Every summer, as the school year comes to a close, parents are faced with backpacks full of leftover supplies, stacks of paper and folders of artwork from their child’s school. Some of these backpacks may stay this way until school starts again.  This year, don’t procrastinate!  There is a way to organize all of these leftover school supplies. Let’s use the EMEND method to tackle them:

Explore: Set Your Intentions

Set a goal to go through the pile before the end of the summer. This way, you’re ready to go for the next school year and you’re not procrastinating.

Merge: Sort Everything Into Categories

Start by putting all of the supplies together. If you have more than one child in school, collect everyone’s backpacks and supplies. Now that you’ve got the pile, start breaking it up into categories, moving the like items together.

From my pile, there are folders that are in good shape that can be used next year. There’s also a big bag of recycling; you’ll notice that a majority of the pile ends up here.

Art supplies — such as markers, glue, crayons and scissors — a lot of these items went unused because the students were not in school the last 9 weeks.

There’s a stack of workbooks; we’ll call that “wishful thinking.” Every parent always hopes their child is going to work through the workbooks every summer, but they never do. It’s great If your kids do it, but if not, don’t beat yourself up over it.

I’ve got a collection of empty binders that are still in good shape that can be used next year, along with loose-leaf paper that can be used at home or for school.

These are things that can be used next year. The whole point of keeping this stuff is so you have it available for next year. If you have it and you know where to find it, then it’s going to save you money.

For the leftover artwork, you could apply an entirely separate EMEND process to get through this. For now, gather it all together and store it someplace safe.

Edit: Toss What You Won’t Use

Any notebooks that were hardly used could be used again next year. But will you? Or will you buy a new one? If you’re not going to reuse them, let them go.

The same rule applies to the stack of composition notebooks. If there are pages pulled out of the notebooks, they can be used as scrap paper. The composition notebooks are held together with string, so you can easily disassemble them and still use the paper.

For distance-learning this year, we used a ton of half-used notebooks because we needed scrap paper.

Take a closer look at the leftover marker collection to see which ones work and which ones don’t work and toss the ones that are dried out. This is an easy project the kids can help with.

Nest: Put the Items Where They go

Now it’s time to find a new home for these things until you need them again. If you already have a bin of markers, add in the ones from the school year. Take it a step further and test all of the markers to see what needs to be tossed.

If there are school supplies that you’re saving, you have to put them together so you can find them when you need them. Again, the whole point of keeping the supplies is to possibly use them next school year. You need to have them organized so you know what you have and where to find them when you need them.

Put them in a labeled container and shop that container for next year’s school supplies first.

Develop: Have the Right Mindset

The final step is a mindset. You have to know where in your home these are going to be located.

The goal is that at the end of July or in August when you need them, you know where the container is so you can shop there first. Then go shopping for the items you still need, if there are any.

If you have specific questions about this, I’d love to address them. Please leave a comment or send me an email at: alyssa@myemend.com.