As the weather gets warmer and warmer and the end of school draws nearer and nearer, my kids’ backpacks start getting heavier and heavier. All the shiny school supplies that went in that first week with hope and good intentions, come back used and abused along with countless papers, art projects, and classroom decorations. By the time school is finished, the pile at home is formidable. Here’s how to manage it:
- Deal with it now. It’s not going to be easier in July or September when the piles have become a more permanent part of your decor.
- Separate out what is reusable. The folder that was barely used, the scissors that will be on the supply list again next year, the empty composition notebook… put them in a place where you’ll remember them in the fall.
- Recycle and throw away. A LOT. The used notebooks with math problems, spelling lists, or class notes go directly into the recycling bin. Odd broken crayons and stubby pencils can go in the trash. Be merciless.
- Save a FEW memories of the year in a catch-all box. Spend a moment with your child separating out a handful of things that are worth keeping. I have a bin for each child to keep these types of memories. Save only the things that truly represent that year in your child’s life. I kept the list of goals my daughter had for her 1st grade year and my son’s narwhal report that will forever remind me of his weird obsession with them. If everyone did the same collage in art; that’s not going to be memorable. A typed essay about the Revolutionary War, no one will want to read it again. Save the things that five or ten years later will tug at the heartstrings a bit. Often, I err on the side of keeping a bit more from that year. When I sift through the box the next summer, I can better recognize what is really worth keeping.