127 | Simple System for Kids School Work

children clutter home organization moms motherhood papers purging recycle school work

 Okay moms, so your kids come home at the end of the school year, or from camp, or at the start of the school year, well okay, let’s face it, all year long, with all that stuff!  All those papers and projects.  What do you do with it all?  You need a system in place to tackle these items as they enter your home, so piles don’t end up on your kitchen counter or your kitchen table that you have to keep moving around, adding stress to your already stressful lives.

Well, you’ve come to the right place! In today’s episode of our Simplify Summer Series, we are tackling this topic.  Here is the system that has worked for me and for many of my clients: 

Every night, quickly go through your children’s backpacks.  Eliminate as much as possible.

Keep – the pieces that will show your child, or remind you, of who they were and what they were like at that age – for example, the 5-finger turkey in kindergarten

Recycle – the things you are never going to look at again – for example, the math worksheet in 3rd grade


Have a temporary home for the pieces you decide to keep.  This could be a tray, a bin, a basket, but something easily accessible. This isn’t a closet upstairs, or a bin in the basement.  For me, it was a file drawer in the kitchen desk with each child having their own labeled file.

Every few months, when you have more time, or when the temporary home starts to get full, go through the pieces again and widdle it down even more. You will become less sentimentally attached to each item as time goes on.

Keep doing this until your temporary home has no room for more.  At this point, you can transfer the few treasured, special pieces you decided to keep into a permanent home.  This may be a bin in the basement, or what I recommend, is that you put the pieces you decide to keep into a big three-ring binder with plastic sleeves separated by grade level.  Then at your child’s graduation party, you can put the binder out for guests to flip through. This is what I did and it worked out really well.  It was really special, and I wasn’t scrambling the week of my daughter’s graduation party to come up with memorabilia to display.  I had it ready to go!  And now I will have the binder to look through for years to come.

 The bigger memorabilia items like a stuffed animal, a trophy, sports jerseys, etc., can be put in a separate bin with a locking lid.  These make for great display items at graduation as well.

For the moms out there that are a few (or many) years behind and have bins and bins of papers and memorabilia, and don’t know where to begin and are feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay.  You can do this!  Start small, take a small amount from the big bin and put it in a smaller, more manageable bin, and each day spend 20 minutes going through it.  Before you know it, you will be caught up!

If you have a hard time letting go of this kind of stuff, that is okay too!  Ask a friend to help you, or your spouse, depending on your child’s age, ask them to help you.  I know this can be tough.  It can also be emotional.  We want our little ones to stay little forever.

Keep in mind, if you are holding on to items to give to your kids someday, chances are they are not going to want much.  Just a few special things.  You don’t want to burden your kids with bins and bins of things down the road and guilt them into keeping all this stuff. Keep the items that show off your kid’s personalities and skills.

If you are looking for more helpful ideas, tips, and tricks on this subject, check out my website: jenniferfordberry.com for my “Paper Purge Project”.


Don’t forget, if this is all just too much for you, if you need someone to help you get started, or guide you from start to finish, contact me, I am here to help!




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