Once you've organized your entryway for the back-to-school season, it's time to think about how the kids' paperwork will enter your home. Take a moment and reflect on last year:
- Were there spots where papers and artwork piled up? Did you ever see the top of your dining room table?
- If you did have a system in place, what worked and what didn't?
- Have you dealt with last year's artwork and paperwork yet?
Just as you set a routine on the kids entering the house, you can set a routine for the paperwork and artwork that comes in from school. No more piles! Work through a few questions to set up your own system:
Where will you collect incoming paper/artwork?
My system is similar to OrgJunkie's baskets, but I use stand-up magazine holders (cheapies from IKEA). They're inside a cabinet, so as I
shove file the paperwork and artwork in there, it's not cluttering up my dining room buffet or table.
How do you decide what to keep?
While Organizer Sandy's tip of one paper, per month, per child may seem harsh to many of you, I do follow her suggestions about what to toss vs. keep: worksheets are no big deal, but self-written stories and artwork are meaningful. You can even include the kids in the sorting process, sharing with them how each type of work shows their learning and/or creativity.
How often will you declutter?
One year, I tried scheduling a once-a-month session of decluttering the papers/art, but I couldn't stick to it. What works now is the limited amount of space in the magazine holder (basket, bin, whatever your'e using). Once the file is full–it needs to be decluttered–usually every other month or so. There's no opportunity for it to build up a whole year's worth of paper–per child–which would be overwhelming to me. As for what to do with the non-keepers? SimpleMom has a great list of What to Do With Kids' Artwork. I admit, I toss a lot, but I have three children so I'm bailing water from a sinking ship here!
If you already have a system that's working for your family, please share it with us in the Comments below.