Mastering the Paper Shuffle…Back to School Organizing
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You purchase the yearbook in September for that great reduced price and by May you can’t find the receipt? You are discussing class placement for next semester with the school counselor on the phone and wish you could be looking at last year’s report card and standardized test results? You can’t remember if your kiddo supposed to bring a snack for this field trip because the form came home three weeks ago?
If you’re like most moms, managing multiple kids in multiple schools, these situations probably sound all too familiar. It seems like the beginning of the school year is a sea of paperwork even in this electronic age. The schools are getting better at streamlining it all into nice take home packets, but it still can be overwhelming for even the most organized moms among us.
Here’s the system we developed a few years ago in our house…the school binder. Each child has a three ring binder that stays on the shelf in the kitchen with a hole puncher right next to it. Why the kitchen? Because no matter how hard I’ve tried, all the papers still end up on the kitchen table. So instead of fighting the battle, I brought my organizational arsenal to the site of the mayhem. The presence of the hole punch is critical, too. You must punch and insert immediately or it just becomes another “to do” stack of papers. Keep the recycling bin handy as well!
I have dividers in the notebooks based on what makes sense for each child and his/her age. Categories include: Schedules, Notes, Projects, Receipts, Math Samples, Writing Samples, Assessments, Resources.
I like the math and writing samples as a way to save a few great masterworks from the year that I can transfer into a memory portfolio at the end of each grade. The assessment section is great for tracking report cards and those standardized test scores. I use the resource section for interesting website ideas I might find or saving future information for the next child coming up.
The binder system has really been successful in our house. I feel like I have a wealth of information right at my finger tips particularly for all those important letters and syllabi that come home at the beginning of each school year.
Do you have a school paper organization plan in your house? I’d love to hear your ideas.