School starts early here for us which means loads and loads of school work, art projects, forms, pics, and more that need to stay organized. I started a system for organizing school papers a few years ago and it’s a game changer. Don’t let it pile up all year and drive you nuts with papers everywhere. You’ll be able to sort through quickly and keep the special memories in order.
I’ll admit, I used to be one of those that tossed all the school papers into a “catch-all” on the counter thinking I would sort through it later. You know what happens – later doesn’t come soon enough and I end up with a mess. With two kids in elementary school, there’s a ton of stuff that comes home. Prized artwork, stories, homework, and more. And let’s face reality. I can’t keep all of it. And even if I did, will they want it all later? My mom kept a few things of ours and it’s plenty. However, I am thankful she kept a few special things to look back on and laugh, cry, or just re-live a fun memory. So I know I want to keep some, but not all. If you’re in the same boat, getting organized now will help!
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Organizing School Papers
Make a Weekly Purge
Do your best to go through those folders/backpacks at least weekly. Even if you don’t get them put away yet, at least sort through them and pick a few keepers. Does anyone really need their homework from every week of 2nd grade? Nope. This might be a project for when the kiddos aren’t around. They are more attached to it because they made it. It’s ok if several of those papers go on to bigger and better things in the recycle bin.
Make Artwork Displays
I buy super inexpensive frames like this and this to use for all those oversized portraits and drawings that come home. The kids can pic their faves and we have a gallery wall for their creations by our garage door. Not everything makes the cut and you can always rotate it out. Or hang a piece of wire or twine in a playroom or bedroom with some clips to let them showcase their faves. The artful parent has some amazing ideas for displaying these precious masterpieces.
Get a Small Binder for Important Papers
Get a small binder from any school supply aisle and a pack of dividers if you have more than one kiddo. Give each child a section and use a hole puncher to keep the classroom rules, teacher info, online login info, club info, and more. When you need to find something, it’s easily accessible. And most of that stuff can be tossed each year and you can start fresh for the next year.
My Favorite!!!! Make A Designated Box for Each Kid
I picked up a few of these file boxes for each of my kiddos. I’d recommend one that can hold hanging letter size file folders as it’ll make it easier to organize. You can customize each year if you want or keep it simple and just write the grades from Preschool to 12th grade on each folder. Keep in mind that you’ll get a ton of stuff in those early preschool years so maybe two folders until around 3rd grade or so. If you want to get a little creative, you can print some cool labels on cardstock and attach to the front of each grade.
Jen from I Heart Organizing has some of the most amazing printables you can use if you want to decorate the folders. They are adorable and once you set up your box, you’ll have it for years!
Decorate their boxes and keep them in an obvious place like a pantry if possible. Or just somewhere accessible and when the papers come home, file what you’re keeping and recycle the rest. If you can make this a goal, you won’t be sitting in a mountain of papers at the end of the year. I even stack the ones I’m keeping on top of the boxes until I have free time to file them away. It doesn’t have to be done every day or even week. You can see what mine look like below – Life savers!
Create Digital Copies
If there’s something special you want to remember, why not make a digital copy? Scan it, or simply take a picture of it and file it away digitally. We use Dropbox for all of our digital storage needs and it’s never failed me. I know I shouldn’t say never, but seriously – we’ve used it for over 10 years and it’s amazing. I keep copies of special pictures I want to include in our yearly family yearbook. And I don’t copy everything to store, but certain things I do. It’s fun to look back on some and you’ll be surprised what memories they bring out in the kiddos!
The biggest hurdle is staying on top of things.
Once you create a few easy systems, you’ll be ready for the year! And you won’t be scrambling at the last-minute looking for an important form. Or better yet, you won’t end up with a massive pile of unorganized chaos at the end of the year! If possible, start early with organizing school papers when the kids are young and it’ll be smooth sailing for years.
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