Help!! I'm buried in school papers
By Nancy Kruschke McKinney
At a recent seminar, one of the attendees said, ďCan you help me? I am buried in all of the school papers my three kids bring home; forms to sign, events to remember, art projects, class work, order forms, on and on and on.Ē
I will address each type of items separately, but the same questions need to be asked and answered by you. This is your system and it is important that you make the decisions. The questions are:
ō Where will I put the items when they come into my house?
ō How long do I need to or will I keep the item?
ō What is the maintenance schedule for the systems I set up for each item?
Papers to sign and return
Most likely, these are the most important papers that come into your house. Like bills to pay, have a specific spot that you or the kids can place these papers. Examples: a clip on the refrigerator specifically for these, a wall box to put them in, a letter tray or stack shelf, the multi-colored mobile file (you can see these on my website at http://www.sosorganize.net/products.html).
It is important to check this location on a daily basis to read and complete any forms as needed. Teach your children to check the clip in the morning and add the papers to their backpack, or add it to your morning routine to read, sign, and give to your kids. This takes care of the how long to keep the item and the maintenance.
Upcoming event reminders
These papers could also be added to the clip on the refrigerator or other location(s) as discussed above. When you review them, immediately add the items to the family calendar and your personal or work calendar. Donít waste time handling these papers multiple times.
If you need to hang onto these papers until the event happens, give them a holding place. If you have a paper that goes with a specific date, make a note on the calendar to that effect. This will help you remember to take the paper to the event.
Donít forget to flip through these papers on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
School work (homework, class work, special projects)
If your children are young, you may be the one making the decisions on what to keep. The key is to make the decisions, write them down, and follow them. Do you want to keep every paper that comes from school? Do you wan to keep test papers and projects? Once you have decided what to keep, also, decide where you will keep them; in the kids room, in your office, etc. Papers are easily stored in manila folders and hanging files. Envelopes work well too.
As an example, we have a file box set up with hanging files and manila files for each subject. My son, age 12, brings his papers home, we look at them, he files them and on a quarterly basis, we go through them and keep the best test scores and research papers he has written. This gives him a chance to look over the topics he has learned so far in the school year. Then at the end of the school year, I take those few papers that we kept, do one more go through and file them in a folder set up for that grade. These I have filed in my office.
Also, decide who are you keeping the papers for? Are you keeping them for you, your child, or grand parents? If you canít answer this, then maybe letting all of the papers go is OK.
Art projects (large papers, sculptures, etc.)
Larger items are more difficult to store. If you receive multiple wonderful drawings weekly, get your child involved and say something like ďThank you so much for the wonderful art work, mommy loves them all so much, but there is only space for two of these, I canít decide which two to keep, will you choose for me?Ē This involves your child in the decision, helps you deal with the guilt of throwing their maser pieces away, and reduces the papers to a manageable level.
So, now that you have fewer of them, how do you store them? I know people who display them on the garage walls, or a kitchen wall. Once you are done displaying the artwork, a great storage box is a clean empty pizza box. These are easy to label and store.
For larger pieces of artwork, clay sculptures, etc. First decide if you want to display any of them, where, and for how long. When you are done displaying them, choose their next location, in the basement, attic, kidís room, etc. Shoe boxes, storage boxes, poster tubes all work well to store these larger items. Be sure to label the storage unit.
These are just a few ides on how to manage all of those papers, projects, and sculptures that come into your house on a daily basis. The reality is we cannot keep them all, there is not enough room.
Nancy Kruschke, owner of Successful Organizing Solutions (S.O.S.) is an organizing coach, consultant, and speaker. Nancy can be reached at 608-441-6767 or Nancy@SOSorganize.net or visit www.SOSorganize.net.