School Papers—Contained!

I’ve written recently about purging and preparing for the onslaught of Kindergarten papers. A month into the school year and there is a lot of paper coming home. After trying a few different systems, I seem to have found one that works for me.

When setting up a paper management system, I try to work with my clients’ natural tendencies for where they put things (as long as it isn’t the floor!). In my case, the pre-school papers and artwork seemed to congregate on one counter in the kitchen…probably because this is where we’d unpack the school bag to clean out the lunch containers. Following my own advice, I designated this corner as the official School Paper Zone.

I felt better knowing that the pile of papers in the corner now had a reason for being there. But I was still bothered by the pile. So I went one step farther: instead of just having the papers and artwork piling up and annoying me, I decided to try and contain them (again, following the same advice I give my clients) in an inexpensive basket.

In the back of the basket is my Family Information Binder, which includes a section for critical school information like the class list and calendar. Next comes a few pieces of papers that I’m referencing all the time, such as the school lunch calendar and a helpful tip sheet from the teacher. These papers stand up in front of the binder so I can grab them easily. In the front of the basket I’m stashing the art and projects that come home from school. This is a small space so I’m hoping it will force me to go through the masterpieces every week. (More to come on the artwork organization project.)

I’ve found that the basket serves several purposes: 1) it contains and limits the papers—if they don’t fit, I know I need to purge; 2) it looks nice and now this corner doesn’t bother me; and 3) it is easy to move if I want it temporarily out of sight because we are having a party or some other event.

This was a very inexpensive and simple system, even though it took me a few tries to get it right. Don’t forget that simple is often better, and don’t give up if you can’t find something that works right away.