sale

Thursday, February 2, 2012

49 A Superstar Study Box

I have tried about a bazillion and one ways to organize kid's school paperwork throughout the years, and this time I think I finally have a system that I will love for the rest of their years.  It only took me five years of trying different things to get to this point, but I am excited to report that it is an easy and WORKING system!


First, let's take a quick second to reflect on my attempted methods:
  • Counter Top Piles: Pile current/important papers on the counter
  • Magnets to the Fridge:  Attach current/important papers to the fridge
  • Personal In-Boxes:  File current/important papers in a personal in-box
  • Household Management Binder:  Keep current/important papers in plastic sleeves in the binder

The last two were working better than the first two.  But still, with three kids, they just weren't working well.  I was using their in-boxes to store papers that I wanted to file away to keep, current newsletters and current homework.  Anytime I wanted to find something, I was looking through a stack of papers.   The kids were in a great habit of coming home and putting their items in their bins, but sometimes when they did that, I would miss things.  So, I moved to the Household Binder system about a year ago and it was working well.  I had a section for each child and would keep all current items in plastic sleeves and then use their in boxes for everything else.  It's a tad bit of a pain to keep inserting papers in and out of sleeves each day/week.  And the kids would carry around my Household Binder everywhere, which wasn't effective either.

I had been racking my brain for a better solution.  And receiving many questions from you all as well.  It seems that the stacks of papers that come home from school {or that are created from homeschooling}, are a plenty.

So I got three boxes, one for each boy and added labels {I found the document boxes at Walmart, they are the same ones that we fell in love in for our LEGO storage}.


My thought was that each boy could grab their box at study hour {we do study hour every afternoon/evening}.  I wanted the box to be just for them, where their current assignments and information was housed.

I found the big trouble with all of the papers was that there were not only a lot, but some that were more just for reference {school calendars, newsletters, schedules, etc...} and others that required action and would need to be returned {homework, book logs, spelling lists, practice charts, etc...}.  So I created two folders for each box, one "Information" and one "Action":



The rest was simple.  I just popped in a notebook for spelling practice and taking notes, sharpened pencils, an eraser, markers and crayons.


Each little man now has his very own.  Everything is labeled clearly so the hubs and I always know right where to look and even the kids can easily identify and understand the system.  The kids are not bickering over sharing supplies {not that they would, ha!}, and think it's so neat to have their own special box to use at the desk or table. 

No more giant piles or stacks of papers.  No more filtering through the informational papers to find the assignments.  No more kids mixing things up or hiding my household binder.  Life is good!

And if you are wondering where we are storing the boxes, they are sitting on a desk that the kids can use for homework in our living/dining/kitchen area:


The best part is, it's easily modifiable to fit your personal needs.  It's all about finding a concept and adapting it into your lifestyle.

Who has a similar solution and how is it working for you?  What other ideas can you share that have helped you tame the school paperwork monster?


Pssst... Wondering how we handle all of the projects, tests, stories and report cards that we just can't part with.  Check out that post here.


49 comments:

  1. Although this system also seems to work well, I have been using a binder system inspired by you and it's AWESOME! It made a HUGE difference in clutter and organization of school papers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very cool! I like the idea of a study box system a lot! Looking back at my school habits... I was always a hot disorganized mess with everything that wasn't bolted together with a binder ring... and even then there were always exceptions ;)

    Hope this helps you guys like it did for Bobbi Jean! <3

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great idea! Mine are still too small for this, but I love this solution because it was definitely a struggle when I was a kid...my parents had 4 in school and after a while it just got messy. I will keep this in mind for the upcoming years! Thanks for sharing, both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this idea! How big are the boxes? I looked on walmart.com but didn't see them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen them on their website, but they are in the stores in the office supply section, also sold with media boxes, magazine files, etc...

