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Successful School-year Strategies 2: Organizing Papers

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organizing school papers tips

We continue our Monday Series, Successful School-year Strategies, with a look at organizing your kids (and yourself) for school. By maintaining a routine and very specific guidelines for the paper placement you will point your compass in a successful direction.

Here’s the scenario, you come home to start dinner.  Before the pasta water is boiling you have art projects in your face, permission slips to sign, and two birthday parties that need your RSVP.  It is easy to become overwhelmed by the sea of information.  Here we offer a few tips to move you along.  Please post your tips, comments or questions following the post.

savourfiling systems


Whether or not you are available when your kids get home, create a system that can be managed without your presence. Use bins, or giant clothespins, or something that is clearly labeled and have your kids separate their papers accordingly. The three labels we use are TO BE SIGNED, TO BE READ, and CALENDAR EVENTS. If it is done ahead of time then you can deal with it in peace while they start on their homework.

Things to consider:

  • Immediately discard anything you don’t need.
  • Note pertinent information from notices on the family calendar and discard the notice.
  • Review graded papers each night. I know some people who save all graded papers in a binder until the end of the grading period in case of discrepancies.
  • Review upcoming projects and homework nightly.
  • Choose a time to file papers and discuss schoolwork nightly and stick to it. This will alleviate the rush to finish it up just before you head out the door in the morning.
  • Backpacks should be emptied out nightly and restocked with necessary items.
  • Put the responsibility in the hands of your children. This will require some follow-up, naturally, but a system that can be managed independently is best for everyone involved. 
  • Keep a bin for awards, art projects, and papers you wish to keep.  Limit yourself to only one bin per child. In this way, if you want to save something and it is full, you will have to discard something else.
  • Create a system that works without you being present.
  • In modern home photographs, there is often a notable absence of anything that looks like a family hub. Families do exist and so does their stuff.  Don’t try to tuck your calendar out of view. In this case, there is definitely some truth to ‘out of sight, out of mind’.


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