Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Organizational Tip #2: Manging that darn schoolwork!

I had NO IDEA that having kids meant having piles and piles of school work, pictures, art, and notes come home. This is the first year I have both kids in school so I can only imagine how all the paperwork is going to DOUBLE.

Last year I became overwhelmed because I couldn't bring myself to throw away any of MiniMe's work. I decided I didn't have to and bought a bin to just toss everything into. It seemed easier for me to save everything with the hope to go through it all at the school year's end. Here is my large bin for this year (it is already filling up with summer art!):

It is much easier for me to just toss everything into the bin than to go through it every week and make decisions about it. However I know that having a full bin per year/per kid would be a major fire hazard so I commited to dealing with it at year's end.

I asked other parents what they did to organize all their kids work. It seems as though it is a problem for everyone! So, I'm sharing what I've decided to do. I know it isn't for everyone so I'm not offended if you think it is too much work!

I bought a much smaller file bin and committed to pairing down only the most important art and schoolwork to serve as a representation of what MiniMe worked on in first grade. This bin looks large at this angle but it is about 12" x 9". I ended up having to throw away 3/4 of all her work but I was able to create a pile of KEEP, UNSURE, and OK TO THROW to help me pair down. In the end I felt good about what I kept and don't think she'll be devestated.

This past Christmas I got a laminator from my mother in-law. I love presents that you have no idea you'd need but once you have it, you realize all the amazing things you can do with it. I'll have future posts on this topic but back to schoolwork organization.....

Do you have extra school year photos? I took one of MiniMe's and laminated it to put in the front of the file folder so that we'd know what year the work was from.

I then took the best of the best artwork and laminated it. There was a lot of great art so I had to limit myself. You could go for it and laminate all the art and create a 3-ring binder for the years to come. The laminating pouches are about $10 for 20 pouches so decided that laminating a few and keeping them in the file folder until we've collected a few year's worth for a binder is more feasible.

I love this note that MiniMe wrote to her daddy. He was in Paris, France, for work and it was -12 degrees here. She thought the weather was the same where he was. I remember being a tad bitter that we were FREEZING and he was in Paris. Yes, this one was worth laminating.

Now the BIG bin is cleared out and ready for a new year and second grade and kindergarten work. I saved enough room in MiniMe's file folder to put MiniB's paired down work at the end of this year. I think I'll keep saving their work together rather than create individual bins. It challenges me to really pair down and saves me from buying lots of bins. I am telling myself that come fourth grade and beyond, I probably won't be saving as much work if at all. It is just in these early school days they make such sweet pictures. They are still making their Rs backward and making cute spelling errors.

What is your solution to saving school work? I'd love to hear it! I open to improving or changing my system. I just wanted to share it because it works for us for now!


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Jessie said...

Super cute idea!! Love the idea to laminate them so you can preserve it.

fallenrhainnes said...

a great work carolyn, you just gave me an idea when time comes my little angel will go to school.. thanks:)

JoKnows said...

I love this! Great job. I started out with a smaller bin and now I have four of them (for two kids). I want to get rid of more, because I don't think they would be happy to have piles of papers when they have their own homes. I got tons of stuff from my mom and I now feel obligated to keep it.

This year, I asked the kids to decide what work they wanted to keep from their end-of-year stuff. That worked well and they actually didn't keep a large amount.

vintage grey said...

A great idea!! Thanks for sharing! xo Heather

Unknown said...

Being organized feels so great, doesn't it!? Even though I don't have kids yet, this is such a great idea.