You may have heard the buzz surrounding a new TV show based on the book titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, in which she visits the homes of families who are in need of getting their things – and life – in order. Marie’s philosophy is to keep only the things that bring you joy, and to discard or donate everything else. As a parent, you can’t always throw away the things that your children have accumulated just because they don’t bring you or them joy, but you can certainly help them to tidy up and declutter their school supplies and materials using the methods below.
First, start by looking at your child’s backpack. Are there any papers, notes or handouts, from last semester that aren’t needed anymore? What about old binders or notebooks from previous classes? Help your child come up with an organizational system in the backpack so that he or she knows exactly where to reach for any homework that needs to be turned in. It also helps to dedicate a space for heavy-use items like the iPad, calculator, or daily planner.
Next, look around your child’s room, especially at the work space. Are there any items encroaching from the sports equipment pile, the hobbies and interests pile, or the clothing pile? Help to declutter and organize these spaces better so that your child can see that his or her work space is a dedicated area to focus on schoolwork. Repurposing old shoeboxes or plastic food containers is a great way to keep track of those hard-to-find items, such as pencils, erasers, clips, sharpies and rubber bands. You can also find inexpensive plastic organizers with drawers for each category of school supplies at Target or Staples.
Lastly, take stock of the books that have piled up in your child’s room. Some of these may be books about interests, while others are old copies of books from last year’s classes. While we encourage parents to have books around at all times to foster encouragement for reading and writing, it is still appropriate to make space for new books and items that will be accumulating between now and June. You can donate used books to your local library, or post them on social media for parents who have younger children. It feels good to declutter while helping out other families at the same time!
Once you and your child have finished making space and organizing, it’s time to celebrate! Take him or her out for a treat to show that you are proud of him or her for taking the initiative to get those school supplies in order. These are valuable skills that will stay with your child for a long time.
John Posatko, M.A.Ed.
Director of Education