      They are just a bit larger than a manila folder. I was going to use a regular folder to hold each category, but it didn't fit. They sell similar options in different sizes on Amazon, the Container Store and See Jane Work.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  5. Really Really Awesome! May have to incorporate some of this into my daughters 'Homework Caddy'. I LOVE your blog, I'm never disappointed! :)
    Cath @ Home is Where my Heart is: http://cathhasablog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. I set my son up a great homework box in September (1st grade) - I stocked it with necessary supplies (writing paper, pencils, colored pencils, sharpener, glue stick, scissors, ruler) ... and today? 3/4 of the pencils are missing, the pencil sharpener travels around the house, and there are toys in the box ... it's a hot mess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's part of the reason ours is in a primary location and we are with them while they are studying, not to mention the hubs and I go in there daily to look for assignments and to fill out logs/charts.

      Maybe just setting some guidelines on how/when it should be used, and limiting it's contents. I kept out anything that would cause distractions and keep those items in their art caddy.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  7. This is such a great idea. Having a study box in our home would be really helpful for my son.


    Mrs. Delightful recently posted: My Memories Giveaway @ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a wonderful idea and really if you are prepared it does save so much time to have it all in one place. Evenings can be so stressful with dinner and homework so making it as streamlined as possible is a wonderful idea.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great idea! Separate supplies can be important! I was wondering where you found the lime green file folders, I've been looking everywhere and can't find any!

    I found your blog a couple of weeks ago and have been so inspired since! I have been purging and reorganizing my entire house using a lot of your ideas! I have 4 young children and this is a lifesaver. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What I like best about this post is the admission that you try and try again with organization systems until you find the one that works. I'm also happy to see you now have threaded comments!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just found your blog yesterday and I love it! What a great idea to deal with those piles of clutter that seem to follow my kids home from school. I am tired of looking at that pile on my kitchen island and am going to try this out.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My daughter isn't in school just yet, but shes not far off! I remember how much paper I brought home, even in high school, so I've often wondered how it will be when she starts. But we do have an over abundance of papers with her stays in and out of the hospital,medical records, and information on her cancer,and my folder is bursting at the seams. This may be a way for me to keep them organized and easily reached anytime I need!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ok, so, I'm going to Wal Mart after work today! I was just scratching my head last night staring at the piles of papers on the kitchen counter and wondering where in the world to put them all. Yay! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is so great idea. Wish that I had done that when my son is in elementary school. Currently he's in middle school. All his supplies are in backpack because he need them in class and His binder have pocket divider by 4 classes. Two folders (for PE and Art classes) and few notebooks for few classes. He put his art supplies (drawing pencils, colored pencil, sharper, and eraser) in pencil pouch for art class. So he knows where to find them easily in his backpack. He also have agenda that his school issued. For home I left extra supplies when his stuff run out left in storage box on his shelves so it is easier to grab when everything is run out. I put art supplies (extra) in his closet. Since his school is green so I can get handbook and all teachers information by school website so It is easier to access. By the way I love your idea for school supplies storage!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I absolutely love this! My oldest is only 3, but I am so excited to already have ideas in place for when he starts school!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So much inspiration this week! I love it all! Thanks so much Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I picked one of those boxes up just yesterday in Walmart to examine it and couldn't really come up with a need for it but I think you have just inspired me to go back and grab a couple!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I will have to keep this in mind when my daughter starts school in the fall!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am simply amazed at what you come up with. :)

    Can I just buy yours already made? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. We go to a University-Model school (www.naums.net), so we have school at school two days a week, and school at home the other three days. All of the homework is in one blue folder that travels to and from school (left pocket is done/keep-at-home and right pocket is to-do/return-to-school). We keep all the to-do papers in the blue folder and put them right back in when they're done. For all the keep-at-home papers, I have a box with hanging file folders labeled for each subject plus a few other categories. At the end of the school year (or semester if it's getting really full), I clean it out, and sort through to see if there's anything worth keeping.

    So far (my oldest is only in first grade), I haven't figured out a good system for storing the papers worth keeping, but I know of one mom at our school who uses pizza boxes. Each kid gets a (clean/unused) pizza box per school year. They are thin, they hold papers/artwork of various sizes, and you can stack a lot of them on a top closet shelf. That may be what I end up doing with all the ones I want to keep. :)

    I blogged a picture of my file box last year here:
    http://familybees.blogspot.com/2010/09/little-things.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, forgot to say that we also use a plastic pencil box for all his school supplies (pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue stick). It stays in his backpack and gets used at both school and home. Having separate supplies for school and home wasn't really working for us, so we just have a routine of packing everything back up in the backpack as soon as we're done with school on our at-home days. I keep extra supplies in a drawer.

      Delete
  21. I am SO.DOING.THIS! lOvE it! Stuff like this just makes me smile :) Thanks for sharing another great & useful idea Jen!! I have done the school work file system and household binder too! {noticing our binder isn't getting as much use as I want yet- but I know that will change once we're in our own home again}
    Always inspiring- thank you!
    (Colleen) @ PaRtY of 5!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love your blog! I always find so much inspiration from you! But I just don't get the "School Paper Monster" unless you're homeschooling. I mean I have a paper monster that resides at my house and I plan to implement your binder system, but school and kid related paperwork are the least of my problems. I have 4 children, 3 that are school age. Each child carries a backpack to school and that is where their school supplies and paperwork reside. Each child's backpack has a "home" where the kids put them away everyday after school. Everynight I go through each of the backpacks. Inside the backpack the kids will find the necessary school supplies for studying such as paper, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. I can also find their "binder" inside the backpack. This is similar to your home binder. The school provides every student with a "Pride Binder." In the binder is all the school information including yearly calendar, homework agenda/calendar, lunch menus, handbook, etc. I also add a folder to the binder. The folder has 2 pockets inside. One side is for papers to "keep" and the other folder holds "homework." The "homework" side is essentially every paper they bring home from school. I go through the homework section each night. I give my children the homework they need to complete, meanwhile I go through the remainder of the "homework" papers. I will throw the papers away or store them as appropriate in the "keep" side of the folder. Any paperwork that has a date is immediately added to my calendar and the information stored in the "keep side" of the folder." When the date pops up on my calendar, I go to the "keep" pocket, review the info and throw it away. Any permission slips or papers that need to be completed are done so immediatley and placed in the "homework" side to be returned to school and turned in with their completed homework. I honestly NEVER have a "School Paper Monster." And paperwork never accumulates in the binder. At most I will have 3 to 5 sheets of paper in the "keep" side at a time. It's not near enough to create an entire filing system for it and it only takes me 3-5 minutes 5 nights a week. What am I missing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You aren't missing anything, because you have a great paper "system" in place. You are very disciplined, and can manage the paper coming and going from school, so it may not seem like a lot. But if you stopped just for a day or two, you may notice how much there really is. But every school is different. Our personal situation means each kid comes home with 5-10 papers per day. They each have a "take home" folder assigned by the school that is to be emptied each night. From there, it is our job to determine what to do with all of those papers. This is anything from work completed to newsletters, calendars, reminders, assignments and long and short term projects. If not dealt with each and every day, then all the sudden there are 30+ papers in a stack. Within a day or two. I call that a monster that I now have a system to maintain. The new system helps me be disciplined and ensure that the papers have a home that we all understand, and that they don't become endless paper piles on the end of a counter or attached to the fridge. This system also ensures the kids know where to find things, and have their own box each night when working on their assignments.

      Because everyone is in a different situation, the best solution may not always be the same for everyone and can be adapted differently.

      Thanks!

      Jen

      Delete
    2. HA I have a system and didn't even realize it. That's hysterical! Your blog must be rubbing off on me (ok I know it is because I'm totally working on a project right now solely inspired by one of your posts and it's not my first inspiration from you!)

      PS You're title reminds me of my 6 year old daughter. She doesn't understand when people say I heart something that it means they love it. So she says "I heart love it." HAHAHAHA

      Delete
    3. I heart love what she says! Seriously, how adorable is that!?!? :)

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  23. Great idea! It is so important to have a space where your children can find everything they might need all in one place. Makes doing homework a breeze and creative time fun. We have a large basket that our boys dump school papers into every night and then a couple of times a month I sort through and pitch everything not worth keeping. (When they are not home, of course!!) Important papers or ones needing a signature or returned soon go in another basket. We keep our crayons, markers, scissors and glue in vintage mugs and crocks that can easily be moved from tables to desks throughout the house.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good luck, good byyyyyye..... Bobby Jean

    (Sorry someone had to do it!)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great ideas here, thanks! I just have to say that I adore that color green on your walls. What a vibrant, pleasant green! Anyway, just had to say it. Love your blog and all of the great tips I gleen from you. Have a beautiful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love this what a great idea! BTW I also just posted a free printable kids playroom wall art on my blog

    http://www.bemyvalentin.com/

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very cute idea! We are still in 2 year old pre school so we only have art projects, but this will come in handy later!

