End of School Year Purging the Organized Way
It’s that time of year for all the parents out there. The school year is closing out and summer is upon us. This is one of the toughest times of the year for most households (Classics aside, who seem to be able to roll into every transition completely organized). Kids are bringing home everything that they made and collected through the school year. It’s summer and you’ll need to donate or put away anything with long sleeves because your kids won’t ever fit into it again. Or you need to put it away neatly until the first chilly weather of the fall appears. Instead of school, there is a new summer routine, or changing routines. For many people this means some combination of camp, time off, and family vacations. For others it means juggling children who are home for months. This can be one of the most trying times of the year. Regardless of what this means for you and your family, however, there are ways to stay sane and organized.
Making Choices on What to Keep
First, all the school stuff. You have a few ways to go with this one. You can save everything: every piece of art, every assignment, and every report card. Or, you can get rid of it all. Or you can do something in the middle. The choice you make should be guided, to some extent, by your organizational type because that will allow you to feel the best about your actions and keep what you do in sync with the rest of what you have in storage. Stop and ask yourself a couple of questions:
- How important is this item to me now? Is it important enough to be on display?
- How important is this item to my kid now? Is it important enough that the child will want access to it?
- How important will it be to have this item in its original form in the future? Is it important to maintain access to it and a record of it, or will a record be kept automatically by another entity through who you can access it when you need it?
- Is there any truly sentimental reason for saving the item that will justify the space it will take up now and in the future?
Presuming that you are not a packrat who collects everything and never throws anything away, you should be able to work through these questions and guide yourself into an appropriate end of the school year purge. This is probably true for most of you Smarts. Chances are that the biggest source of material you are deciding about is paper-based. However, there are also probably a number of barely useable pens and nubby pencils, worn erasers, and plastic folders alongside now read books and equipment that will not be used in school the next year. Take into account how you plan to organize and where you will store what you choose to keep. Hint: we love The Container Store.
Organizing Your End of School Year Clutter
If you are challenged and need a little bit of extra help or advice, we are available to consult with you regardless of where you live. That consultation includes our creation of a Click n’ Buy product list. Some of you may need this extra help (we are going to guess that this applies to a lot of you Funs and Organics).
We totally get keeping your kids’ stuff grade by grade. We can picture the same as you can a day in the future pulling it out and looking at it with nostalgia. And what if your kid is a famous artist someday and those childhood sketches are important to the art world? Or a famous writer and they’ll want to publish those 5th grade essays? A big-time basketball player and that first jersey needs to hang somewhere on public display? These are all totally possible future realities. So here is what we suggest.
Get 1, and only 1, plastic box with a lid. Label it with your child’s name, the year, and the grade, and label it “Memories”. Then fill the box with the most important things. Stack paper flat and wrap delicate and three-dimensional items so that they don’t break. Type out, or write out in legible print, a list of what is in the box and place that on the very top (or laminate it and attach it to the lid). Keep only what will fit in the box and make one for each year. If you have more than one child, then consider one box for each child.
Purging End of School Year Clutter
As for the rest of the stuff, purge it. Put it in the trash or recycle bin and donate the books and used school supplies if you can find a place that will accept them. Goodwill has drop off sites in almost every city and town and you may be able to get a tax deduction for what you donate (just get a receipt). To make it easier on yourself, take all of those outgrown clothes and shoes that are no longer seasonally appropriate and donate them at the same time. If you can make this a priority to do by the end of the first weekend that school is out then you are free to shift into summer mode without the school year cluttering your life. Even better, you will have just started a yearly routine that will make your life simpler and more organized.