It amazes me, the amount of paper two small children can go through every single day, most of it at school. Every weekday, somewhere in between cooking dinner and trying to get the laundry processed, my children run up to me with backpacks open, and start throwing at me, gazillions of paper notices of all sizes and colors. Read this one. Sign that one. Comment here.
Think of all the trees that could be saved by getting the school districts on Facebook. Of course, some of the school districts are working on that, and it won’t be all that successful an endeavor until the parents can all be wrangled into joining. Until then, the paper will keep rolling in, and must be dealt with.
1. School notices.
The best way to keep up with any kind of paperwork is to deal with it as it comes. If the kids don’t give it to me immediately after school, they know they are supposed to give it to me at homework time, and I force myself to deal with it then, or it doesn’t get done at all. Once it is in your hand, I read it. I read it with a pen, circling any dates or info that is relevant to our lives. Next, I transfer the circled dates to the calendar, or any other items that require action. After that, and most importantly to keep the paper from piling up to the ceiling, I put it straight into the recycle bin.
2. Kids artwork.
This one is tricky. Kids’ art is so precious, and depending on parental pack-rat tendencies, it can be a temptation to keep every single shard of painted paper they bring home. I’ve heard of some people taking photos of each miniature masterpiece, and then printing it as a book. Great idea, but what to do with it in the meantime? My solution is to have an oversized binder (you could use a file or a box) in the top of each of their bedroom closets. I just toss the art inside until I’m ready to go through it - about once a year.
The truth is, in the grand scheme of the universe, most of what the kids bring home from school is not crucial. This makes it a great avenue for teaching them some responsibility. My kids understand that it is their job to make sure I get the paper, and that their teacher receives what needs to be returned. Neither of them has yet missed a field trip or neglected to get their fundraising sheets in on time. We had a close call with a birthday invite once, and even though it turned out alright in the end, I would have had no qualms and no guilt if the child had missed her friends party.
As with anything the best way to deal with all that paper is to have a simple system that everyone in the house understands and is on board with. Make good habits. Avoid the pile up. And don’t forget to recycle!
Subscribe to blog via RSS