Guest Blog by Susie Salinas
Can you relate? Your child comes home from school with yet another picture of a castle/triceratops/thumbprint creation. But there’s a problem. There isn’t one inch left on your refrigerator. Her artwork from last year is still piled up in the corner. If you file the drawing (stealthily, yet respectfully) in the recycling bin, she’ll find it in one hot second. You’ve got kid clutter of the sweetest kind.
What’s a mom to do?
It’s time for a system! Get on top of the paper piles once and for all by setting up short and long term systems that will set limits on what you can keep and give you a place to store the keepers that come home.
Read through the following five tips to help you on your journey to tackling this tricky situation!
1. You need an every day system. As soon as everyone is home from work and school, empty the backpack of papers. Take care of action items right away and return them to the backpack, toss what you don’t need, and set aside “keepers” in a basket, file, or drawer. (Have one for each child.)
2. You need a long-term system. Our favorite solution is a School Memory Box. Fill a file box with enough hanging folders for each school year and label. At the end of the year, or whenever your “keeper” basket is full, do another quick edit and add the best of the best to the SMB.
A school memory box is also a great place to store special memories from outside school time. For example, you could write a card to your child each year and slip it in for them to read later. Or interview them with a set questionnaire to see how their answers change as they get older.
You can use this printable to help you organize your box, and as a reference later on. It’s especially helpful if you move frequently!
3. Be selective. Don’t keep it all, even though you’ll be tempted. Keep your favorite pieces of school and art work that really show off your child’s skills or personality. Ask yourself, “Will they want this in 30 years?”
4. Be creative. If you or your child struggles with getting rid of artwork or school work, take photos. You can store these digitally or get them made into slim books. Alternatively, share the wealth! Send some artwork to grandparents or other family members.
5. Show it off. (Temporarily.) Another way to enjoy your kiddos’ hard work without keeping everything is to have a temporary display space. It can be the fridge, an easy-to-swap frame, a bulletin board, or a simple string with clothespins. Show the art work off for a while, then – when you’re ready, say goodbye!
Think of the relief you will feel to have contained all the chaos of your child’s school papers. Think of the joy you will feel to have collected all of your child’s treasures in one beautifully organized box. Think of the calm you will experience knowing you have a system in place to deal with all the new papers coming home each day. This is definitely a project worth doing; as we often say in the organizing world: Your future self will thank you! And in this case, so will your kids!
Want to learn more about organizing paperwork at home? Head over to Susie’s blog to get all the details!
Susie Salinas is the owner of Systems by Susie, a full-service, professional organizing company that operates in and near Annapolis, MD. Susie founded the company in 2014 with the mission of lightening the loads of busy families and business owners so they could have more time to do what they love. Now, she leads a team of organizers who work with clients to declutter, organize, and create systems so their spaces stay organized and they can spend their weekends doing what they love. Learn more about Susie and her team by visiting www.systemsbysusie.com! You can also keep up with the team’s projects and get inspired by following them on Instagram and Facebook.