The school year is over! Whether you have elementary aged kids, graduating seniors, or you yourself just finished the semester, you may find yourself in a tricky situation: what do you do with all of your stuff? There’s the papers, the books, the art supplies, and the other miscellaneous objects that have been living in your child’s desk, locker, or backpack for the past ten months, and you probably don’t want it just lying around the house for the next two to three months, especially since some of it might not even be reusable. So with all of this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some ideas for how to deal with this sudden increase of stuff, and how to stop it from becoming a headache inducing mess.
Ok, this might be obvious, but to start with, the most important thing is to go through everything. Empty the bags and have your kids work with you. Sort the items into things that could be reusable, things that could be donated, and trash. Depending on where your child is school-wise, these piles could look very different, and each of your children’s piles could be in varying sizes. Let’s touch on what each pile might look like though.
Anything paper that has been filled to capacity, anything broken or damaged (beyond repair), and, since they’re kids, anything that’s just flat out gross. This is up to your judgement (and your kids judgement). There could be some projects brought home that both you and your child don’t feel the need to hold onto anymore. This is a good time to teach your kids about keeping what only sparks joy. There’s a big chance that one art assignment they did in October doesn’t really spark anything in them, but you never know!
Or, pass down to one of your only children who might need this item next year. This could be any books (and for college aged kids, make sure to sell those textbooks!), backpacks that kids no longer want, workbooks that they may have not used, or anything else that is still in good shape but that has run its course in your child’s life. I’ve compiled a list of donation sites here (insert link), but you can also ask your child’s school if there’s any good places that they know in your community. Again, this is a good activity to do with your child so that they can learn the importance of donating, and also how to part with items that they no longer need.
To keep, this would be things like pencil bags, backpacks, lunch boxes, scissors, and other supplies that is still in good condition and is always useful no matter the age. I’ve found that binders are usually good to be used for the next year as well, as long as they didn’t get beat up. If there’s a class name written on a binder, you can always put a label over it so that way it isn’t confusing in the next school year. For storage solutions, you can keep the items in the area you have dedicated to your child’s homework or studying, or find a shelf in their room. Work with your child to find a place that is out of the way, but still in an accessible area and not shoved in a corner of the room, where it might get dented as the summer festivities go on.
Hopefully as this final step to the school year comes to an end, you and your child can feel ready for summer, and also feel a little more prepared for the new school year in the fall.
P.S. if you need some storage options, check out https://www.simplymavenhtx.com/shop for some of my personal favorite storage solutions. There's some especially good ideas for any paper items and some great bins to hide some of the supplies away. As much as you should reuse the storage solutions you have, it's important to also know if you might need some extra help.