Good Monday morning friends! How was your weekend? We spent Saturday and Sunday in the country with my friends and it was such a welcome retreat! Just the last hurrah we needed to be ready to really start the new year today! I was in such a foggy first new year week of not knowing whether to sleep in and relax or set my alarm and get going.
But, I’m one of those people that can only laze around for so long before I get ansty and want to get up and get productive. Well friends, today is that day! I’m sharing how I got the kids’ paperwork under control AND recapping my most popular productivity and organizing tips. The good thing about those is that they’re especially relevant this time of year when you still have good intentions to get your shizz together!
HOW TO ORGANIZE AND STORE KIDS PAPERS
If you have kids then you know the paperwork situation can make you nuts! Especially once they start preschool and begin bringing home loads of art projects everyday, the paper can get out of control fast. Then there’s things like mementos, school records, certificates, medical/dental records, sports things, photos, birthday cards, and on and on.
Years ago, I created a filing system for James, but he’s outgrown it, and now that Jordan is almost three and will be starting preschool in the Fall, I wanted to get on top of things. For my first organizing project of the new year, I tackled the four bins of papers that had been stored in my office closet for years. Each one of them taunted me every time I opened the closet door!
STEP ONE : GATHER ALL THE PAPERS
Start by getting all the papers and things you want to keep and put them in one place. You might have to go to different rooms, drawers, closets to gather everything, but get it all so that you know what you’re dealing with. I have to admit, our paper situation looked much worse than the photo below when I got started, I just didn’t get a picture! I had 4 bins full of papers to deal with!
STEP TWO : SORT ALL THE PAPERS INTO CATEGORIES (FOR EACH CHILD)
You’ll have to go through every single thing and sort it into piles. I think it’s easiest to sort into big general categories first, and then break it into smaller groups.
- School (report cards, certificates, tests, homework, teacher notes)
- Photos (school photos, sports)
- Medical records
- Dental records
- Birthdays (cards, invites, photos)
- Mementos (hair clippings, first tooth, etc.)
- Birth (documents, notes, bracelets,
- Religious (baptism/communion, etc.)
STEP THREE : DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO STORE
For me, it made sense to organize our things in the follow way:
- Baby Notes
- notes I kept during delivery and while we were in the hospital
- documents pertaining to birth
- Baby Shower
- School by grade
- kids work
- report cards
- individual photo
- class photo
- sports photo
STEP FOUR : GET A STURDY STORAGE BIN & FILE FOLDERS
I found a 4-pack of linen covered storage bins to store all these papers. I’m hoping that two for each child from birth to age 18 should be sufficient.The bins are nice and sturdy, with a bottom board to keep the box more stable. It’s also collapsable when not in use. For example, we’re only using two of the four bins now, but I’m thinking the kids will grow into two bins as they get older.
STEP FIVE : LABEL YOUR FOLDERS
I used my old labeler to label each folder and I must say I got a little emotional labeling all the way to senior year! I found pink labels for Jordan’s pink folders.
STEP SIX : PUT THE PAPERS INTO THE FOLDERS!
My favorite part! Getting the loads of paper off your floor and into the file folders where you can clearly see them labeled!
4 TIPS FOR HOW TO HANDLE KIDS PAPERWORK
1. Have a system for papers that come home
With our son, we regularly empty his backpack folder and together review the work he’s done at school. This helps me know what’s going on, but also gives us a chance to connect and talk about what he’s doing, how he’s doing, he can show off or tell me what he didn’t like, etc.
Then, I’ll ask him, “do you want to keep or toss this?” I know my child is on the sensitive side and if I throw something out that he wanted to keep, he’ll be very upset. But, he’s also learned that we can’t keep everything, so he’s pretty good about tossing the unimportant stuff.
For the time being, we put the “keep” things in a dedicated kitchen drawer until I get the time to move them into his bin.
Some things, like certificates or report cards or special art, we’ll hang on the fridge for everyone to see.
2. Don’t feel like you have to keep everything
When your precious little babe starts brining home their darling scribbles, it will be tempting to feel like you need to keep every.single.thing. It’s personal preference of course, but I don’t feel like I need to keep everything. It would be miles and miles long to keep everything they did.
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That’s why I like to display art and reports on the fridge door for awhile so that we all get lots of time to see it front and center, before pulling it down.
3. Use an app to preserve memories
There are apps you can use where you take a photo of your kids art or whatever you want so save, then upload it to an app that will create a little book for you! I really think this is genius, but I haven’t actually done it. I went as far as to download an app and take the photos, but I never made the book!
4. Regularly deal with the papers
Pick a time that works for you, maybe every other week, once a week/month or whatever, to organize the papers. If you let them sit for months on end, you’ll end up with an overwhelming pile and the task will feel more daunting.
ORGANIZATION & PRODUCTIVITY TIPS
Being productive and organize is in my nature and I hope I can help you get more organized too. Check out these popular posts if you want some organizing inspiration for the new year!
Here’s to our best year yet! If you want to see more productivity/organization posts in 2019, please let me know. I always value hearing from you!