This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series 7 Days to Calm the Clutter

Do you feel like you have papers, emails, and school stuff coming at you fast and furious? The schedules come at us on paper, websites, Remind 101, text messages, phone calendars, Twitter, and “Didn’t you check the Facebook page?” (Um, no?). It’s enough to make the most sane parents long for the old days of a purple mimeograph still warm from the roll press. But there is hope! Over the years I’ve learned helpful strategies to stay on top of the rush. Here are 5 tips for organizing kids school papers and schedules.

With 5 kids in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, I’ve been managing school calendars and homework for almost 20 years. We were foster parents to 30+ children. I know what’s it’s like to be drowning in paper and constantly forgetting appointments.

I’ve developed several systems that have helped me a LOT to stay on top of everything.

Here is what I’ve found that works.

5 Easy Tips for Organizing Your Kids School Papers and Schedules|The Holy Mess

5 Helpful Tips for Organizing Kids’ School Papers and Schedules

Tip 1: A Centralized Calendar

Even if you do a digital calendar, there’s something about seeing the month in print that is incredibly helpful, especially for younger people.

I gather together all the papers the kids receive in the first week of school with dates and events like class parties and concerts. I put them into a calendar for the coming year with the kids initial and location.

I have found pencil works best for me so I can make necessary changes. I’ve tried color coding per child but that just does not work for me because I ended up needing to carry around 7 different colored markers — not going to happen.

Wall calendar:

We don’t use one on a regular basis, because my family knows my Erin Condren calendar is open for the looking. Large wall calendars or dry erase calendars are a great option. I don’t go this route because I need something I can carry and I’m not going to create two separate calendars.

Printable Calendars:

I LOVE the Erin Condren calendar system and have been using it for several years now. I also am a fan of the DaySpring Agenda planner, which is a similar planner with a faith focus.

 

Digital Calendar:

Google Calendar is one of the tops because it can be colored coded, various family members can add to it and it sends out reminders a couple hours before. My husband uses Google calendar. A second app I see recommended the most is Cozi. I have tried both but ultimately keep coming back to good old fashioned paper.

Erin Condren calendar

Tip 2: A File for Each Child

After I mark all the important dates on my calendar, I put all the necessary papers to be kept in the child’s folder. This way I can reference it throughout the year or until the upcoming event. I also stick papers in there as they come, such as upcoming field trip information that sometimes comes several weeks in advance. My children who have IEPs or medical needs a binder instead of just one folder because there’s so much paperwork.

Note: Keep up with this! This has to be kept up with on a regular basis in order for this to work. Once you get your hands on a paper from a backpack, mark it on your calendar and stick it in the right kids’ folder, or at the very least in the box where the folders are located, and once a week put the papers in the right child’s folder.

Kids files

Kids' school year paperwork.

I keep a file for each child with papers for the school year.

5 Easy Tips to Organize Your Kids School Papers and Schedules|The Holy Mess

Paul’s Skill Building book where he works on weekly Goals. His other binder has important paperwork — medical and IEP records. We also have all of these documents scanned and stored in Dropbox. I take this binder with me to important appointments and meetings.

Tip 3: Kids’ school work gets hung up on these nifty picture hanging lines in our Family Room.

Once every couple months we take a photo of the collage per child (for the younger kids especially).

Tip 4: Throw Stuff OUT

Then, we keep the papers we really want and toss the rest — yes, really toss them.

I keep one large Rubbermaid box per child, which holds several years worth of school papers. This is a great system. You still have the photos of the items, and you’re not stuck with box upon box of one sheet of paper with a massive glob of glitter glue. Only keep the super-special items.

Along with this, we use a digital paperless system for important documents for our kids. Check out yesterday’s post in this series for how to start one if you haven’t yet. This has been invaluable, especially for our children with special needs, to be able to share documents back and forth and with specialists and teachers. 5 Easy Steps to Start to Go Paperless

Kids School Work

Tip 5: Don’t do it all.

Don’t feel like you need to do all the school activities.

It’s okay to say, “This Friday night, we are staying home and having a Family Movie Night”.

If you forget a School Spirit Day or the blue t-shirt isn’t washed, OH WELL. I don’t sign up to always make the cupcakes or go on all the field trips. I try to do some of the activities, but I certainly don’t do them all. Sometimes, the kids out the door and (mostly) clean is victory claimed.

While not easy, it is possible to stay organized with the kids’ school papers and schedules.

God will strengthen you for this important task!

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

2 Chronicles 15:7

What have you found helpful to stay organized during the school year?

 

Action Steps:

Day 4 in Calm the Clutter Series

  1. Choose a calendar system, either paper, planner, or digital, where you will keep a centralized family calendar.
  2. Create 1 file per child. This is a working file. (It shouldn’t have anything older than one year.)
  3. Take photos or scan items of value. KEEP ONLY THE BEST. Get one Rubbermaid box per child for the very best. See yesterday’s post for how to keep a digital file.

 

7 Steps to Calm the Clutter

 

All this week we will talk about how to calm the clutter and stay organized. This series is full of tips, tips, tips!

Who doesn’t love quick tips and tricks? These are great take-aways you can use right away, or sign up for the emails to go at your own pace.

Monday – 7 Bible Verses for When You are Stressed and Disorganized

Tuesday7 Tips to Stay Organized When You are Super Busy

Wednesday5 Steps to Start Going Paperless

Thursday5 Tips to Organizing Your Kids’ School Papers and Schedules

FridayHow to Have an (Almost Totally) Portable Home Office

SaturdayAwesome and Amazing Products to Organize Your Home Office

Sunday7 Tools You Must Have to Stay Organized for Weight Loss and Fitness

Check back each day for fun and great ideas!

5 Easy Tips for Organizing Kids School Papers and Schedules|The Holy Mess

Find an Organized You.

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7 Days to Calm the Clutter.

* Make your home office portable.

* Go paperless -- for newbies!

* Organize for weight loss & fitness

* Daily action steps


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