June is just around the corner and with it comes hot sunny days by the pool, evening ice cream trips, and everyone’s favorite: the end of the school year! And let us not forget that the end of the school year brings with it a ton of junk and clutter. So how do you get organized when your kids are bringing home everything from 3 pairs of shoes that were casually ‘left’ in their locker for half the year to important summer assignments that need to be completed by the first week of school? As a mom of twins I’ve had a lot of practice with this and have come up with a game plan to help you and your kids get all that end of the school year ‘stuff’ organized. Check out the tips below!
GETTING ORGANIZED AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
Backpacks and Lunchboxes: Make sure to clean these out thoroughly (no left-over snacks, please!), take out any paperwork to be sorted through, and clothes and toys that should go back into your kid’s rooms (yes, there has been a time where I found a sock in a lunchbox!). Unless you use the backpacks and lunchboxes over the summer the best place to store them is with your other seasonal items and get them ready for the Fall. For the summer, since we aren’t using these items, we store them in our mudroom and it’s so easy to find when school starts up again.
Important Paperwork: We all know that paper can accumulate quickly and at the end of the year it seems like your kids come home with mountains of paperwork everyday. It is honestly hard to figure out what papers to keep and what to let go of. Things like old homework assignments or weekly classroom updates and announcements, that you know your kids won’t need again should be recycled to cut down on clutter. Things like summer reading assignments should be posted in an area you and your kids see frequently, like a family command center or above your kid’s desks so that no one is rushing around the first week of school trying to get the assignment done. Any school files and documents you will need for next school year should be stored in a labeled folder with your other important documents, preferably your mail drop zone. This way those documents will be easy to find when the craziness of back to school rolls around in September.
Artwork: The end of the year is a great time for you and your kids to go through all artwork that’s been completed throughout the school year. Um, yes...you read that right. You AND your kids (age dependent). Determine what pieces to keep and what pieces can be recycled. You can frame and display favorites and store the rest in individual keepsake boxes labeled for each kid. And, if you’re trying to cut down on the amount of physical paper you’re keeping use apps to create a digital version of the artwork that can be referenced later.
Left-Over School Supplies: This is honestly one of the bigger categories for what comes home in my girls’ backpacks and the task that takes the longest but it is the task with the highest value. For my family, seeing what we still have and what works (and doesn’t), is a great way for me to start my shopping list for the Fall. It allows me to also save money buying things that are still in working condition. Start with discarding what’s no longer functioning (i.e. used up pens and pencils, dried up glue sticks, and broken binders, etc.) and then move on to what’s no longer age appropriate (i.e. folders with popular TV characters your kids might not want to use next year). From there, review what’s left to determine if it should be donated or if should stay, and then categorize and store all the keepers in a bin in a storage room to be easily accessed for next year.