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Kids paperwork can be overwhelming, and it can seem to multiply, too, which is something I simply do not understand. However, we need to deal with it nonetheless.
There are school papers, craft papers, permission slips, notes written to you, papers covered in doodles and so much more.
Of course some of this is necessary to keep while other papers are not, but how to handle it all?
As a homeschooling mom, I understand paper since the school papers of five official students cover my house from end to end most days.
For this reason, I’ve come up with a few ways to manage kids paperwork. Maybe these tips will help you show your kid’s paperwork who’s boss.
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Have a system
Do you separate your paperwork by kid or by activity? Do you have them put their drawings someplace specific that is separate from school papers or more “important” papers? Who takes care of these papers – you or them – or a combination of both?
These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when setting up systems for kids paperwork, but setting up a system must come first.
Have a home
Every piece and part of kids paperwork must have a home, even if it is deemed unnecessary to keep and only ends up in the recycle bin. In the previous step you set up systems, now you follow those systems up by creating a home for the papers.
Filter your kids paperwork regularly
Let’s face it, many times kids bring home papers that are only pertinent for a certain period of time, and then it is no longer even valid anymore. If you are anything like me you can find yourself getting a bit lazy with purging out the old stuff.
Resist that urge and plan a regular time to go through many of those papers that have a shorter lifespan. I find weekly to work best.
Let your kids take part as soon as they are old enough
It really is amazing how young kids are when they can follow simple directions. In most cases, your kindergartner can come home and empty their backpack, putting any papers in their designated home until you take them from there.
My kids are horrible at throwing away papers they are no longer using like pictures that don’t turn out or scratch paper that isn’t needed anymore.
I know that I have to stay on top of them to remind them to take care of many of the papers that they can take care of on their own, which keeps me from having to look at the clutter or take care of it when they are perfectly able.
Carefully examine what needs to be kept, paying attention to being efficient
So often kids will have paperwork that only has a couple of pieces of important information on it while much of the paper is filled with information that really only has to be read through once.
For instance, the paper about the class trip has some important info like date and time and things, but all the added details can be summarized and then written on the calendar with the date and time in most cases.
Examine whether their papers can be reduced by just writing the important information in the most suitable place and then get rid of the bulky paper itself.
Don’t feel like you need to keep everything
I was guilty of this for many years. Then, as time went on and space became more limited, I realized that I was hanging on to things that I simply didn’t need anymore.
For this reason, I now have learned to become more selective of what I keep in the first place. Avoid hanging on to too much for emotional reasons alone.
Find a smarter way
A picture is worth a thousand words they say, and there are times when a picture of a paper or item will be much more clutter friendly that the actual piece itself.
Each of my kids have a 3 ring binder filled with a set amount of plastic sleeves, which is there their special things go. With a set huber of sleeves, they can only keep a set amount of things. I limit myself on space for each child’s keepsakes as well. Coming up with a reasonable space in which to store kids paperwork and then letting that space naturally limit what is kept is huge.
This is also where the scanner that Ruth talked about could play a role. These are an excellent way to cut down on paper clutter of all kinds.
Don’t be afraid to toss some of your kid’s paperwork
Just don’t. I felt I needed to give you that permission in case you were waiting to hear it from someone.
Kids paperwork can quickly become clutter, but it just takes a little bit of forethought and determination to control it to get the ball rolling in coming up with an effective way to manage it that works for you.
Keeping these things in mind will get you well on your way to showing your kids paperwork who’s boss!
This post is based on a chapter in Ruth Soukup’s book, 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life. Grab a copy and join in as we work through it together, or, grab a copy and work through it at your own pace in your own time.
Either way, you will have a clutter free life by the time you work through all 31 days!