School’s Out…Time to Clear Out and Organize the Backpacks
When kids come home from school on the last day before summer vacation, they usually have a heavy backpack in tow. They’re excited about the summer and the last thing on their mind is emptying that backpack, clearing out the contents and dealing with all of the books, notes and notebooks from the past school year. The problem is…what happens to that backpack? It often sits around stuffed full (hopefully with no leftover lunches inside) until it’s needed again. My kids are notorious for suddenly needing the backpack and just leaving everything in a pile. So what’s the best way to organize all of that backpack stuff? Here are some solutions:
Spiral notebooks. Toss heavily used spirals. If there are plenty of pages still left and the cover of the notebook isn’t doodled on with past classes, consider it a keeper.
Papers. Remember, if you keep too much, you can’t find what’s truly important. So keep a couple of the best papers and a couple of the worst. A few important memories, grades and drawings or art will give a good example of the year. Save the important papers into a file (you can also scan and save a digital file if you’d prefer to be paper free). Then keep a file for each school year for each child.
Clothing. Take a good look at any clothes coming home. Are they outgrown or worn out? I usually have a gym uniform or two in the mix. Ask your child if they’ll be in the same uniform next year and decide what you need to keep. Get any keepers right into the laundry.
Lunchbox. Make sure to empty out any lingering lunch items and thoroughly clean out containers. If the lunchbox is fabric, toss it in the wash (just read the instructions carefully).
Pencils, Markers, Etc. This can often be the most daunting of the clean-out tasks. Separate everything by type. Pens, pencils, colored pencils, markers, crayons, highlighters, etc… Toss what can go as you’re sorting and also keep a give away pile handy for items that are still good but your child may have outgrown or won’t use. Anything that will be used again should be kept in a separate area with other school supplies.
The backpack. Talk to your child about their backpack. Make sure it works well for them for the next year before you decide to keep it. Was the size right? Do they still like the style? Is it comfortable to wear? Don’t let them talk you in to buying a new one if you feel it still gets the job done right. Once it’s empty, they can use it to go to the pool or as an overnight bag.
Keep everything school supply related together. I like to keep school supply stock up items all together in a separate area, away from items currently being used. There’s no sense in stuffing drawers full when a small amount can be kept in the drawer and surplus can be organized in a container elsewhere.