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How to take control and organize your child's school paperwork, other important documents

Posted at 7:25 AM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 20:37:54-05

Does this sound like every morning in your home?

"Where's your homework?"

"Was I supposed to sign something for your teacher?"

The final minutes before you take the children to school don't have to be chaotic.

Tracy Bem, a Wellington professional organizer, helps parents regain control of their mornings by taking control of their child's endless paperwork.

Just ask mom Francine Nelson.

"The artwork, the homework, things to send back for field trips. (The paperwork) goes on forever," said Nelson.

Nelson was motivated by today's de-cluttering craze and hired Bem.

"My system is very simple," says Bem. "Sort, decide and place."

The sorting takes the most time. Francine's third grader, Sophie, is recruited to help her mom decide which papers to keep.

Certificates, school photos, mementos all go into a hanging file bin, which Bem has labeled by grade.

A smaller tabletop file is used to hold "current" papers -- Nelson's immediate priorities.

Bem uses a separate binder to organize Sophie's most important papers.

She says, "Especially if you have an IEP, an individual education plan, there is a lot that is involved in child study team meetings so you have to be organized."

Another useful tool : simple plastic pouches to hold crucial personal info.

"Birth certificates, Social Security card, kid's identifications, a copy of their driver's license when they are old enough to drive."

With a system in place, Bem says the child is able to take control of incoming papers and learn a valuable lesson the process.

"They will now take over the organizing of the papers, telling you, "Mom this needs to go in memories, this needs to go in the Girl Scout File."

It's teaching them high functioning thinking that will carry them through life.

Sort, decide, place. The keys to controlling the clutter and chaos.

Click here for more organizing tips and to see the organizational products used by Tracy Bem.