Summer is in full swing. One of the skills I always transfer to my clients is “The Wrap Up”. Once you finish something, finish it completely. For example, when you come home from vacation, empty your suitcases right away and restock your travel toiletry bag.

Realistically it only takes a few minutes to do the above but many people will procrastinate. Today I’d like to concentrate on a bigger wrap up for young school-aged children, who during the last week of school, carry home stuffed backpacks of papers and year-end art projects.

If you haven’t already tackled the end-of-school-year onslaught, here are some helpful hints for assisting your children in their Wrap Up:

Set aside a block of time with each child dedicated just for organizing her year-end collections of goodies. Create some space on a floor and make 7 signs with scrap paper or Post Its:

1. Your Child’s Memorabilia
2. Parent’s Memorabilia
3. Give to Others
4. Recycle
5. Garbage
6. Future Studying
7. School Supplies

Now sort your child’s papers, projects, electronics etc. from his backpack, locker, desk, bedroom, mud room (anywhere he lands with his stuff) into the above categories. Be ruthless. If you save even just 10 memorabilia items from each grade K-12 you’ll have 130 pieces of keepsakes that need to be stored in your house. And you might need to do this with other children. You could easily reach over 1,000 pieces of paper by high school graduation!

Once you and your child have weeded through each item, purge what you can immediately into the recycling can or garbage. Mail or deliver other wonderful works of art and special reports and projects to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins whom you don’t see often or save the paper for wrapping gifts at holiday time.

Store the academic papers (for future studying) in hanging file folders, one folder for each subject. Make sure you use the plastic tab to label the contents of each folder. Then place the folder in a banker’s box or plastic file storage box, which has the ledge for hanging file folders. Label the outside of the box. For example:

Fifth Grade

If by the holidays your child hasn’t asked for those school papers, it’s a safe bet you can let them go.

Of course, you will also find lots of school supplies that were not utilized or can easily be re-purposed for September. Decide where and how you want to house all these pencils, erasers, glue sticks and more. Then when you make that trip to Staples with the “Back to School” list be sure you check your inventory from your Wrap Up first so you don’t waste time, energy, money and space.

TIP:  Motivate your children to “let go” of the bulkier items such as the cereal box book report or dioramas by taking digital pictures. Turn them into a slideshow, a screen saver, utilize a digital picture frame or do the old-fashioned; develop them for photo albums.