How to organize your kid's school papers

Are you sitting on mountains of report cards and drawings? Don't worry—there's a way to organize what to keep and what should go.

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

We all start out thinking every toddler scribble is a future money-maker at a Christie’s auction. By grade one, we are planting trees as penance for the mountain of paper that has gathered in our homes. Productivity consultant, Susan Pons, suggests creating a labelled bin for each child, then scheduling regular times to review the contents.

Create folders for each child: Schoolwork, Artwork, and Report Cards and Certificates. As paper comes in, do a cursory sort before putting the folders back in the bin. Be honest about which masterpieces are worth keeping. Can they be photographed to be put into a keepsake album later? Are they good enough to earn space on the wall in a frame? Recycle the rest. At the end of the year, report cards can be stored in your filing cabinet for future reference. Permission forms should be dealt with using Pons’ “one touch” principle (see 4 tips to help you and your family get organized”) and signed immediately.

If cash is also required for the excursion, put the form with the cash in a zip-top bag and don’t move on until you see your kid actually put it in her backpack.

A version of this article appeared in our September 2016 issue, titled “Strategies for managing the avalanche of paper,” pg. 5.

Read more:
How to get your family organized and on a schedule—in three steps
The five Cs: The secret to finally mastering your to-do list
Back-to-school organization: Easy DIY communication station

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