Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back To School Organizing Part 5: Tackling Backpack Mayhem

I am back with the last post in this series about 'Back To School Organizing' which was supposed to happen last Friday, but due to some camera issues, I couldn't get it posted!
I can't post without pictures....that just won't do!

Last Monday spotlighted `Wardrobe Wrangling` and getting the 'Back To School' wardrobe whipped into shape.
Tuesday was all about organizing School Supplies & Study Spaces.
{And on Saturday this post was featured by Tip Junkie and it got a whole bunch of page views}
Thursday was the day for ideas for a 'School Launching & Landing Pad'.

Today I am talking about that little mess I call backpack mayhem....you know...all those papers that seem to multiply quickly and soon get stuck together if you don't deal with them pronto.
Part of dealing with what comes home in a backpack is having a system for different items.
For me, the system is this...
Backpack Hitch Hiker #1: Schedules. Any schedules that come home from school, or other activities, go on  that person's bulletin in our 'Information Station'.
That way we can refer to it easily!
After 4 days of school, our Information Station looks like this:
Backpack Hitch Hiker #2: Forms.
Forms that come home in the backpack that need to be filled out by a parent are pinned on the bulletin board until after dinner & bedtime when I have a few quiet minutes to fill them out.
Backpack Hitch Hiker #3: Homework Assignments.
 Homework is completed by each child and then  placed back into the backpacks by each child.
That is their responsibility...not Mom's!

Backpack Hitch Hiker #4: Miscellaneous Papers.
 Any papers that come home that I might want to keep, like report cards or pictures, go into their school files....as show below.
{You can read more about how I organize my children's school papers here.}
Anything else goes into the recycle bin or garbage right then & there.
At the end of the school year, I go through each file to decide what should be kept as a keepsake or for their scrapbook, and what can be tossed.
Backpack Hitch Hiker #5: Artwork.
 Artwork that we might want to keep is kept in a plastic bag hung in each child's closet.
{Actually you can expect very little artwork to come home after Grade 6, unless your student takes art as an option in middle or high school}.
Again, at the end of the school year, I do a final cull of the art pieces and decide what to keep.
I usually have my child help with this decision.
 Some of the more amazing pieces of art by my children have been framed and are displayed in our family room in our basement. {You can read more about our Art Gallery Wall here.}
What doesn't get framed and we decide to keep goes into a rubbermaid tote.
I limit the tote to just one per child.
Backpack Hitch Hiker #6: MYO...which is short for Mysterious, Yucky Objects.
 An example might be a blackened, shriveled up ball that resembles an apple. From 5 years ago.  Throw those away. Immediately. With one hand. Pinch your nose with the other.
{Yes, I've had a few of those over the years.}
.And part of backpack organizing is planning ahead.
My son often has wet socks at school, either from sweaty feet or soccer on a wet field.
So I always like to keep a pair of dry socks in his backpack, along with winter gloves & a hat.....because this is Alberta afterall. 
It has snowed here in every month but July. I. kid. you. not.!
Those are a few of my tips for keeping the backpack mayhem at bay, and how I deal with the papers that come into the house.

What kind of system do you use in your house for dealing with those backpacks to keep the paper from overwhelming you?

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