If you are like me and have a child in grade school you understand paper clutter. It can be a challenge to keep grade school papers organized at home. Every day of school our children come home with a new form to fill out, artwork, and worksheets. If you have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) you surely have a lot of paper coming into your home. If you have more than one child in school forget it!
In my home, I have to make the organizing systems I implement super, super simple. I have to assume that I will be the only one maintaining the paper system (sad but true). I also have to keep in mind that others will need to find papers that are put away. Above all else, the organizing system has to be aesthetically pleasing. I am not the type to have a metal filling cabinet in my kitchen.
Super, super simple means accessible and obvious. What do I mean by accessible? If I organize and file paperwork in a file cabinet and the drawers get stuck and barely open, the files are not accessible. If I organize toys in a bin and pile other bins on top of it, the bottom bin is not accessible. If I have to tweak my back to reach an item in my closet, the item is not accessible. Yes, some items will be stored in ways that are not as accessible as others. The key is for items to be organized and prioritized by how accessible they actually need to be. Items used infrequently get the back seat.
Obvious, in my home, means the item needs to be visible at a quick glance, without the need to dig for it. For example, if a pen is underneath a piece of paper on the table, in theory, the pen does not exist and is not there. In order for others in my home to find the pen, it would have to be on top of the piece of paper, with flashing lights and an alarm.
So my organizing solution for managing incoming grade school papers is a basket. That’s it. I use an attractive basket that sits on the floor next to my dinner table. It has a lid with a hinge that makes it easy to open and close. When paper comes in I do a quick sort. Obvious trash goes away immediately. Everything else gets tossed in the basket. If anyone needs to find school paperwork it is easy to find. When school ends for the summer I go through the paper in the basket, keep the adorable art projects and mementos and recycle the rest.
Problem solved using a super, super simple paper system.