Previously, I have posted about the workbox system that we use, and that we actually use clear poly envelopes instead of boxes. The envelopes are expensive, and I feel like they need to last us over a year, or else the system would be too costly.
Here are some rules we try to follow to keep our envelopes in good shape so they can be reused longer:
1. If possible, we keep the book in the envelope on days when it is not used. We have more books and notebooks than envelopes, so this doesn't always work. With bigger books, I've found it is better to not take them out and put them back in the envelope extra times.
2. When replacing the books in the box, we return them to the envelope first. We tried just putting the book back in the box separately from the envelope, but soon found that the envelopes always ended up being folded or awkwardly crushed.
3. We only wrap the string around the button one time. Sometimes the envelope doesn't even need the string to remain closed, but when it does, it doesn't help to wind the string around several times. This seems to save the string, and also helps mom. I might have 12-14 envelopes to prepare for school the next day. It's time-consuming to have to unwind all the strings.
4. Mom is the only one who takes the Velcro numbers off the envelopes. This keeps them from getting lost, and Mom seems to be able to best handle that Velcro. Even though I used sandpaper to prep the area for the sticky dots, they still have trouble staying on, and you can't just rip the number off. You have to hold both pieces of the Velcro and pull them apart gently. This is another reason we chose not to use the number strips called for in the workbox book.
5. The biggest books are the hardest for the envelopes to handle. If a book completely fills your envelope, you can bet that the envelope won't last the year out. You just have to decide if it's worth it to continue sticking it in an envelope, or figure out another method.