I’ve been a mom for twenty years, and I tell ya, you never stop looking for ways to help improve the way your household runs when it comes to your children and family. I have also lost my fair share of important school papers. You know the drill: your child(ren) come home from school, they empty out their backpacks and folders, and hand you important papers to sign that are due. Then somehow, these papers go missing and can’t be found, which wrecks havoc for everyone involved. And before you know it, you are running up to the school to get said papers so that you can complete them and not be the one parent that didn’t have it in by the due date.
And don’t let it be a test or assignment that needed to be signed and turned back in. In the past, I’ve lost a few of those. And that is never a good feeling.
I pride myself on being very organized, but sometimes, even I fail. So I try to create systems in place that will help me and my ten year old be as effective as we can be as it pertains to paperwork and things.
Two years ago, after my 18 year old graduated school, I finally thought of a failsafe that would cut down on the missing papers and chaotic activity of looking for them in my house—and it was a pretty simple parenting hack derived from my days of working in the office—and In and Out box.
Pretty simply, the In and Out box sits in my office, and serves as a way to help us stay organized with my daughter’s schoolwork and papers. When she comes home from school each day, she is responsible for taking out papers, schoolwork, and items to be signed out of her backpack and into the In box. And then it is my responsibility to go through the In box before the end of the day and read and sign items of importance that are due. Then before bed, she takes the signed paperwork and puts them back into her folder and backpack, which is then placed by the front door where she can retrieve it in the morning.
It’s a pretty simple and easy system that really works for us. And this year, we haven’t had any missing or lost papers. This also teaches your child responsibility, for they have something they are in charge of doing as well. There are times you will have to remind them to put the papers in the In box, but after awhile, it is like clockwork and is part of the daily routine.
I also love this parenting hack because when I am out of town, there’s always a stack of things waiting for me when I get home, and I feel like I haven’t missed anything. It helps keep me informed and on my toes.
The In and Out Box is pretty cheap too. You can get them at the Dollar Store, or even places like Walmart, Target, etc. You may even have something laying around the house that can work as an In and Out box, too.
You can even get your kids in on the act by having them decorate it and personalize it. More than one child? Keep folders in the In and Out box with their names on the tabs, so each child can place their paperwork in the folder, keeping them organized and separated.
Not sure what we would do without our handy In and Out box. We swear by it. And it helps make things extra easy breezy.