How to Sort Through Your Kid's Classroom Folder in 12 Easy Steps

By Jen Piwtpitt - 9:42 AM

Every afternoon when my kids come home from school, they barrel up the stairs, unzip their backpacks, pull out their half eaten lunches, and thrust their classroom folders in my general direction at precisely the same time.
It’s a pivotal moment. The contents of the dreaded classroom folder will dictate how the rest of my day and evening goes. In other words, there is a direct correlation between the cornucopia of shit that comes out of there and the amount of stress I’m going to have to endure.
But now that my oldest is in fifth grade, I’ve had a few years to figure out a sorting system that’s really made a difference. Believe me the last thing you want do is just open up the folder and go through it willy-nilly. That’s what the dumb moms do.
Instead be smart and follow these twelve easy steps for staying sane when sorting through your kid’s school folder. Then I promise you’ll be A-okay:

STEP 1: Open up the folder(s).
STEP 2: Calculate the total number of folders you must sort through.
Hint: This should equal the total number of elementary aged kids you have.
Bonus Tip 1: If you have fewer folders than elementary aged kids in your household immediately scold your child for forgetting his/her folder (again!)
Bonus Tip 2: If you have more folders than elementary aged kids in your household immediately ask your child why the fuck he brought Tommy’s folder home (again!)
STEP 3: Calculate your “Friendly Folder Fraction” by taking the number from Step 2 and using it as your denominator. Place the numerator 1 above it. Don’t let the basic math scare you off. It’s a total cinch. (Skip steps 3-4 if you only have one kid).
Example 1: Jill has 2 folders to sort through. Therefore Jill’s Friendly Folder Fraction is 1/2.
STEP 4: Take your friendly folder fraction and randomly throw out the equivalent number of pages. This is called leveling the playing field. Why should those of us with multiple kids do more work?
Example 1: Since Jill’s friendly folder fraction is 1/2 she throws out 1/2 of the pages contained in each folder. I mean recycles … Jill recycles every other page.
Bonus Tip 1: Get your kids involved in the random recycling and make it a fun family activity.
STEP 5: If you have more than one kid in your household immediately recycle any PTA or School Club related information. There will never be time. Don’t kid yourself.
Note: If you only have 1 kid in your household then the PTA is counting on you. And I hear they’re looking for a President.
STEP 6: Put all Corrected Homework and Art Projects in one pile. When nobody is looking quickly toss the pile into the recycling bin. It's officially in the past now.
STEP 7: Autograph the hell out of the Reading Log.
Bonus Tip 1: Sign it all at once for the entire week. True, your child hasn’t had a chance to read yet, but try not to get bogged down in meaningless details.  
STEP 8: Collect any new Assignments. Hand them to your child. It’s now his/her problem. Not yours.
STEP 9: Quickly review the remaining documents to see if anything requires a signature. Don’t read it. Just sign it. It’s called a Permission Slip. That’s because you have permission to sign it.
STEP 10: Look for any new Health Announcements. You’re looking for the word E-B-O-L-A. If you don’t see that word, you’re good, discard the form. If you do see that word, sorry, I can’t help you. Try speed dialing the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO … though they probably can’t help you either.

STEP 11: You’re almost home free. The only thing that should be left in the school folder is the Picture Day Order Form. It’s only sent twice per year – once for actual Picture Day and once for My Kid Looks like a Constipated Goldfish Day (aka Retake Day). Don’t agonize over which package to buy. Remember, the answer is always C. Pick C. Write your check. Seal your envelope. Never mind the taste of adhesive in your mouth. Now it’s time to…
STEP 12: Pour yourself a glass of wine and toast to your ingenuity!
Congratulations, you’ve just mastered your biggest life hack to date.

Jill Ginsberg has several 3-letter certifications behind her signature but the one she's most known for having is OCD. As a Writer, Holistic Nutritionist and the mother of three wild little humans, she relishes order, tends to think in lists, appreciates humor and doesn't mind offending people. You can find her at, a lighthearted lifestyle and wellness blog that helps moms lose their shit and get it together at the same time.You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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