How to organize what comes home in the backpack

by: Barbara Tako
Clutter Clearing Choices LLC
Minneapolis Home Organizing Examiner

The number one clutter that people struggle with is paperwork. For parents, a huge part of that is what comes home every day in our children’s backpacks: school information, artwork, invitations, newsletters, upcoming events…The list goes on and on. Here are three suggestions to keep the backpack paper manageable.

First, try to make it a habit to check the backpack every day so you can stay on top of what is in there and deal with it on a regular basis. If you check daily, you won’t miss out on anything that comes home.

Second, think of the backpack information as falling into two categories: informational and child-created. Informational includes: school contact information, schedules, newsletters, and upcoming events. Child-created includes: artwork, tests, essays, and completed homework. Create two folders for each child that you keep in the kitchen. One folder is for informational items and the other is for child-created items you would like to save.

Third, pick a display area for child-created items. Show off awesome tests, essays, and artwork! Display them on a door, corkboard, or even the classic spot—the refrigerator! Put the child’s name and approximate date on the back of each item for posterity.

1. Weed out the display area regularly (maybe every couple of weeks).

2. When you weed out, place items you want to save for the year in the child-created folder.

3. At the end of the school year, weed out the folder one more time, and save that year’s folder in a memorabilia box for each child.

Finally, to solve the storage problem for artwork that is large or three-dimensional, you can take photos of those items, or video in the form of a child-narrated art show, and/or carefully wrap them and store them out of the kitchen area before they get damaged or splattered!

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