460438387It’s that time of the year again.

No matter whether you homeschool or send your kids to private or public school, the influx of papers has begun!

I’ve spent over 25 years managing school papers. Some years I fared better than others. Some strategies worked better than others. What I learned, however is that you have to match the strategy with what works best with your temperament and personality.

That’s right…there’s not one right way.  There are many right ways.  What you have to determine is what is the right way for YOU and YOUR FAMILY.

What’s most important, though, is that you have a strategy.  If not, you’ll get clutter. Clutter is the result of delayed decision-making.  So as we start the new school year, you have several options to choose from.  What strategy you choose NOW will help keep clutter at bay throughout the school year.

Here are a few options to consider. Which one resonates with you?

The Keep Everything Strategy–A friend recently shared her solution for managing the paper – don’t sort as you go; only sort at the end of the year. My friend gives each of her kids a box with their names on it and each time a paper comes home, she drops it in the appropriate box. At the end of the school year, she sorts through everything and keeps only the important stuff. It saves her time and sanity during the school year and, in the end, creates a keepsake of only her kids’ best work! (Plus it’s easier to throw things away after the sentiment wears off!)

The Throw Away Strategy–This strategy tosses most of the papers the kids bring home, keeping only occasional pictures/papers to put in their keepsake box or to post on the fridge for a few days.  Some moms who do this strategy will keep all papers for a week and sort through them every Saturday to protect their kids from bringing home papers only to see them tossed minutes later.

The Send Some To Grandma Strategy–This strategy consists of keeping a 9×12 envelope handy that you put some colored pictures or papers completed into the envelope each week and mail to grandma and grandpa once a month.  This keeps Grandma and Grandpa in the loop of what the child is learning and puts a smile on the child’s face when they visit Grandma and Grandpa and see their work displayed at their house.

The “Take a Picture” Strategy–This strategy keeps just one or two papers a month from your child’s schoolwork and takes a picture of the rest. One mom I know makes a small photobook of her child’s art for each school year. Another mom scans the artwork and creates her own Christmas cards and stationary from her kid’s school papers and art projects.

Whatever strategy you choose to use, the important thing is that you do three things:

1) Pre-decide how you’ll handle school papers by determining a strategy that works for you

2) Gather boxes, files, tubs, or whatever containers you will use to manage papers

3) Make your system easily accessible so you’ll actually use it every day

What about you?  Do you have another school paper management strategy that works for you?  What strategy do you use? 

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