July 13, 2015

Reader Question – How to Deal With School Papers

Once school is out for the summer, many families ignore the stack of papers that have been brought home over the course of the school year. Backpacks remain stuffed with old assignments and somewhere there’s a pile of projects that seemed important to keep.

A reader asked what to do with all the paperwork that accumulates during the school year, given that it’s going to start again in the fall.

One of the things I caution parents is that you can’t keep everything your child does. When you start to scrutinize each piece of paper that comes home, you notice that many are similar and that few truly are gems.

I suggest that each child have a box for school papers that display firsts – first spelling test, first A on a quiz, first time using multiplication, etc. Programs from performances your child participated in are fun to remember, as are exciting moments, like newspaper clippings showing a dignitary visiting the school.

In short, keep the best and toss the rest. You don’t need to keep every paper your child signed, but do keep representative samples of that signature so you can appreciate the changes over the years.

The same principles apply to artwork. I recently dedicated a blog post to that subject.

The way to keep papers from piling up is to make decisions about them immediately. You might want to post a worksheet on the refrigerator or a bulletin board for a period of time. After that, determine whether it merits a place in the keepsake box or if you can let it go.

Some people who have trouble making decisions hold on to everything and address it at the end of each term or the end of the school year. You might find it easier to pull just a few pieces when you have a large collection to choose from.

Whether you tackle the project once a year or weekly, make it a habit to go through kids’ papers. As they get older, have them participate in the process so they can learn to determine what is worth keeping.

Do you have an organizing or productivity question? Let me know and I’ll answer it in an upcoming post.

Organized by MarcieTM: Save time and money by letting go of what you don't need and finding room for what you value
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