    I did however have a question, I noticed you have something that you use to protect the table/desk that the boxes are sitting on, what do you use and where did you get it? Thanks so much!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. That White table in the last photo is exactly what we're looking for near our entrance! It's the perfect size... where did you get it from? (And I can't believe I just found this blog now... thank you!!!)

    Erin
    ErinAndrewEverAfter.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erin!

      It's actually this table from Target: http://www.target.com/p/Glass-Top-Sofa-Table-Espresso/-/A-13082796

      Mine was not the espresso version since I got it a couple of years ago. I had painted it white last year and added some pretty paper under the glass top: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/12/fresh-start-to-2011.html

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My son is in his last year of preschool, and right now, I am using the current important papers stuck to the refrigerator method, and a folder for information and old newsletters, etc. I like the box idea, though. I like that you admitted you've tried other ideas that didn't work. Makes the rest of us feel a little better about our chaos, you know? :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hello!

    I just found your blog a few weeks ago and check it daily! I'm getting ready to conquor my craft closet, heaven help me! I am also looking for birght happy colored boxes that hold legal size hanging files to organize my 4 children's school work. I can't find anything cute. I seached Wal-Mart, Taget, Amazon, Office Max, Bed Bath and Beyond and the Container Store. Any other ideas to help me get these papers off my couch and into a cute large box with hanging folders?

    Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmmm, I am surprised you are still left empty handed. You have checked many of my favorite spots. What about seejanework.com or organize.com?

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
    2. Well, Saturday I made it back to Target, with some success! I found 3 art keeper boxes (need to drive to another Target to get the last one). I found 2 hanging file boxes (black, not exactly what I had in mind, but better than the cheap plastic type) I drove to a different Target and found one more and my sweet hubby pick up 2 more on his way home from work) With 4 children ages 12-4 I have a lot of work to do to REDUCE the collection of saved school work. Wish me luck!

      Delete
  32. Grabbed the boxes from Walmart! Score! now my problem is trying to label them as nice as yours. How did you do that? The labels they came with are so tiny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who were the boxes made by? I can't find them in our store or online. Thanks for the help.

      Delete
    2. It is a walmart brand it says @the office on the front. I found it in the filing section where the pens are sold etc. HTH! :)

      Delete
    3. Thanks! I'll try looking again. :)

      Delete
  33. Such a great idea! You must be rubbing off on your kids to keep those boxes so neat! Mine would have everything dumped out in there, with crayon marks all inside the box! ;-)
    How do you handle the home-from-school time? You know, empty lunch bins, back packs, papers, snow boots...etc? That creates so much chaos at our house. Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. As a fifth-grade teacher, I see a variety of unique organizational skills (or lack thereof). I love seeing how parents are helping their children stay organized. I plan on showing this to a few parents at conferences who ask for tips on this kind of thing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. This is a great idea - I must go find some boxes and folders today!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm going to try this when school starts this year, my problem is the only place my son has to do his homework is the kitchen table and he's always complaining he can't find a pencil, eraser, sharpener, etc when he needs one. This way he can put everything away at dinner time and know where to find it later! thank you Jen you are awesome as always :)

    Lanell

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks for the lovely idea Jen. I made study boxes for my girls earlier this year, and have updated them for the new school year. I recently blogged about them here. Thanks for all the lovely inspiration.
    Random Crafting Adventures

    ReplyDelete

IHeart you taking a moment to comment! Although I absolutely appreciate, consider and read each and every comment, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like. This blog is my happy place, let's keep the drama at bay!

Don't see your comment? All comments are moderated and may take a moment to appear.

Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...