Summer has flown by once again and the new school year is in full swing!
Cue the influx of school papers, kids’ artwork, and mementos that typically pile up in that decorative bowl on your kitchen counter until you finally relocate that pile to another room that is less visible…but still not very organized.
We’ve outlined the ONE system you need to avoid this pile of chaos and stay organized all year long.
Step 01 – Designate an empty bin for each child.
These bins are for mementos or keepsakes. Things like artwork, certificates, teacher notes, etc.
Depending on the age of your kids, the size of the bins you need could vary.
For example, kindergarteners bring home an art project every week and your bin will fill up fast. Middle schoolers will have less art projects and more paperwork type keepsakes.
The bin you choose depends on where you’re going to store it. If you’re going to store it somewhere visible, we love these linen storage boxes from The Container Store.
If you are going to store the bins in your garage or somewhere out of sight we recommend these weathertight storage bins (these can also accommodate hanging files).
Step 02 – Create your Information Center.
The Information Center, as we like to call it, is for anything that is needed for reference.
Things like extracurricular information, lunch schedules, reading lists, etc.
To create this, you will need one file organizer that you will use for all of your kids. We love this linen desktop file because it doesn’t take up too much space and it looks nice if you keep this out in the open for easy access.
If surface space is really an issue, you could also use a hanging wall organizer like this one.
In addition to the file organizer, you will also need one file folder for each child and one file folder for family reference.
Step 03 – Label everything.
This is the most important step! Do not get the bins and folders and tell yourself you will label it later or you don’t need labels. Trust us, when the school year is in full swing, those school papers will be back on your kitchen counter in that decorative bowl!
For the Information Center, you will write each child’s name on a folder and then label the last folder “Family”. For the keepsake bins, you will need to label each bin with each child’s name and the year.
Step 04 – Stick with it.
This is a fairly foolproof system, but we know things get busy and old habits are hard to break. Prioritize using this system so it becomes a new habit through the first month of school. Then from there on out it, will be a breeze!
Mindful Tip: Using a dedicated bin or box for each child limits the amount of keepsakes you can save. As the bin begins to fill up, you can edit the contents. I mean, are all those half-done coloring sheets really that sentimental? We don’t think your 3-year old will miss them if they were gone. So, take the time to edit as the bin fills up and be mindful of which items you save.
At the end of the school year, you can easily look through the bin, pick your favorites, and enjoy your kids’ art and memories. Better yet, display it using Artkive (one of our favorite services). Artkive takes your children’s artwork and turns it into a beautiful custom book that you can enjoy with your family.
Getting this system set up now doesn’t take much time and will save you time going through disorganized schoolwork piles in the future.
We promise it will make your school year so much easier and stop the overwhelm you feel from the start.
To make it even easier, download our free shopping list for creating your own school year system.
– A Mindful Method