If you’re a parent, you know that “back to school” really means “back to tons of paper.” Despite the onset of the digital age, paper continues to stream home in children’s backpacks at a rate that makes me wonder if my kids’ elementary school is just a front for a paper mill.
If you feel me… and you want to minimize the paper coming into your home, this week’s tip of the week is for you!
Note: if you’re a more visual learner, watch this snazzy video I made last year.
First things first, you’ve gotta face this beast head on. As soon as the backpack crosses the threshold, fish out the papers and divide them into three types:
TYPE 1: STUFF FOR PARENTS
You’re familiar with this. Permission slips, field trip forms, etc. Deal with these immediately or put them in your own inbox to deal with later.
TYPE 2: STUFF YOUR KID NEEDS TO DO
This is homework, plain and simple. Designate an area for your child to put all this stuff so it stays together. I recommend a letter tray with their name on it.
TYPE 3: STUFF YOUR KID DID
Ah, this is the tricky one! Especially for those of you with young ones. The amount of sticker-starred worksheets and turkey hands a kid can bring home is staggering.
How do I recommend dealing with this? DON’T.
Look at it all, praise your child for how awesome she is, and then hand it to her and then say these magic 8 words:
“What would YOU like to do with it?”
Of course, you’ve got to give your child some options. Possibilities include:
- Recycle (Strongly encouraged!)
- Display wall (Get yourself some Command strips, twine, and clothespins and hook it up!)
- Digital photo
- Memory box (This is a last resort for the really, really special stuff that can’t be captured digitally. Note: Your child should keep the memory box for himself. These are not your memories, parents.)
Remember, this week’s tip will bring you one step closer to less stuff and more peace of mind. Cheers to that!
To your peace of mind,
PS Want more minimalism how-to? Get my free minimalist starter guide!