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.
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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.
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.
- File folder for each school year. Then you can file in your filing cabinet
- One large storage tote for all of your kid’s school years
- Memory Book or Scrap Book
- Clear lidded file box
- Large Divided File Folder
- Electronic Method: Take a picture or scan all of the papers
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: