Are you celebrating the end of the school year with mountains of worksheets and school papers? Today is my kids’ last day of school (we made it!) and they have been bringing home mountains of paper all week.
So, for this week’s clutter hotspot, I decided to declutter a giant pile of school papers.
We do deal with most of the paper as part of my paperwork system. Here are the steps:
- Address any to-dos immediately or add to my planner
- Recycle most of the papers daily
- Anything that needs to be kept goes on a shelf in a kitchen cupboard
It’s not a fancy system, but it does the job.
[Tweet “A simple, functional organizing system is much better than one that’s stylish but hard to manage.”]
Since they were bringing home so many papers, I had been letting them pile up for a few days. Now was the perfect time to declutter.
I followed my typical decluttering process:
- Pull out everything to be organized
- Dispose of / put away
How to sort school papers
I put all the papers into a big stack on my desk. You can’t declutter until you see what you’re dealing with. You’ll notice above that there’s a lot more than just school paperwork on my desk. (Sigh.)
Danger! Danger! Don’t make this mistake!
Whatever you do, do not start looking closely at these papers! This is not a trip down memory lane! You’ll get lost and never come back 🙂 You can enjoy your kids’ schoolwork later; right now your job is to sort.
Then I sorted the papers into these categories:
Category: to recycle
This was the easiest category. Most of the papers were just random worksheets, school announcements, school handbooks, and such. My kids aren’t particularly attached to their worksheets so they went into the recycle pile.
Category: special papers
The kids got a couple awards and one of them loves to write. I kept the awards and most of the writing. I will browse through my son’s writing later and see if he wants to keep some of his stories.
Category: things to go back into temporary storage
I had a few announcements from the school that we needed to hold on to. These went back on the now empty shelf in the kitchen.
Category: leftover school supplies
After all this was sorted out, I was left with a few almost empty notebooks. I put those on a shelf and will give them to my 4 year old when he needs somewhere to color.
Category: to ask the kids
I have a small stack of things I’ll save to ask the kids if they want to keep. These are things like school planners and a handwriting workbook – I’m guessing they won’t care, but I want to make sure.
Next dispose of / put away what’s left.
I made several trips out to the recycle bin. After putting back the extra school supplies, all I have left to deal with is the small pile of things to ask the kids about.
How do you declutter kids’ artwork?
We do have a lot of art that the kids brought home. We will probably hang some of them on the wall, send some to the grandparents, and recycle the rest.
When you ask your kids to pick their favorites, it’s easier to let go of most of the art. This way you don’t end up with too many masterpieces.
This is a simple decluttering project that only took about 15 minutes.
And now we’re officially on a summer break! But I still need to do something about the rest of that desk…
Do you have a lot of school paperwork? Have you decluttered your papers lately?
You can see the other clutter hotspot posts here:
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2 thoughts on “Clutter hotspot: school papers”
Everything is a favourite with my kids! They hate to throw away any piece of paper. So, I don’t give them the choice. I choose my favourites and file them away in a hanging file, one per year, and put those all in an archive box. At the moment I’m using cardboard archive boxes for this but they’re about to fall apart so I’ll have to upgrade to plastic. When I do that, I’ll go through the last few years of work and see if there’s anything that can be tossed, because I’m sure I don’t need to keep all of it.
When each of my kids were 4 I made them a little book through Artscow, a Retrospective of their Early Work. I made it as poncy as possible to try to make it look like a museum guide. They’re a lot of fun. I made one for us and one for each set of grandparents.
I love your ideas! I’ll bet they love those books. Doing something like that really shows them how special their work is to you and I’ll bet it preserves the art much better than just keeping it in a box.