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How to Organize your Surplus College-Ruled Notebook Papers

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I have been freelance writing ever since elementary school. My passions include music, age-appropriate dance, travel, and more.

Pretty much at the end of every school year, students oftentimes would have surplus college-ruled notebook papers, depending on how much they used them or how many times they replenish them. If they completed their notebooks for their subjects, including interactive notebooks for geography or history, most of the time, they still have some blank pages.

Having blank notebook pages may lead parents to save money on school supplies for the next school year or even the next semester.

And yes, extra notebook papers count as leftover supplies here.

Step 1: Gather all blank notebook paper

Notebook paper can be bought in reams, ranging from 100 to 500 pages. Before you consolidate whichever is left over, check with your school's supply lists - some of them STILL require you to buy loose-leaf notebook paper in certain amounts of reams and/or pages regardless of how much you have extra.

Notebook paper can also be found in 3-hole spiral-bound notebooks. Please note that the pages MUST be perforated - can easily be torn cleanly. Again, consult with your supply lists, as they likely still require students to purchase the notebooks. Either way, gathering the extra blank sheets or tearing off blank pages from previous notebooks will reduce trips to the store or website to buy more or keep you from buying them till the next school year.


Step 2: Buy or repurpose folders or binders

The best items to store your surplus paper are 3-ring binders and folders with brads.

Just stuffing the paper in the pockets may cause the paper to fall or scatter, which isn't ideal especially in wet weather. Securing them in rings or brads ensure that they are secured to, during, and from school.

Most school supply lists require parents to buy 3-6 folders with brads on average, and some require certain colors of them. The most optimal ones are made of plastic or other non-porous materials, which is much sturdier than those made of paper, especially - again - during wet weather. In the following photos I took, I used Dunwell (in blue) and Smead (in yellow) folders to organize whichever surplus notebook paper I had on hand.

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Simply divide the paper you have between the folders with prongs or rings. I don't recommend putting extra pages in the pockets. As I pointed out before, they might fall out of them, which obviously isn't ideal during and after rain or snow or when and where the ground is highly dusty or muddy in places where children and teens wait for buses, at front doors, around the campuses, or (if using this organization method) around your workplaces.


A word on trapper keepers:

As a 90's kid who happily grew up without using them for school (and being gladly surrounded by a majority of others), I HIGHLY don't recommend buying trapper keepers if you're organizing extra notebook papers for your school-aged kids. That's regardless of solid-colored, demure-enough-for-school options available.

"The kids with trapper keepers tend to throw the papers in and don't organize. They can't find anything," Janice Kopp, a 6th grade English teacher at Chevy Chase Elementary School, complained to the Washington Post in 2001.

"They're so big, they take up so much space; they have so many compartments," Lucinda Mann, a 4th grade teacher in Sugarland Elementary School in Sterling, MD, griped, "You ask a student to take out a worksheet. And by the time they open all the sections out and find it, the trapper keeper has reached over to another person's desk. A simple three-ring binder with subject dividers will actually hold more."

In other words - as again mentioned - securing notebook papers with rings or brads likewise is highly optimal for carrying respectively binders and non-porous folders in wet weather or dirty grounds.

In case you don't know what a trapper keeper is:

Obviously, PLENTY of schools require students to label their binders and folders. This ensures that only their math problem drills go into the math folder, the responses to the questions asked in their geography textbooks go into the geography folders, and so forth.

If you're an adult organizing extra loose paper that way, you can use them to track expenses, write gratitude journals, and log your food in if you're undergoing a weight loss program. This organization method suits any age very well, making school and work easier and money-saving.


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