers that have pockets, but I also have a punch holder that stays inside the binder.
I have separate sections for various items. A section each for the two different schools they go to. A section for each child specifically (class papers).
- File: A regular file folder for report cards, awards, conference reports, modifications/IEPs, etc. Anything we will need if we ever had to transfer schools or had to reference in a meeting with school officials.
Portfolio: For the memorabilia. Remember all the artwork, papers, projects? They go in here for the long term storage at the end of the school year. I love these envelopes. I buy a big pack from Office Depot.
I keep all three items in a deep drawer in the kitchen. That way the are easy to pull out Sunday afternoon.
I hope this helps. But if not, no hurt feelings!
UPCOMING: LONG TERM STORAGE AT THE END OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!