I have had a lot of moms ask me about what to do with school papers lately. It seems like each child comes home with a mound each day, and you are left with a puzzled look on your face wondering what to do with them all! Keep them? Toss them? Store them? Display them?
This is a system I developed in my own home, and it has seemed to help me a bunch when it comes to school paper clutter. Check it out!
It all starts the moment that backpack enters the home. Both of my children hang up their backpacks in their locker and bring them to me at the kitchen counter. I know to wait by the counter because if I don’t, this process will never follow through.
They hand me their papers and we go through them together! This helps me ask questions about homework and notes from the teacher, or if they are younger say, “Oooh! Look at that! Tell me about your picture!” (for those pictures you have no idea what they are)
TIP: I enjoy writing on the backs of their artwork if I do not know what they are, so that when I look back years from now, we know what it was a picture of!
As we go through them I make two piles: keep and throw away.
Once we have sorted them together, I toss the trash pile and go over to my Office to file them away in a temporary file. (or “command center” for those who do not have an office space)
(This works well for bills and mail as well! Sort as soon as they come in the house. Throw away the trash items and take the others to your station to file away or put in a bill organizer!)
My children each have a folder on my wall where I store their cute things they have made me. This works because it is easy to get to. If it was not such an easy process to get to and file, it would never get done. It takes me seconds to walk over and stick them in there.
Easy Peasy! This eliminates clutter on my counters COMPLETELY.
After a while, the folder will get full. This is where you take the folder and take everything inside the folder into a more “permanent storage” area. Then I put the folder in my office back so I can continue to put their papers away each day.
For our family, these storage bins work great! I can add file dividers and divide them into age, grade, the sky is your limit!
Our permanent storage bins are downstairs in our storage room. I maybe take them downstairs once a month- maybe longer.
Doesn’t that seem manageable? I think so too!
NOW: If you want to display their artwork or papers, just make sure it is contained to a certain space somehow.This could mean using a door, or the side of the fridge or some type of gallery wall. Do not just keep “adding to it” but rather “swap them out.” Take off the older ones and replace them with new ones. Stick to less than 5 papers. The older ones can then get stuck back in the temporary folder in your office to be filed away when you move them to permanent storage later.
For our home, I display my kids papers on the inside of their lockers in the mudroom with magnets. I tell them they can decorate them all on their own. They love it! And I do not have to worry about papers all over the house
and I can shut the door and not look at it all day long!!
I hope this helps!!
REMEMBER: YOU are in charge of what stays and goes in your home. If it doesn’t have a purpose or you do not love it, OUT IT GOES!!