Papers, stacks and hole punches

 Posted by on November 10, 2009  Add comments
Nov 102009

I’m so glad Kendra gave us permission to discuss emerging habits in her A Morning Routine part three. Especially since Kerri caught me in a pile of stacks when she requested I write about our filing Fridays.

You see, several weeks ago I bragged about the addition of a new, three-hole punch to our classroom. The puncher we started schooling with finally gave out and was only punching two holes. I was so happy to have a working three-hole punch that the children and I were getting caught up on the piles of paper. “It’s filing Friday!” I shared on facebook. Punch, crunch, punch. “Can I have a turn now, mama?”


Paper clutter. When life gets busy, mom gets sidetracked and habits are neglected, paper stacks grow. Even when we stay on top of paper clutter, the piles seem to take over. We all handle paper every day. Mail, flyers tucked on the car windshield, school papers, magazines, bills and more. We just have to make a habit of how we handle all that paper.

I must confess, I am a true stacker my nature. But in my stacks I’ve found a system. The ultimate goal being to hole-punch and file papers in a binder as soon as schoolwork is done. For now we do it on (most) Fridays.

This is our current paper flow habit.


1. Binders for each child, each school subject.


2. A stack of finished papers in the middle of the classroom table and/or on top of a child’s cubby.


3. Favorite art papers wait patiently in each child’s expandable folder. Favorites. We can't keep everything. Sometimes we use artwork for thank you notes or just to brighten a grandparent's mailbox. In the spring, each child displays their best artwork at our homeschool expo.


4. Two big buckets. One houses miscellaneous coloring and workbooks.


One is a catch-all for drawing and construction paper.


5. And, when papers are past their recycling prime, they are filed in the big, black kitchen trash can.

This just covers the papers we generate.

6. For mail, magazines and church papers, I’ve long since adopted Flylady’s paper clutter habit. Junk mail goes in the trash as soon as it comes in the house. Mail that my husband needs to see goes in a stack (of course) on top of the coffee pot. Since the coffee pot is used about twice a day, this forces us to file 🙂 He corrals the stack of bills in an inbox on his desk. Most bills are handled online.

7. For those important papers, I have a large, three-inch binder for each child. This holds immunization records, doctor reports, extracurricular schedules as well as test scores and annual school reports. A wallet-sized photo of the child serves as a label.

I do encourage you to involve the children. Help them to develop paper habits with your example. Let them decorate those school binders. Set aside a weekly time to put on some music and make the filing task lighter. Have a goal of maybe, ‘the sooner we finish the sooner we get to the park.’ Praise their efforts.

Toss, stack, bless a grandparent, file, punch, crunch!

  6 Responses to “Papers, stacks and hole punches”

  1. Awesome!!!! :O) I Love it!!!

  2. Thanks for the inspiration Tricia! And absolutely feel free to post habits in progress. Nobody needs to suspect that we have it all together 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for the inspiration, Tricia. I love your system!

  4. Thanks for humoring me and posting about your filing. I admit that I am still a little envious of that hole puncher…maybe when mine breaks…which it probably will after I go through the mound that is waiting 🙂

  5. I love my 3-hole puncher!
    However, it also requires a brain,which I discovered this evening when trying to get grades done for the quarter…my 9th grader is missing 2 completed algebra tests! ={ Where did I put them?
    My hint, which I used to do in the past and wish I still did…record each grade in whatever you use for a grade book RIGHT AFTER THE TEST/QUIZ/PAPER IS GRADED!

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