Life Hacks: What to Do With All The School Paperwork Kids Bring Home
Ever feel like you’ve just cleaned up, but then you look around and your living room is already full of your kids’ stuff? Me too!
As a working mom, your time is precious. The last thing you want is to spend most of it organizing the paperwork your kids seem to bring home constantly. It piles up pretty quickly, and then what?
If you’re tired of spending the school year frustrated with mountains of school paperwork, there’s no better time than the new year to put an end to the madness! But before you resort to throwing it all away (or find yourself starring in Hoarding: Buried Alive), I’ve got some simple life hacks that will help you manage, organize, and keep track of your kids’ school paperwork.
First Things First: Change Your Thinking
Many of us might think of anything that our kids bring home from school as important and worth saving. Not necessarily! Not every single bit of paperwork is important, and not everything is worthless either.
In order to stay organized, you need to realize that some things are worth keeping, and some just aren’t. With this thinking in place, let’s get down to the business of maintaining your sanity.
Digitize and Minimize
Scan or take photos of any of your kids’ school paperwork that can be kept in soft copy. This will allow you to recycle these papers, while still retaining the information or work you need. The bonus is that storage of soft copies takes significantly less space than storage of actual printed paperwork and creates zero clutter (YES to having less to clean up)!
As with all digital data, remember to back it up, just in case.
Set Up a Homework Station
It doesn’t have to be too fancy, just a desk and some shelves will do. But don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild either. Setting up a homework station allows you and your kids to keep all school supplies (paperwork included) in one designated area, making it easier to deal with.
Start here: Label and/or color code desk drawers and shelves to keep papers organized. Create file folders for each class or subject matter and encourage your children to put all papers away as part of clean up before bedtime each night.
Invest in a Filing System
You and your kids should have separate filing systems. Your kids’ files belong in the homework station; yours belong elsewhere—your home office or a desk area where you keep other important papers like bills.
A great filing system will help you keep things organized and will give you a designated place to put paperwork as soon as it comes home. However, keep the number of files you have per child to a minimum – 2 should do:
One for class-related information
One for extracurriculars and forms
Get Your Kids Involved: Establish an After-School Routine
This will not only save you time but can be used to teach your children how to stay organized and responsible at home. An example of an after-school routine could be:
Notices, newsletters, schedules, upcoming events, and anything that needs to be signed, completed, or created should be placed in mom’s designated inbox for school paperwork.
Homework that needs to be done should be placed in mom’s action box.
Artwork, awards, and report cards can be pinned up on a wall, or displayed temporarily on the fridge.
Whatever your routine looks like, make sure it works for you and your family. Just be sure to get your kids involved in the process of organizing paperwork.
Temporary Art Gallery
As a proud mom, sometimes you can’t help but want to display your little Picasso’s pieces of art. Reuse old frames, tap into your DIY skills, and hang them up for a week.
If you really want to keep them long term, digitize and get rid of the originals. Yes, they’ll be cute to look at in a couple decades when they’re all grown up, but I guarantee the originals won’t last that long—and they’ll take up much-needed space!
Schedule Frequent Cleanups
Sometimes life gets hectic and despite our best efforts, school paperwork still piles up. Stay on top of it by scheduling one day each week or month (whatever works for you) to get rid of all the paperwork you no longer need or that is no longer valid.
Make this a family cleanup day—it’s another opportunity to get the kids involved in the organization and cleanup process!
Life Hacks: Consistency is Key
Life hacks are all about making small changes; and when it comes to organizing your kids’ school paperwork, staying consistent is key. These small changes are designed to make your life easier in the long run, and let’s face it—as moms, we could use all the life hacks we can get!
Take the time to implement these small changes, saving yourself time in the long run—moments that could be better spent on some me time (you deserve it)!