Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dirtiest Word...Clutter: The School Days Edition

School has started and while kids may be sullen..."woo hoo" was my response.  Summertime boredom got the best of this household towards the end.  Two days into the school year and already the school clutter has began... backpacks, lunch pails, shoes and little bits of paper can take over your house if you are not careful.

Last year we struggled to come up with a system to reign it all in but I think this year we have it under control. Perhaps these ideas will stir your creative juices and you too can escape the clutter that comes with gooey art projects and athletic equipment.

1. Get the kids in on the action

There is no playtime in our house until...the lunch box is emptied next to the sink and put away, the shoes are put in a basket next to the door, and any papers mom or dad need to sign are put in a designated spot on the kitchen counter (next to the phone in our house).  *At this time we don't need a basket to keep these papers sorted but I have one ready for when we do.

2.  Worksheets

At first my daughter was heartbroken when she would see worksheets in the recycle bin.  However, we had a discussion about how we can't bring in "new to us" things unless we get rid of our old things (we have this discussion frequently at our keep the clutter at bay).  I do not keep printed worksheet but I do hang onto stories for awhile (more about that later).  I now take worksheets if they are clean on the backside I use them for scratch paper or even as printer paper.  No sense wasting anymore precious trees and it saves me money too.  Since worksheets tend to be a standard 8 1/2" x 11" they can be stacked and stapled at the top to make a great scratch pad or pad for your child's future artistic endeavors.

3.  Art projects, stories, pictures

I'm a bit sentimental about my children's art projects and I want to keep them all (but I can't or we wouldn't have anywhere to sit).  I pick the best of the best during the school year and store them in a large box (copy paper boxes work great).   After school is out for the year and my child has moved onto new things I go through the box and really become selective on what I keep.  I then punch holes in those pictures, stories, etc. or put them in page protectors and keep them in a three-ring binder.  My kiddo likes to look at her old work and see how far she has progressed.  Also, with this method it is easy for me to get even more selective later on when the binder is getting full and pull somethings out.

4. Reminder notices and calendars

Put any important dates from school on the calendar immediately.  Also make a place to tack up any fliers or calendars that you may need to keep.  I literally hot-glued clothes pins to an old cork board so I have lots of "clips" to put all the school notices and to keep them away from other papers that my husband or I may need to have up and out.  My daughter of course painted the board and clips and so it is very colorful to say the least.

Best wishes during this school year.

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