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Simple Life Hacks: Stay on Top of Your Kids’ School Paperwork

Life Hacks: What to Do With All The School Paperwork Kids Bring Home

Ever feel like you’ve just cleaned up, but then you look around and your living room is already full of your kids’ stuff? Me too!

As a working mom, your time is precious. The last thing you want is to spend most of it organizing the paperwork your kids seem to bring home constantly. It piles up pretty quickly, and then what?

If you’re tired of spending the school year frustrated with mountains of school paperwork, there’s no better time than the new year to put an end to the madness! But before you resort to throwing it all away (or find yourself starring in Hoarding: Buried Alive), I’ve got some simple life hacks that will help you manage, organize, and keep track of your kids’ school paperwork.

First Things First: Change Your Thinking

Many of us might think of anything that our kids bring home from school as important and worth saving. Not necessarily! Not every single bit of paperwork is important, and not everything is worthless either.

In order to stay organized, you need to realize that some things are worth keeping, and some just aren’t. With this thinking in place, let’s get down to the business of maintaining your sanity.

Digitize and Minimize

Scan or take photos of any of your kids’ school paperwork that can be kept in soft copy. This will allow you to recycle these papers, while still retaining the information or work you need. The bonus is that storage of soft copies takes significantly less space than storage of actual printed paperwork and creates zero clutter (YES to having less to clean up)!

As with all digital data, remember to back it up, just in case.

Set Up a Homework Station

It doesn’t have to be too fancy, just a desk and some shelves will do. But don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild either. Setting up a homework station allows you and your kids to keep all school supplies (paperwork included) in one designated area, making it easier to deal with.

Start here: Label and/or color code desk drawers and shelves to keep papers organized. Create file folders for each class or subject matter and encourage your children to put all papers away as part of clean up before bedtime each night.

Invest in a Filing System

You and your kids should have separate filing systems. Your kids’ files belong in the homework station; yours belong elsewhere—your home office or a desk area where you keep other important papers like bills.

A great filing system will help you keep things organized and will give you a designated place to put paperwork as soon as it comes home. However, keep the number of files you have per child to a minimum – 2 should do:

One for class-related information
One for extracurriculars and forms

Get Your Kids Involved: Establish an After-School Routine

This will not only save you time but can be used to teach your children how to stay organized and responsible at home. An example of an after-school routine could be:

Notices, newsletters, schedules, upcoming events, and anything that needs to be signed, completed, or created should be placed in mom’s designated inbox for school paperwork.
Homework that needs to be done should be placed in mom’s action box.
Artwork, awards, and report cards can be pinned up on a wall, or displayed temporarily on the fridge.

Whatever your routine looks like, make sure it works for you and your family. Just be sure to get your kids involved in the process of organizing paperwork.

Temporary Art Gallery

As a proud mom, sometimes you can’t help but want to display your little Picasso’s pieces of art. Reuse old frames, tap into your DIY skills, and hang them up for a week.

If you really want to keep them long term, digitize and get rid of the originals. Yes, they’ll be cute to look at in a couple decades when they’re all grown up, but I guarantee the originals won’t last that long—and they’ll take up much-needed space!

Schedule Frequent Cleanups

Sometimes life gets hectic and despite our best efforts, school paperwork still piles up. Stay on top of it by scheduling one day each week or month (whatever works for you) to get rid of all the paperwork you no longer need or that is no longer valid.

Make this a family cleanup day—it’s another opportunity to get the kids involved in the organization and cleanup process!

Life Hacks: Consistency is Key

Life hacks are all about making small changes; and when it comes to organizing your kids’ school paperwork, staying consistent is key. These small changes are designed to make your life easier in the long run, and let’s face it—as moms, we could use all the life hacks we can get!

Take the time to implement these small changes, saving yourself time in the long run—moments that could be better spent on some me time (you deserve it)!

Education Family

A Mom’s Back to School Musings

Heading into the new school year, I was looking forward to the fun of seeing back to school photos on social media and how the kids have grown. Fun, that is, until the first day of school rolled around and my oldest son made me promise not to post his photo…evidently, that’s not cool. His first day of high school, a serious milestone, and NO PHOTO, booo! And that wasn’t the only thing that was different about the first day of school this year; the minute he got out of the car, full-on water works as I watched him enter the campus gates with no fear, no looking back. I actually felt like a piece of my heart went with him. After attending the same small school for 9 years, he’s part of a class of 500. Why is it that he’s super excited and I’M the one who’s terrified? Terrified not because I’m afraid he will make bad choices, but because it hit me that he’s only home for four more years. Terrified because time is moving oh so fast. Terrified that his brother is only one year behind him. Terrified that he will be driving soon.  Terrified that he may not need me as much anymore! He’s just entered this whole new world which, aside from some limited volunteering and watching sports on campus, a large part does not include me.
That was a tough moment, though a moment it was, as I felt much better after a walk to clear my head. Only two hours later that same day, I got a text message from him: “Mom, I forgot my cleats and mouthguard for football. Could you please bring them to me? I’m sorry.” I have never been so excited to get a “mom I forgot text!” Not needing me lasted a whole two hours. I proudly drove him to his second day of school the next morning. They have early dismissal on Mondays – 1:15, and he has football practice at 3:00. Before he got out of the car he asked, “mom, do you think you could pick me up for an hour or so in between.” My answer, “sure,” but inside I was thinking “you bet!” Now, it may seem like I need to get a life and that I’m clinging to these moments, but here’s the thing….I’m blessed to have the flexibility of working from home, allowing me to set my schedule around my kids. I’ve been fortunate the last five years to have been truly present for my boys, but still have a great life outside of theirs. I don’t need to figure out what’s next for mom. Lot’s of moms go through this. They have either stayed home to raise the kids or they were like me in my previous career, where I missed so much and in the blink of an eye, they’re grown. Moms Making Six Figures has given me that balance to be the best mom I can be, but still have a thriving business that’s all mine. I’m so grateful. Being a mom is the greatest joy of my life. I will cling to every one of these moments that I’m needed. The more things change, the more they stay the same. God help me when they leave for college.