Friday, June 12, 2009

How I Organize My Kids' School Stuff

I have merged ideas from several different people to come up with the best way to keep my kids' school work well organized. Since it's the end of the school year, and I just finished the 5-step process, I'll show you how I do it.

1) The "Special Place"

Throughout the year, I have ONE place for each kid that I keep all of their school work. This keeps me from having to decide on a daily basis what to keep and what to toss; I just take the work out of their backpack, maybe remove something really special to hang on the fridge, and put the rest in the "special place". In our house right now, I have enough drawers to give each kid their own, so the "special place" is currently "The Drawer".

2) The Sorting

At the end of the year, I go through The Drawer and sort out the things I want to keep. It's much easier to trash stuff when I can see that there are 15 similar pieces of work-I don't feel so attached to each one. I try to choose things that show the child's development during the year. My favorite pieces, I scan so that I will always have a copy, and so I can include them in their yearly digital scrapbooks. Sometimes, if I'm in psycho-organizing mood, I laminate all of the stuff, but this year I'm out of the lamination materials, so that will have to be a project for another day.

3) The Beloved Box

It's a hand-dandy plastic box that are made for legal-size hanging folders. Each kid gets his or her own box.

4) The Folder and Labels

Each school year gets a folder. On the label, I put the grade, the school year (2008-09), where we are living at the time, and the teacher's name. Sure, I may be able to remember this stuff for a few years, but over time, with 4 different kids and numerous different schools and teachers, I am sure I will forget. I put the school work in the folder along with report cards and class pictures and any other odds and ends from the year.

5) The Big Folder

Over-sized art stuff goes into one of these babies (each kid has his or her own), making sure everything is labeled with a name and date.

That's it.

And I'm happy to report I now have empty drawers again, ready for the next school year! (And yes, Janice, this makes me so happy, it deserves an exclamation point. :) )

Have a great weekend.

(One week from right now I'll be in Colorado, drinking milk. Maybe in Target. No, drinking milk in Target would be weird. Maybe I'll be drinking Dr. Pepper in Target, that would make more sense since I will have just gotten off of an all-night flight. Ahhhhhhh, I can't wait.)


Abby said...

My mom had a drawer for each of us too--I think her system was very similar to yours (but maybe not always quite as organized, and it involved colors--I was always pink). I'll have to keep this process in mind for the future.

I'm VERY jealous you get to go on vacation in a week. I know we just took a big trip to visit you a mere five or so weeks ago, but I'm ready for another...

Happy travels:)

Ballerina Girl said...

I like the new design! I need a new one too :)
Great tips! I do similarly, except that I sort as the "stuff" comes home.
I put the teachers names and the school, places where we are in a scrapbook for them...but really simple, just a few pages for each year. The rest goes into their folders, too...
Have a good weekend and see you Monday!


nikko said...

I have a somewhat similar system, but hadn't thought of putting teachers name and school year on the tabs.

Maine Mom said...

Great system! I like the fact that you save all of the papers until the end of the year and then decide what to keep. Sometimes it's hard to tell what to keep and what to toss during the year.

I love your new blog look!

marina said...

I really need to start cleaning out our stuff form school there is sooooo... much paper work where do I beagin........

I am gald you are doing alot better now and are going home soon I hope you have a nice summer. hugs, marina

Janice said...

Yes, it does deserve an exclamation point. You may use them just not more than once at the end of a sentence and consider if it really needs it.

Fabiola said...

You have a great system and (even though I hate an organizing job) it feels good when we are finished.

I am sure you are excited to go home and enjoy all the "fun" stuff like Target and a really good peanut butter : )


Code Yellow said...

I am bookmarking this post - such a great system!

And I could just weep from jealousy that you will be in Target...sigh.

Aaron Waldrip said...

You know, I don't think I've ever told you how glad I am that you keep this blog going. I miss you guys a lot, and it's nice to be able to follow your lives a little. Can't wait to see you in July!

Sue said...

I love the big clear box idea! I have the same sort of system but I have been keeping one pizza box per year (per child). These boxes look nicer and are easier to look through! Thanks :)