Are you wondering how to organize your kids school papers, artwork and memorabilia? Today, I am sharing simple methods to declutter and organize all of your school papers. Learn what papers to keep and how to store and organize the papers and artwork you hold on to!

This blog post is part of the Clear the Clutter Series! Learn more about this decluttering challenge here. 

Easy Ideas for managing the school paperwork clutter #endofschoolyear #kids #organization #paperwork #decluttering

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How to Organize Your Kids’ School Papers

Once your kids start preschool, the amount of papers and art work that comes home can be overwhelming. At first, it is cute when all of your child’s art masterpieces fill up the backpacks. Besides kids’ art projects, you also get reward ribbons, certificates, report cards, notes from the teacher. The list goes on! It does not take long for your child to amass a BIG pile of school papers.

You might be wondering what school papers to keep and what to throw away? So let’s first talk about how to organize all of your kids’ school papers!

1. Sort Through Papers All Year Long

The number one thing to do when organizing school papers is to keep up with the paper piles all year long.

When you child comes home from school with a backpack full of papers, immediately decide what to do with all of it. If there are papers or permission slips to sign, take care of these things right away.

Utilize the two touch paper rule. The first time you hold the paper, decide what you need to do with it. Then the second touch, take action on the paper! So, you pick it up once to decide what to do with it and then you pick it up again to put in its final destination.

The thought behind this “touch” approach is that you do not end up with piles and piles of papers that you just constantly move around.

It is necessary to be relentless in what you throw away. How often do we go back to our own school projects and papers and look at them? NEVER! Save a few items that represent your child’s creativity and get rid of the rest. You will not miss any of the discarded items!

2. Have a Centralized Spot to Collect School Papers

Once you have decided what papers to keep (at least for the short term), put them in a basket.  This container will hold  things like report cards, certificates, concert programs and notes from teachers. You will probably want one basket or clear lidded container for each child.

You can keep papers in this basket until you are ready to put them in long term storage. Once the basket is full, you can weed out anything that is no longer a keeper. Sometimes things we think are important do not hold  the same value a few months later!


Keep this bin easily accessible so you can add to it on a daily and weekly basis. I find that this actually takes almost all year to fill up because I really only keep things I LOVE.

3. Have One Permanent File for Each Child

Once or twice a year, organize all of your child’s papers into a permanent file. You can decide what type of container or file to use for each of your kids. The best time to transfer papers and art to a permanent file is at the end of the year. You will want to do this at the beginning of summer break or else you might not get around to do it once summer is in full session!

I use this exact extra large file for my kids. It is so big and perfect to store everything! The folder is divided up nine sections and you can label each section as you want. I have one section for each year.

Lakeshore My Keepsake Portfolio

This is a great folder because it is big enough to store papers and ART! Then there is no need to have a separate system for art work!

The main thing is to find a permanent solution that works for you! Another option is to use a clear file box with lid.

You would not be able to store extra large artwork but you would certainly have enough room for papers! You can even find personalized kits to add to your clear container!

4. Showcase the Best School Memories

This last step is not required but is an option if you want to nicely display school memories. I have created School Memory Books for each of my kids. You can read about how I create school memory books here. 



The nice thing about creating a school memory book is that it makes a nice keepsake for your kids. You could display these school memory books at your child’s graduation party.

Some additional ways to manage kids school papers

  • Involve the kids! I find that if I ask the kids if it’s an item they want to keep. As they have gotten older, they are better at letting go of items that are not favorites. Gone are the days of sneaking art projects into the trash!
  • Take pictures of art work you want to remember. You could even take a picture of your child holding the art work as an extra sentiment.  
  • Make it a fun experience to go through end of school papers! Carve out a little time to work with each child individually and use the time to go down memory lane of the last year. Ask the child some of his/her favorite memories (don’t forget to jot these down somewhere!). It really is amazing to think another school year has gone by and it is fun to think about all that our children have accomplished! Let your child know what you remember most about the school year and what accomplishments of the child you are most proud of!

Storage Ideas for Kids School Papers

There are many ways to store school papers and memorabilia.  You will want to pick one of these storage methods and stick to it.

What method will you use to store your kids’ school papers?




Looking for more ideas on how to organize kids’ stuff? Check out these posts:

How to Declutter Toys in One Hour

How to Make School Memory Books

Kids Shared Bedroom Organization


  1. Brandi on June 11, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Great tips! When they start emptying out their backpacks at the end of the year it’s like an entire forest sitting on my dining room table! ?

  2. susie liberatore on June 11, 2018 at 8:33 am

    I really need to read through this all again, we need to organize and declutter BAD!

  3. Holly Breton @ Pink Lady on June 11, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Great ideas!

  4. Jen on June 11, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I have my fair share of bins sitting around to hold papers. But I’m loving that portfolio! I never know how to store oversized art projects from school.

  5. The Curious Frugal on June 11, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I love that keepsake portfolio so much!!! It’s adorable!

  6. Julie on June 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    I like the large permanent file that you mention. Right now, I have everything thrown into a plastic tub and that would be a much better solution. I would be able to organize each child’s work into separate folders.

  7. Elizabeth on June 11, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Ahh thanks! Rhood is one of mu projects this week with school out. I have piles in the corner.

  8. Sara on June 11, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I so needed this today! Especially with the end of the school year and papers everywhere!!

  9. Laura | The Yellow Birdhouse on June 11, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    I’ve been staring at a huge stack of school papers and had no idea what to do with them! That huge file might just do the trick!

  10. ShootingStarsMag on June 11, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    I love the idea of taking pictures of artwork – or your child with the artwork – instead of keeping it all. I think that would be a great way to keep the memory! My mom kept some random things of our time in school and I do love looking back every now and then, but you definitely don’t want to get in the habit of keeping ALL THE THINGS. haha


  11. Dara on June 12, 2018 at 8:24 am

    I have a three drawer cube (small) where I store their papers after they bring them home, then I move them to the basement. But the files where I keep them after the year are awful and need to be weeded out!

  12. Caroline on June 12, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Great tips! Having separate folders for each of my kids helps me throughout the school year.

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