School paper organization can be quite frustrating for parents when they have other paperwork they need to deal with so to help them develop a system specifically for their children's school work will make it easier for them to know where things go. Since both of my kids are now upperclassmen, I would like to share my wisdom with you. The process has helped keep all our school paperwork organized and have a place so EVERYONE can find them, even the kids. I hope it helps you and your family wherever you are in the process.
When my kids were just starting elementary school, and I saw all the paperwork that came home within the first week, I became anxious and worried I would miss something. So, to combat this, I decided I needed to find a place to store these papers. First, I had to find a location. The kids would come home and visit the kitchen first before doing their homework, so this spot was perfect to store these papers. Plus, I didn't want to have papers floating around and may get lost by the time it reached my desk on another floor. So, I decided I wanted the documents in the kitchen.
The next issue I had was I didn't have a lot of cabinet space to keep the item hidden. I had minimal cabinets back then, so we had to make space for something without it taking away from something else. I found this accordion folder that looked like a purse. It held the papers upright, and I could access just the paper I needed quickly.
Best of all, I was able to move it when I had company over. This system worked for many years.
Then, we remodeled the kitchen some years later, and I incorporated a "command center" to hold all my paperwork and other things. And, here's where I store these papers now. Visit DIY Kitchen Paper Management post for details on how I made it.
I kept the system the same just changed how I stored it. I installed a pull out drawer and got a Z folder and plastic pocket folders. And, I finished my NEW paper organizer. It's been 11 years since I established this system in our home and it still works beautifully.
To help you get your system up and running, I have included step by step instructions to help with determining the best type of system for you. I hope it helps you get your papers in order.
How to organize your children's activities paperwork
1. Ask yourself these questions when the paperwork comes home.
- Do I have a place to store all the paperwork for all the kid’s activities that I need to reference?
- Do I have a pile of paper left over after I go through the child’s paperwork?
- Where do I put the papers that I need to reference?
- Where do I put the papers I need for field trips and other events throughout the year? Has this system been working?
2. Determine what to store in this area.
- Is your kitchen small?
- Do you have a wall you don't use? I had a wall near the phone that we didn't use so I added a shelf that would hold the accordion folder.
- Do you have a drawer you can convert into a filing area?
- What area of the home is the first place your kids enter in the afternoon?
- Do your kids frequent that area often?
3. Decide on the tabs you want to use.
Inside the accordion expandable file, I included action files and labeled each section Jan—Feb, Mar-Apr, May-Jun, Jul-Aug, Sept-Oct, and Nov-Dec. I didn’t need too much space for each month, so I decided to have two months for each section. It gave me a place to store papers for the future too. I also added sections like "after school activities" and then added manilla folders for each of the activities, so I could swap out if she didn't want to do the activity any longer.
- Do your kids do after school activities outside of school?
- Do the kids have school activity papers (like choir, orchestra, band) that need storing at home?
- Where do you keep your paperwork now?
- Do your kids have other schools they go to like a religious school?
- Do these activities need more than one folder? Do I need more folders in one particular event?
Don't forget to think of other things that you may want to add to this system, like a home references section. I put manuals I referenced to regularly, phone numbers, take out menus, other miscellaneous household items I needed to keep in the Kitchen.
Make notes of the different tabs you need and how many will be required to hold all the papers. Decorative accordion folders usually have a maximum of 12 to 19 openings. You may need to be less specific if you can't find enough accordion folders tabs. If you need more folders than one accordion folder can hold, try using plastic pocket folders instead as I did above.
4. Take action and put the system together.
Purchase all the stuff you need and then set up your system. Make this a process that everyone can use, so you don't have to be managing it all the time.
A system to find events in an accordion folder
Now, when an event comes along, you have a place for them. But wait, if you have a lot of papers in a particular section, it may be difficult for you to find it, right? I have the solution for you! I created this system that works. I call it the 'SND' Method, the 'Sticky Note Date' Method. Here's how it works.
When you get an event that you want to keep for the future, and it has important dates on it, write the date on a sticky note and any needed items on it. Then, stick it at the top of the paper (as shown below), so it can be seen and sorted by date in the accordion folder pockets. Then, file it under the action month or child it pertains to depending on the content.
Well, there you have it the best way to manage school papers in your kitchen. I found that this process gave me a sense of order in the kitchen as well as with all the papers that come to me throughout the week. Hopefully, this system will work for you as well.
Let's continue the conversation, how do you manage your papers in your home? What products do you use? Please leave a comment below.
Looking for more paper management tips, visit some other experts articles or my posts below.
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