School is out for summer and that means one thing: a mass chaos of backpacks, books, folders and school supplies. Before your kids unpack their towels, flip flops and let their mind float away to the beach and pool, organizing expert Jill Pollack recommends you enlist their help in putting away this year’s excess school items to make way for September.
“Organize everyone’s arts and crafts, books, folders, etc., in a box and label it with their grade,” she said. “For example, make a second-grade folder and keep essays, papers, report cards and any important documents relevant to the grade. It kind of goes on a timeline.”
Keeping each grade neat from year to year is key, as you may find you have to access something from last year for your child, so don’t make it inaccessible. Instead, put it in a plastic bin and store in an area in the basement or attic that is specifically designated for school stuff.
“Just because it’s the summer doesn’t mean your child isn’t going to read or write again. Allow them to have access to school supplies, that way if they want to write a letter they can go to their school area and call it their office,” she said. “Loose-leaf paper, pens, crayons, folders, it’s always in their life.”
“Writing is hard for everybody, so buying a special notebook to be your summer diary isn’t a bad idea,” she said, adding that kids can record memories and events of what happened over the summer, like going on a family vacation, having fun at camp, gardening or playing sports. “At the end of each week, have them write five things that happened that week. It’s a great way to keep their minds fresh.”
Since you’ll be swapping rulers and pencils for sunscreen and bug spray, organize that in separate bags, too.
“Some kids have summers that are even busier than when they are in school. If they go to camp, have a list of what they need,” said Pollack, of stocking up on camp essentials, like bathing suits, towels, bug spray and first aid items. “As for the beach or pool, always keep your essentials in one bag: a hat, spare sunglasses, sunscreen, a spare towel, extra
Ziploc bags or snacks or to keep your phone away from getting sandy.”