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. This is what you need to do to organize at school year’s end.
DUMP OUT THE BACKPACK
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 probably 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, such as a drawer, a box under the bed, or a bin in a closet.
- Archive: These are papers, projects, artwork, etc. that you or your child is proud of and that you want to keep. They can go into a hanging file, a plastic storage bin labeled “2020-2021 School Year,” or a general memorabilia box. For younger children, consider photographing artwork and organizing it with an app like Artkive or Keepy.
- Reference: Especially for high school students, there may be notes, review sheets, packets, etc. that your child will want to have on hand for the future. Move these to a reference location such as hanging files (e.g. “Sophomore Year Chemistry”), a bin, or a magazine file on a shelf.
MAKE A LIST OF NEEDED SUPPLIES
Make a note of school supplies you are either out of or have very few of (e.g. index cards, highlighters, glue sticks, etc.). Keep the list in a convenient location (such as a list on your smartphone) so you will be able to stock up when you see a sale.
REVIEW YOUR STASH OF BOOKS
Over the year your child may have accumulated some books, such as a second copy of a textbook, research books, or literature. Decide which, if any, you wish to move to a bookshelf for reference or for younger siblings. Put the remainder in a box to donate.
CLEAN UP THE WORKSPACE
Dump out desk drawers and any containers used to hold homework supplies. Sort items into piles of similar items. Now is a good time to wipe the surfaces and inside of the containers clean. If your child will be doing some work over the summer, such as summer reading or math review sheets, gather needed supplies and put them in place.
CLEAN UP YOUR COMPUTER DESKTOP
Now is the time to go through all the files that were hastily (and randomly) saved during the school year on the computer. [Note: this is primarily a task for older students, so they should do this. Be available if they need help or motivation.]
As with physical paperwork, trash the documents (and photos) that are no longer relevant, and save keepers in a folder entitled “2020-2021 School Year.” If desired, create subfolders by subject to organize your documents. Consider backing up this folder to a flash drive “just in case.”
REFRESH YOUR BULLETIN BOARD
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 new items that will be coming in. (Click here for more tips on how to refresh a bulletin board.)
RECORD LOCKER COMBINATIONS AND PASSWORDS
If your child will be using the same locker next year, write down the combination. Believe it or not, he/she may forget it by the time next year rolls around. Likewise, record the combination for any free-standing locks (e.g. for a gym locker) on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the back.
If you have been e-learning, or if your child has access to specific websites, databases, portals, etc., be sure to record these logins and passwords in a reliable place. Put a note in your calendar to remind yourself where you put them so you can find them when it is time to go back to school.
RECORD “START” DATES
Pull out your calendar (electronic or paper) and note important start dates, such as the first day of school. Also note any school-related commitments that will take place before the start of classes. For instance, athletes or band members may need to show up for camp 2 weeks ahead of everyone else. Also, note any registration days and/or parents’ nights that you need to attend. Lastly, put fall school holidays and early-release days into your calendar.
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Summer is here. Take these few steps now, and then enjoy the well-deserved break.
Do you have a routine for getting organized at the end of the school year?