One of the constants of my life since starting school way back in kindergarten has been the excessive amounts of paper that seem to accumulate. Whether it’s homework sheets or field trip permission slips or fundraising paraphernalia, school produces a lot of paper. When I was in school, I did a spectacularly bad job of keeping these papers organized. My locker would build up a solid base of compressed papers, my backpack zipper would frequently snag on the stray papers that I would randomly shove in among my books and binders, and my notebooks would be overflowing with old papers.
Of course, keeping every paper is not feasible, nor is it particularly conducive to organization. So what can you do to help you or your child take better care of papers? First of all, set up a few minutes each day to go through new papers and figure out where they belong. The saying “a stitch in time saves nine” comes into play here. Letting papers accumulate for more than a day means you’ll have a bigger mess to deal with, so take the time up front to control the onslaught. Obviously, recycle the papers that aren’t necessary, but don’t just let the necessary papers grow into a huge messy pile of their own. For classes, make sure you have a binder or folder that papers can be put into. The easiest way I’ve found to stay organized is to put the date in the upper right-hand corner of each paper I get, which makes it easy to refile a paper if it somehow ends up out of place.
As for permission slips and other, long-term papers (such as fundraising sheets), try having bins for each child in the house. These bins will still need to be gone through, but not necessarily on a daily basis.
What are other tips you have for managing the major influx of papers that school brings?