Just like most Netflix addicts, I was hooked on Tidying Up at the beginning of January and moved from room to room decluttering. I tossed clothes and things and then everything came to a complete stop when I ran into the “paper” stage. I finally realized that the biggest paper problem is KID PAPER! It just keeps showing up! I swear when we are all sleeping, they have babies and multiply!
I came up with a system to manage the kids’ paper problem. I think Marie Kondo would approve. Now if only I could find a solution for all the kids tiny little misplaced toys that float around.
Give It A Landing Pad
Designate a spot where you can put all the paper that comes home from school right when you walk in or where you empty backpacks. This will help keep everything together and easy to find when you need it. We have a desk as you come in from the garage. Their backpacks get hung close to it so this is our landing area. I use this as my sorting area and I found a gold file holder from Target that brings me JOY!
Toss Things Right Away
Go through folders and bags immediately and toss things that are not necessary, you’ve gotten already or that you don’t need. This helps widdle the pile to a manageable level. Once the pile doesn’t seem as overwhelming, it’s easy to go through what’s left.
When you find a paper with an important date, take a picture and save it to your phone. That way it’s easy to find the information on the go. It helps if you can assign it to a school paper album.
Fill out and return immediately
For things that need to be filled out, signed and returned, try to do these immediately and get them right back into the “send back to school” folder. This keeps you from stressing over missing papers later on.
File The Memories
My biggest issue is that everything seems important and memorable and I hate tossing art and misspelled papers. To combat this, I came up with a filing system. Each child gets a pretty folder for papers I can’t mark immediately. As I go through “memory papers” I write my kiddo’s name (if it’s not already on there), the date and their age on the back of the paper and then they are put into a storage bin. When we leave for practices, I can grab the folder to sort/label and it gets emptied into the storage bin when I get home and stored in the closet. When I’m a little less nostalgic, I can edit down the memories and keep just the most important pieces.
Turn art into seasonal decor!
This tip came from my Mom and I love it. For “seasonal” and holiday art, I label with name/date/age and I put them in a separate folder to take to the nearest teacher supply area that has a laminator. I make huge sheets with the art and cut out as needed. Then I use them to decorate for the holidays! The kids get a kick out of seeing their old art work. The laminating keeps it safe and seeing how their art changes is so fun.
Drop me your favorite ways to display or control your kid clutter…new tips always welcome!