Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Backpack Project Finale: Making the Backpack Work for Each Organizational Style
Last week, we looked at backpack habits and tricks style-by-style for the personal styles. And then yesterday, I got sucked into the lure of back-to-school shopping, and forgot to give you part two. So today, let's take a peek into what happens when kid and backpack meet the organizational styles. For ease of reading, I've used the male pronoun in the cram and jam description (with apologies to boys). While many of my favorite cram and jammers are boys, these styles are not gender specific!
  • Cram and jammers keep cramming things in, but rarely take things out. They're likely to completely disregard all the nooks crannies and pockets in the backpack and simply toss everything into the main section, creating one big pile of papers, school supplies and miscellaneous items. Disregarding the smaller spaces isn't a problem (at least they know where everything is!), unless it means your child can't find what he needs when he needs it. Using brightly colored (i.e. hard to miss) folders, binders and other containers (zip-top clear plastic bags work, too) can help him spot the important stuff. 
          The propensity to stuff may cause other problems as well, most notably papers that are 
          crumpled, wrinkled and/or torn. If the papers make it into the brightly colored containment 
          systems, this is minimized. Teaching kids to use a simple packing system (heavy items on the 
          bottom, lighter items on top) will also help. While it may not stop the cramming and jamming, 
          it will save their belongings some wear and tear, as well as teaching basic packing skills    
          (useful at the grocery store, among other places).
  • Drop and run organizers may use their backpacks as temporary storage when they're in a hurry...then forget to take out the things that don't belong. When they're not in a rush, drop and run kiddos might actually have assigned homes for the things that go into the backpack, but when "run" kicks in, "drop" takes over and the first available space becomes the item's home. Choosing a backpack style that's conducive to this organizational style (wide openings that close with a drawstring, for example, or perhaps a messenger bag) makes it more likely things will be dropped into the right spot when these kids are on the run. Like their cram and jam counterparts, these kiddos will benefit from some basic lessons in packing skills.
  • Thanks to their tendency to store things in the closest available space, I know I put it somewhere kids may find an entire stash of non-school-related items in their backpacks. They typically haven't assigned their things a home, and so while the backpack (or some nook or pocket therein) seems like a logical place to put something at the time, when it's not part of an overall system, retrieval of specific items becomes challenging. The telltale "I forgot that was there!" or "So that's where I put it!" reveals this style very clearly. Like those with the I love stuff personal style, I know I put it somewhere kids may need to be discouraged from using the small spaces in the backpack (unless they label them) because those are the areas where things tend to "disappear."
Kids with all three of these organizational styles will benefit from emptying the backpack at least once a week, particularly if their personal style is I love stuff. Not only are they likely to find "buried treasure," but regular purging of the backpack teaches them the basics of de-cluttering, as well as the benefits of managing a storage space before it gets out of hand.

What tips or tricks have you discovered that make backpacks more manageable for your child?

No comments:

Post a Comment