Set up a specific location for each child to hang up their book bag when they get home from school.  Wall hooks work well, just be sure they are placed at a convenient height for each child.  Ideally, this book bag hanging area should be right by the area you are going to do your daily book bag check.

Check bag daily (book bags with a lot of compartments make a parent’s life more difficult.  Try using a tote with one middle section only)

Dumping & Sorting Bin or Area – take out all of the obvious keeps like notes from the teacher, report cards, graded work for middle schoolers to keep until the report card comes out, newsletters, and the homework for the day.  Use your action files in your command center to determine what to do with the keep papers.

Holding bin – set up a holding bin for each child.  Put everything else from the book bag in the holding bin. This will include things like graded papers for younger kids, artwork, 3-D projects, etc…When the holding bin is full, go through the bin and select a couple of items to keep in a forever box.  Throw the rest out. Note:  For older children: keep graded papers in files until report card arrives

Forever Box – one of the reasons I suggest having a holding bin and waiting until it is full to pick a couple of items to place in this box is to help prevent wanting to keep every little cute thing your kids bring home.  Keep things of special significance, such as items with hand prints, special mommy letters, and your child’s first _______s.  Even the forever box should be gone through occasionally.  Your child’s birthday is a great day to do this.  Work with your child to weed out items you no longer remember why you kept.

Kids Keepers -

The Simple Way: Box method

1       One box for 3-d objects (those kid-made gifts and school projects)

2       One box for important papers, art

 The Semi-Simple Way: Box & Albums

1       One box for 3-d objects

2       One box for schoolwork & art & photos filed by year