Are you overwhelmed by your child’s papers? The younger they are it seems the more paper they bring home. Depending on the age of your children there are generally three types of children’s papers that come into the home.
LOOK AT: Their school papers that have been corrected and returned, notices
RETURN: The notices and/or items to be signed
KEEP for REFERENCE: The schedules you need to hang onto, contact list for scouts, CCD schedule, etc.
The LOOK AT group: First you need to decide whether you want to hang it up for a few days, save for posterity or save for now and purge at the end of the term. For this type you can easily use an accordion folder, or a desktop file with fat hanging folders or a hanging file like the one shown. If your child is in middle school or above they should have their own desktop file or a hanging file and should periodically clean out their notebooks and put the papers in a labeled folder for each subject. This way they are all together when it comes time to study for the midterm exams or review for MCAS.
If you just can’t bear to part with some of your child’s art work then leave it displayed for a while and then store in a memory box. At the end of the school year you and your child can enjoy the time going through the papers and picking no more than 10-15 favorites to save.
RETURN: Several clients I have use in/out boxes labeled for each family member. Each child is responsible for emptying their backpack of papers and putting any thing that mom or dad needs to see in their in box. Mom or dad then checks it each day and signs it and puts it in junior’s in box. Then when Junior is getting ready for tomorrow he has to put that signed paper into his backpack and place the backpack near the door.
KEEP for REFERENCE: Sports, Dance and Scout schedules should be entered into your planner and placed on the current month’s family calendar. It is also helpful for your child to enter it into their agenda as well. It helps them plan their long term projects better if they know when they have practice. If there are only a few schedules you may want to make a folder for your desktop file labeled schedules or put each child’s schedule in their folder.
Those Friday papers you get from school often have upcoming event dates. Those should be entered into your planner or electronic calendar as well. You can keep the paper until the event has taken place in a tickler file.
Group contact lists or the season schedule can also be kept in a binder using page protectors. I have created several Family notebooks that hold schedules, the recycle calendar, the library hours, favorite take out restaurant menus and other odds and ends that you need to hold onto but don’t know where to put them. Just make sure that each category is labeled and for a while you might want to put a reminder up that you saved such in such in the family notebook. Keep it easily accessible. You’ll be amazed at how much time it saves you.
If you struggle with your papers, then sign up on our website to receive this month’s Laine’s Logic Newsletter and read, “Paper, Paper Everywhere, but Not the One I Need!”