Jump Start Your Schoolwork Declutter

It’s in there again…

A GIANT roll of completed work from my daughter’s school. It’s got to be at least 50 individual pages of worksheets. Yes, most of them are tracing or coloring pages, because she is three and in preschool.

And I can’t just throw them away immediately because she would know. 

For older kids, it’s even worse. And with summer coming, a tsunami of stuff will be crashing into your house.

Jump start your schoolwork declutter now!

Daily Dump

Every single day (or once weekly if your teacher is wise), go through the backpack. No, really. Do it.

Literally, anything could be living in there right now.

For middle and high school kids, this becomes their job. But for littler kiddos, you should do this together. Pull everything out of there and check out what you find.

Sort It

First, sort the living from the dead.

Just kidding! Kind of…

But really, put things in piles by type: paper, plastic, leftover lunch, other, etc. You get the idea. Then start to actually look through the piles. Maybe let your kid finish those sandwich crusts, too.

Paperwork

There are several kinds of papers:

  • permission slips
  • graded work
  • late or incomplete work
  • homework
  • random

First, check the permission slips and sign them. Then, look through the graded work. Marvel over the good scores and hope that there aren’t any bad marks. Put the late/incomplete work to the side. Put homework to the side. The random papers will be a case by case, since it could be town sports sign-ups or just a crumpled doodle page.

Room Raid

Now, repeat this process on your child’s room. Yes, it could be a HAZMAT situation, but you’ve got to get it done before even more stuff is added.

Sort every scrap of paper, projects and random items into three categories:

  • keep: to be set aside and reassessed in a few months; possible forever storage
  • recycle: can be used for drawing paper, cards or projects; be careful since everything can be “useful”
  • trash: broken, outdated or useless stuff

Put all the keep items into a big folder or tub. Do the same with the recycle. You already know what to do with the trash pile.

Prep for Later

As school is starting to wind down, visit your child’s classroom or locker. Make it an adventure! And bring a trash bag.

Follow the same steps as the daily backpack dump or room raid. Sort the items carefully.

All textbooks and workbooks should be neatly returned to the desk, cubby or locker. Before you put folders back, go through each one. If you see graded work or things that are clearly way old, pull it out and put it in the recycle bin. Things that are still in progress can be left in the folders.

Clear out any used up supplies or random things, like toys or bent paper clips.

Honestly, the more you do now, the less you have to do later.

On the last day of school, or during the last week, send your kid to school with a few plastic bags. Inform him that everything that is used up or just done will go in the bags. The bags will go in the school’s trash.

Anything that needs to be saved can come home in the backpack. If it doesn’t fit into the backpack, it doesn’t come home.

Sneak It Out

How do I deal with a three year old who wants to save everything? I sneak it out, little by little. After all, she is three and doesn’t remember everything she brings home anyway.

I save a few papers for her to keep for coloring. The rest is hidden in the recycle bin.

How do you deal with the paper overload?

~Meg

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