Lisa from Neat Freak McKinney is here sharing her tips for how to get organized for the end of the school year!! I am so excited that she is going to be contributing monthly to The Organized Mama!!


School is out, so now what?

Your kids have just dumped a huge backpack full of “stuff” and are off to change into swimsuits for the summer. Is getting organized on your summer bucket list? Here’s a practical guide for busy moms!

End of school year backpack clean out!

 Step 1: Take it all out.

  • Empty everything out of their backpacks.
  • Put all usable writing utensils and school supplies in a baggie or drawer, and save for September. Toss the rest or keep in the craft room drawer.
  • Throw away any trash or ripped binders and folders.
  • Make a pile of papers for each child.

Step 2: Throw that backpack and lunch box in the wash!

  • Time to wash this backpack, trust me it needs it.
  • My grandkids all have Pottery Barn Kids backpacks that stand the test of time, and can be washed again and again. This includes the lunch box! Get those germs out!

Step 3: Sort through the papers

  • Now, most of you know I teach preschool two days a week, and I tell my parents “you can’t keep it all”.
  • Choose one or two of the most special art projects from the entire year to save.
  • Make a “keep” pile and a “toss” pile.

Step 4: Go through the keep pile.

Remember, you can’t save it all, you will be overcome with papers by the time they reach their senior year. Trust me, they won’t care.

With my first child I saved a ton of her artwork and some of her daily homework from when she was homeschooled. By her senior year, she was like “I don’t want all this stuff” LOL. Live and learn.

Now what to do with the keep pile…

  • Keep only what is special to you and them.

For example the Summer Bucket Lists that kids make at the end of each year. Keep those on your fridge or bulletin board for the summer.  Cross off the list as you go, and make it a realized goal for your kids. This will encourage writing goals for every aspect of their lives! At the end of summer, toss it!

Step 5: Storing the “keep” pile.

There are several ways you can store these treasures.

  • frame and hang them

Here is an example of art to frame. It meant something to me at the time, and still does to this day. My daughter’s first water color, and her sweet new words “flowers mama”. I can still remember how proud she was of this art at age 2 ½.

  • Create a scrapbook

Making scrapbooks for each year is a fun way to preserve art and pictures from that year, and can be a fun project to do together. Just be sure you have a place to put scrapbook items and that you make time on your calendar to actually do it.

Have you heard of this company? They send you a kit in the mail, you put in your child’s artwork or moments, and mail it back to them! They take professional pictures of it and send you back an amazing keepsake book!

You take the pictures of their art and turn those photos into small and easy to store books! They are small and easy to store. Shutterfly also stores your pictures for you saving room on your computer.

  • Keep a clear bin for each child.

For those Momma’s that can’t toss a thing, here’s an idea for you. Keep one bin per child for their entire school career, PreK-12. Having just one bin per child will help you keep papers in control. If you know you only have this one bin to use, then you will be more mindful of what you keep. It will fill up fast, and this will help you be accountable.

You are now ready to put this school year behind you!

Let’s review:

  • Tackle the mess as soon as it comes into your home.
  • Sort and purge every paper, pen and school supply.
  • Wash the backpacks and lunch boxes and store until September.
  • Archive and save only the special things.
  • Once this mess is tackled you will feel ready to conquer summer. Because summer brings a whole new set of things to organize!

Thank you so much Lisa!! For more of Lisa’s incredible tips, head over to Neat Freak McKinney blog and Instagram!

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