Rock Back to School: Paper Taming

Rock Back to School: Paper Taming

Rock Back to School!It’s the time of year I love and dread as a mom.

The freedom of having kids in school is heady.

But the grind of getting them there every day with their forms filled out, their clothes fitting, and their lunches containing edible goodies is a challenge to even my mad organizational skills. (Stop laughing, you!)
This week, my best tips for getting and keeping in the back to school groove.

Today’s topic?
PAPER!!! Every mom’s arch-nemesis. But prepare to smash that paper tiger this year, once and for all.

Black Hole Binder1. Create a Black Hole Binder– huge ups to April from Simply Organized for this gem. Make a binder with a section for each kid, and a general family section. Have a pocket folder in each section. When the papers come barreling home from school, (the kind that don’t have to be given back- more on those in a minute) throw them in the Black Hole Binder. We keep ours by the phone, and it’s cut down of paper clutter exponentially.

 

 

2. Go to your school district’s website– odds are good that they have their entire year calendar in a downloadable format. If so, slap that bad boy in your Gmail or Icalendar, and voila! You have a jump on all those little academic surprises. If not? Email and ask for one, or consider creating it as a resource.

3. While you’re there, see if they have standardized forms for your kids– the emergency, contact, etc.- if the answer is yes, create a folder on your hard drive for each kid. Download all the standard forms for each kid to their folder. If they’re not a “Form” PDF, hit the Typewriter view button, fill it out, and save. Voila! Until you move or outgrow the school system, all you have to do is print these puppies out at the beginning of every school year. Bam! Three hours saved.

Kid Binders4. Make a binder for each individual kid– with a 3-ring pencil pocket in it. That’s where I stash passports, birth certificate, baptism certificate. soc. cards, insurance cards, and copies of current physical/vaccination forms. As they’re needed for various sports or travel activities, they’re grab and go ready. I have each kid color- coded, so their online folders match their physical binders.

You may want to keep these in a fire/waterproof box, in case of another kind of grab and go event.

Homework Spot5. Have a homework hotspot- The same place every day, with their supplies ready. I have mine put their backpacks in their chairs when not in use, and we go through for papers every night before homework. This prevents morning of surprises, and dissing dinner due to homework all over the kitchen table. Our homework hot spot? A card table with a cheerful table cloth.

6. We all love the papers our kids bring home– but if we save every one, we’ll drown in no time. I keep a 9×12 box for each kid on the bookshelf by the front door. As gems come in, they go in the box. if it overflows during the year, I have to go through and cull the herd. Big projects: we take a picture, print it out, put it in the box. then they each have a large, covered bin that each box goes in at the end of the school year- about Elementary school sized.

And big, flat art projects? I have those framed and hang ’em up around the house like the Picassos they are.

 
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Comments (1)

  1. Jenny Friday - 14 / 10 / 2011 Reply
    I love these ideas -- and I'd love to learn more. Can you please provide a url or link for April of Simply Organized? (It's such a popular name, I'm not sure I've found the right one!) Thanks so much!

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