It’s almost officially fall, it’s definitely pumpkin season, and we are deep into back-to-school time, which means, it’s time for some back to school organization!
Almost all of the kids are back in school now and if your house is anything like mine, the activities are piling up and it’s getting harder to keep track. And, if you have younger kids in preschool or kindergarten, the adorable art projects are probably already starting to come home. So what do you do with all of that stuff?! And how do you keep track of all of the activities that multiply once the school year starts? I feel like I’ve finally figured out a system for both that I love, so I wanted to share our system and the ways we keep it all together once school starts – and for just our normal day-to-day.
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So in my mind, there are a few options for what you can do with your kids school projects.
1. Throw it out
This is the option for those who are great at enjoying their kids’ school projects for a bit, and then 100% ok with not seeing them again. Ha! If you’re in this group, no shame, and good for you! I wish I could be this decisive, but I am a recovering packrat and way too sentimental over all the school artwork my 2.5 year old has “done” at school.
2. Take photos and then toss ’em!
I learned this one from a documenting/scrapbooking guru named Becky Higgins. She created a scrapbooking system called “Project Life” many years ago, which is basically a very simple, easy scrapbooking system for those of us who may not be incredibly artistic, but like to be a little creative. Project Life has become mostly digitized at this point, but there is still some physical product available, and it’s my favorite way to save and document our family memories. Their website has all the details on how the system works if you’re interested in learning more.
Back to the topic at hand — Becky once suggested that an easy way to save your kids school work or art work is to simply take a photo. You can then scrapbook that photo, or just save it to eventually print, and throw out the physical project right there on the spot. You save a ton of space this way, and you still have a memory of whatever they’ve made. I do take photos as a backup, but I’m also still saving the artwork. Which brings me to…
3. Save it! And file it away.
During my son’s first year of preschool, I put everything he brought home into a decorative box from Ikea. It was fine, but after a year, the box was basically full, so I knew that system wouldn’t last for long. So, I bought a file folder storage box, some file folders, and started organizing. Here’s what it looks like inside.
For anything really large that just doesn’t fit (like his paper turkey costume from last year’s school Thanksgiving celebration – yes, you read that right), I’m still using the box I got from Ikea.
That’s it! The file folder box is from a local store here in Guatemala, but there are similar ones here, here, and on Amazon. I also purchased a set of 25 file folders from Amazon, which hang easily in the box. I love how organized it is, and that I (for now) don’t have to throw anything away.
Calendars and Schedule Management
Next up, schedule organization! We’ve used this whiteboard calendar and full organization system from Pottery Barn for YEARS now, and I absolutely love it.
The only static portion is the days of the week — everything else is customizable. The round circles at the bottom of the board are magnets, and we color code the calendar by family member. We also have the matching cork boards, chalkboard, office organizer, and letter bin.
This is a really beautiful, high quality, and – most importantly – useful system. We have pieces spread out throughout the house, but if you have a large wall available, for example, in a mudroom or an office, that would be a great spot to hang the six core pieces of this set, and have all of your calendar and organization pieces in one centralized spot.
How to stay organized during the school year?