How to Organize Kid’s School Papers

Every day my kids come home from school and one of their first jobs as part of their after-school routine (read more about that here) is to empty their school folders.  Some days my entire kitchen island is chock-full of school papers.  So, how do you organize your kid’s school papers?  What do you keep?  Where do you keep it?  And the most popular one – Is it okay to toss school work in the trash?

It’s important to have a plan so you can know confidently what to do, what to keep and toss without guilt.  Now you know me, It can’t be too complicated or I won’t follow through.  It must be simple and purposeful.   I am going to share with you the simple way we have found to tame the school paper monster and store the special papers as keepsakes!

 

How do you organize your kid’s school papers?

Sort The Papers Daily

Every day after school I go through my kid’s paper.  Inevitably, there’s a math paper, a cut and paste paper, possibly a writing assignment and occasionally an art project although the majority of art projects come home at the end of the year for us!  I look over everything and then determine items I might want to save long-term.

Things I like to keep include –

A funny or meaningful story

A special art or craft project

Math test or work the demonstrates grade-level learning

End of the year report cards

School Pictures

Awards

If you are not sure you should keep it or save it (within reason, you don’t need to save everything) go ahead and keep it for now.  You will have another opportunity to pare down later!  I toss whatever I don’t want to keep in the trash or recycling bin.  It’s okay to not keep everything, let that be my encouragement to you!

 

 

Record Date & Name on Papers Before You Store Them

This is key!  I have mom brain and I think I will remember what grade level and child this work belongs to but inevitably in the early years before I did this I forgot.  So, when you sort a paper you want to keep, write the child’s name, grade level and current date on the back or top corner of the paper.

 

 

Store the Papers in A School Bin

I place all the kid’s paperwork into these plastic hanging file folder boxes.  We now are the proud owners of 4 boxes!  As I collect things throughout the year, I just pop them into the corresponding hanging folder.  You can store these totes in your basement, closet or pantry.

The important thing is not so much the location but the boxes need to be accessible so you can easily stow papers away.  You don’t want have to get out a ladder or go to lots of trouble or you won’t do it, or maybe that’s just me.

 

 

What do you need for your bin?

**Click the link, to shop now**

Hanging File Folders (pack of 20) 

Simple Purposeful LIving DIY School Organization Accessory Kit (SHOP HERE)

File Box (I suggest the bigger size – 18.5 x 14 x 11)

 

Once a Year, Pare Down

You will have an influx of paperwork at the end of the year.  You can do a quick sort as we talked about above but often times I can be very sentimental when I am close to something so I like to wait until mid-summer when I am emotionally removed from the situation so I can objectively pare down further what I want to keep.

I re-sort the folder for that grade level and possibly the previous grade levels, only keeping my very favorites.  I am only keeping one bin per child for all school paperwork so I need to save room.  Ultimately, I know as an adult that’s all I wanted when my mom gave me all my things when I got my big girl house ;)!

 

What about their artwork?

We also have an art gallery made out of these Ikea curtain rods that we clip artwork on.  Our kids, as I said, bring all their artwork home at the end of the year so I ask them which ones are their favorites and we display those for the next year on our gallery wall.  After that year, then I pick a favorite or two to keep on the wall or store in their school bins.

My mom has framed 3 of our art pieces that were her favorites and they are displayed in the grandkid’s bunk room at the lake.  I hope to do the same as my kids get older and favorites emerge!

 

 

What about school pictures, sports photos, and other photographs?

We display the current year’s school photos as well as their current year’s sports photos.  All previous years, I pull out when I put the new one in the frame. I make sure to record their name, date and grade level and then save those in their school bins as well.

Sometimes, I will print pictures or kids bring home photographs from a school year and I’ll store those as well.

 

 

What about odd-sized artifacts?

We display some of the items like trophies, medals, pottery pieces in our kid’s bedrooms on their dressers.  As that area fills up, we transition the item to be stored in a bin in the top of their closet (since we don’t access it as often).  This bin houses items from when they were born (like what they wore home from the hospital) and other keepsakes they were given that don’t fit in the school bin.

As they age and the box fills up, we will get input from our children as to what to keep and what to toss but so far there’s still plenty of room!

 

What about special papers they have given to you?

Scott and I each have a special drawer in our bedside tables that we store special gifts, cards, and items our kids want to gift us.  As the drawer gets full, we sort out our favorites.

What about electronic items?

As your kids grow, more and more will be stored online.  You can create a file for each child on your computer and save a copy of that file.  Make sure you name it something specific and date it just like you would a paper copy.  You can also print a copy and store in the file system.  We have printed special emails and stored the paper copy.

Just Remember…

Keep it simple.  If you aren’t sure, save it for now and pare down at the end of the year or as your child ages and you need to make room.  It is okay though to throw things away.  Remember, your child won’t want everything.  Save the highlights.  When your child gets ready to graduate, you can simply pull out items to display at their graduation!


Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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