It’s almost time to head back to school, and the question I get asked most often by families with school-aged children is: what to do with the high volume of school papers that come home in backpacks? Between the arts and crafts projects, the permission slips and the homework folders, kid’s school papers can overwhelm a space quickly and add clutter.
If schoolwork and artwork have the tendency to overtake your family’s living spaces or get lost in the shuffle, this school year, follow these get-organized tips for sorting, displaying and storing your children’s papers.
1) SORT. Set your kids up for success by establishing a clear spot for their school papers and backpacks to land as they arrive home from school. Create a family command center in your home’s entryway, in a closet, or, like in the photo below, along a wall near the kitchen. Install hooks at a kid-friendly height for backpacks, or use bins or baskets on the floor to corral bags, and teach them to empty their school bags right away. Depending on your set up, use paper trays, wall-mounted document holders or storage bins (ditch the lids) to create “homes” for homework folders, notices from school for parental review, and artwork. Older kids may be able to do the sorting independently, but for the little ones, do it with them and you’ll be teaching them the life-long skill of organization.
2) SHOWCASE. The days of cluttering the fridge with artwork are over. Instead, create a “wall of fame” and hang your kid’s art on a wall, a door or a window. Pro tip: make it easy to update and maintain! Implement a simple string and clip solution, like in the photo below, or install the sturdy and popular Ikea Dignitet stainless wire and clip system, which allows for maximum flexibility since kid art isn’t always one size. Or, create a gallery wall by making “frames” made with colorful masking or Washi tape, or by hanging Li’l Davinci Kid’s Art Frames, which open from the front and are super easy update. Most importantly, to minimize the potential for clutter, curate the collection and rotate art often so that your kids see their latest and greatest works on display. My next tips cover how to keep what’s most meaningful, and how to use tech to snapshot then toss the rest.
3) KEEP. Store your kids’ mementos, artwork and important schoolwork in acid-free bins or file boxes. Of course, not everything your child creates or brings home from school is a masterpiece or super special, but for the items that are precious to you, keep the memento bin or box handy and commit to adding to it on a regular basis. Each child should have their own memento bin(s), and if they didn’t already do this, write their name and date on the back for posterity’s sake. By adopting this habit, you can rest assured that you’re keeping your kiddos’ papers wrinkle-free and safe, and you cut down on the paper piles and clutter.
4) DIGITIZE. For the items that don’t make into the memento box, use a free or low-cost App to snap photos of your kid’s art and then… Let It Go. Kid’s Artwork Apps like Artkive, Keepy and Canvsly make it easy to store, organize, edit and share with family. Apps are especially helpful for memorializing those oversized or 3-D pieces that don’t fit into memento boxes easily. A nice idea is to publish your kid’s art into cool, bound art books that can sit out on the coffee table and that they can keep forever. Bottom line: if you want to release some guilt about tossing artwork and papers, these Apps can help!
I hope these four tips help you with your back to school organization and preparation. For my product picks and more photo inspirations check out my Pinterest Board: Back to School_Organizing School Papers and follow me on Pinterest. Here’s to a happy and organized school year ahead!