Now that school has started, isn’t it amazing the amount of paperwork that your kids bring home?
While some schools are doing a good job of sending newsletters and information home electronically, there still is a mountain of papers on the counter after just one or two days of school. Artwork, homework sheets, phone lists, permission slips, and birthday party invites are already threatening to take over my kitchen. Here are some tips to keep on top of it and not let it take over your house.
1. Designate a place to put all school papers. Do you have a desk or place to set up a few files? If not, claim a place in the kitchen, office or laundry room that is the perfect spot for school papers. Ask the kids to help out and empty the folders in their backpack every night so nothing gets forgotten or misplaced.
2. Create a folder filing system. You’ll need folders for temporary papers, permanent information, and kid’s artwork. In the temporary folders, put the paperwork that you need to hang onto for a few days. This can be field trip forms, notices for school parties, birthday party invitations, or weekly homework packets. At the end of the week, empty the folder into the recycle bin. In the permanent folder, include school phone numbers, schedules, contact numbers for afterschool activities, etc. Finally, throw your kids artwork in a special folder. At the end of the month, go through it and keep the masterpieces you want. Don’t forget to date them first! (Download my FREE eGuide on How to Organize and Showcase Your Kids Artwork for more ideas.)
3. Create folders or a holding area for your kids other educational activities such as Religious Education Classes, Tutor schedules, Spanish class, piano, etc. We have a few magazine racks sitting on the laundry room counter for this purpose because they can hold papers, folders, and any text books the kids need to grab for their weekly classes. I put it in the laundry room so it's easy to grab as we walk out the door for class.
4. Box tops. Collecting Box Tops for school? Have an envelope or small box in a kitchen drawer designated to hold the box tops you collect to send in for school fundraising. When it is collection time, they will be easy to find so you can divide them up equally between the kids to send in.
5. Family Schedules at a Glance. Get a designated Family Calendar. It is essential to have a place where everyone in the family can refer to for upcoming activities, appointments, and social dates. If someone asks your daughter to babysit, she can easily check and see if she is available. If Dad comes home from work and no one is home, he can check the calendar and see that everyone is at soccer practice. There are several Mom or Family Planning Calendar brands on the market, so see which one works best for you, or create your own.
What other tips do you have for getting the kids' paperwork organized so you feel more in control?