A while ago I shared my tips for surviving your first homeschool convention. Now that you've attended, survived, and hopefully learned a bit, what do you do with all that stuff you've most likely obtained?
My husband, two older children, and I just returned home from our annual homeschool convention! As always, the kids had a great time, and I came home with a huge bag of stuff before counting any purchases!
Vendor halls are great! They give you the opportunity to really look at a product before you buy. The hall is also filled with a lot of junk - an abundance of catalogs, flyers upon flyers for activities that don't fit your family, and a ton of random freebies (pens, candy, etc.). For me, all this stuff makes it hard for me to concentrate on what I learned, so the first thing I do after unpacking is to GET RID OF IT! As I empty my convention bag, I sort everything into 3 piles; "keep", "revisit", and "trash". Once I sort into these 3 piles, the trash is thrown away. Next, I take pictures of all the cards, flyers, catalogs, and information in the "revisit" pile and then throw it away. This way I have a digital copy of the item without finding a place to store it. Finally, I should be left with a small pile of the things I really want to keep. For me, these may be smaller purchases or forms I need to fill out and send in. Also in this piles are receipts from the weekend. These are put into a folder and saved until tax time. (Yes, I will soon be able to write off school expenses in my state!)
Once the paper clutter is mostly taken care of, I pull out any speaker handouts and notes I took. I simply type or scan these into a Word document and throw away the paper copies. If you read my convention tips post, you know that I buy CDs of all the sessions. At this time I import the tracks into iTunes for listening to at a later date. I also slip these into my desk with the previous years' convention disks. Ideally, all of the discs would be placed in an CD sleeve (similar to this) and then stored in my teacher binder.
Lastly I can go through my purchases and put them away for next year. At this point I feel pretty free an settled in back at home from a long but wonderful weekend away.
Well, until I go and do this ...