Organize At School Year’s End

The day has arrived. School is over and you are ready to move into full summer mode. It is tempting to simply ditch the backpack in a corner and forget about it. However, if you can stay strong for just a little while longer, you will pave the way for a smooth start up next fall.  So crank your favorite music and get started. This is what you need to do:

Yes, dump it all out. Sort the contents so you can take the following actions:

  • Trash: anything broken, ruined, used up, or unidentifiable.
  • Recycle: paperwork you no longer need or wish to see again.
  • Wash: clothing, lunch containers, etc. The backpack itself should also be washed.
  • Store: school supplies that are in good working order. Identify notebooks which have a lot of unused pages, test pens/markers/highlighters to see what still works, etc. Move these to a “school supply” station in your home… a dresser, a box under the bed, or a closet shelf.
  • Archive: These are papers, projects, artwork, etc. that you are proud of and want to hold onto. They can either go into a hanging file, or into a plastic storage bin labeled “2012-2013 School Year” For younger children, consider photographing artwork and organizing with an app like Artkive.
  • Reference: Especially for high school students, there may be notes, review sheets, packets, etc. that you want to have on hand for future study OR to have available to tutor younger students. Move these to a reference section such as hanging files (e.g. “Sophomore Year Chemistry,”) a bin/box or a drawer.

Make a note of school supplies you are either out of or have very few of (e.g. index cards, highlighters, glue sticks…) Make a list on your  (or your parents’) Smartphone so you will be able to stock up when you see a sale.

Over the year you have accumulated some books, such as a second copy of a textbook, research books, or literature. Decide which, if any, you wish to move them to a bookshelf. For the remainder, consider selling them to younger students. Many schools help sellers find buyers, or simply post on Facebook what you have to sell. If you don’t wish to deal with the resale process, put the books in a box to donate.

Dump out the drawers, sort piles, and clear off the surface. Go through the same process you did with the backpack. Wipe it out with a damp rag and set it up for the summer (such as summer reading). If you have to work in the summer, make your space inviting.

Now is the time to go through all the files you hastily (and randomly) saved during the school year. As with physical paperwork, trash the documents you never want to see again, and save those you want to keep into a folder you create entitled “2012-2013 School Year”. If you wish, create subfolders by subject to organize your documents. Consider backing up this folder to a flash drive “just in case.”

If you have a bulletin board, take everything off and start fresh. Throw away old schedules, calendars, photos, etc. Hang up any schedules for the summer, and leave some blank space to hang summer memorabilia.

If you will be using the same locker next year, write down the combination. Believe it or not, you may forget it by the time next year rolls around. Likewise, if you use a free-standing combination lock (e.g. for a gym locker), record the combination on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the back.

Pull out your calendar (electronic or paper) and note important start dates. For instance, athletes or band members may need to show up for camp 2 weeks before school. Or maybe you have a registration day you need to attend. At a minimum, record the first day of school.

Summer is here; take these few steps now, and then enjoy the well-deserved break.

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2 thoughts on “Organize At School Year’s End”

  1. Oh I definitely need these tips — I usually wait till the very last second and then we find all sorts of stuff in the backpack. Not good!!

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