How to Organize School Papers

School papers everywhere?  If your answer is yes, then you’ll like what I have to share today on how to organize school papers.  It was on my priority list a few years back.  It doesn’t matter how much we move towards digital technology, the kids still come home with papers.  After papers.  After papers.  And who am I to criticize as I still use paper for my daily planner.  But the kids’ papers?  It just gets overwhelming.

I am left to decide what do I keep and what do I throw away?  And if I throw it away, I must wait until the wee hours of the night because of the kids see me throwing away a precious art work project – there will be tears and tears and tears.  I lived through that once, and my heart broke.

So, today I want to share with you what I’ve used the last four years.  My oldest is in 1st grade.  It has worked wonderfully for me, and I’ve found it to be something I’m proud to have tackled.


Let me start by saying that I think you should keep some of your kid’s artwork – and projects.  I’ve read organization books that say to let go of the sentimental.  I disagree completely.  My mom kept a file for each of us and because of that we have beautiful reminders of our early years.  As one who also loves genealogy if my ancestors hadn’t kept anything – there would be nothing to discover to feel close to them.  Now, they may have left a little too much as we discovered during our farmhouse renovation – but at least we have the joy of some things – I just didn’t need ALL the things.

So, I say – keep it.  Just don’t keep it all.  Because it is all just too much.


My solution has been a file organizer box like the one here.  They’re inexpensive and you can pick them up at most larger stores.  In the file box I pre-label the grades Preschool through 8th grade.  At the rate I’m going, I’m not sure if it will hold that many grades, but I pre-labeled the files nonetheless.  My oldest had 3 years of preschool and my youngest will have two based on what time of the year they were born, so I made a file for each year.

What do you keep in each file?

It’s really a matter of preference but here’ s a few things that I’ve kept over the years.


All the diplomas have been kept.  I plan to display these one day when they have their graduation party – for high school.


All the artwork that’s creative – or “ahhhh” worthy.  I don’t keep it all because it’s just too much, but if it is unique and special – I keep it.


Special projects also go into the yearly file.  My oldest had a book made for him for his birthday (every kid did) and it’s a special item to keep for years to come.


Less sentimental things also get stored in the files.  For each kid I have labels that go on their lunchbox containers and such.  I only need them in the beginning of the school year, so I file them away in the next year’s file to find.


I also file away for the next year – their “Oh, the Places you’ll go book”.  Each teacher signs it every year and it’s super special to me to fill it each year to give to them in the future.

*I talk about it more in detail here.


I’m already looking back at the last few years and enjoying this book.  No matter how old your child is, it’s never too late to start this tradition.


I also keep the school pictures, grade cards, progress reports and all other miscellaneous things that I want to look back on some day.


This system has worked great for us and I’m thankful to have all their great things organized.  During the move, I kept a small bin that I put everything in so I could add them to their file box once we got settled.  Well, I found the boxes but not their file – so this year is a little thin right now.  But I know it will turn up.

All in all for this system to work, I keep what I want.  I toss what I want – but only in the dead of night.  🙂

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