52 Weeks: #30 Organizing School Papers

If you are new to 52 Weeks of Organizing, catch up here!

I know we are still in summer but from what I understand in many parts of the US, school begins again in August.  Here we don’t go back until the first of September.  Either way it’s coming soon and if we haven’t got a handle on all the papers that came home at the end of the last school season now is the time to do it so you can start the new season with a fresh organized start.

So tell me, where did all those papers go?  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The journals, report cards, art work, crafts, spelling papers, printing pages, reports, assignments, tests, etc.  I know my kids all came home with quite a stack.  Did they get buried and forgotten in the corner, are they still stuffed in backpacks, or maybe you just didn’t want to deal with it at all and it went straight to the trash.  That’s one way to do it 🙂

So if you aren’t ready to go to that extreme and really would like to keep some of it, let’s get it sorted out shall we?  Notice I said some of it and not all.  It really is impossible to keep it all and here is where we’ll need to get a little selective.

Last week Michelle over at Navigating Domesticity did a post about sorting papers that will definitely help here using a 3 step approach.

1.  Consolidate

Collect it all into one spot so you know exactly what you are dealing with.  Michelle used her dining room table.

credit: navigating domesticity

2.  Sort

Sort it all into piles…keep, toss, recycle.  I also recommend getting the kids involved in this step because you may be surprised at what is important to them and after all who are we keeping these papers for anyway?  I wrote about this in more detail here.

3.  Distribute

This is where you find a home for the stuff you decide to keep.  Here are some posts to help you with this step.

Organizing keepsakes with memory totes and binders

Organizing school papers and kid’s artwork

Using crates for organizing school papers

Please be sure to go on over to Navigating Domesticity as she walks you step by step through her own paper decluttering.  I think you’ll find it helpful, she did a great job.

So are you ready to get started?  Grab a laundry basket or box and get to work!!  I would love to hear how you make out and I’m thinking it’s not going to take as long as you are anticipating it will.  You can do this!!

Questions to ponder:

1.  How is your school paper situation?  Have you put off dealing with it?
2.  Would you like to start the new school year with a clean slate?
3.  Do you have any other back to school organizing dilemmas that I might be able to help you with?


Please feel free to share your organizing journey and encourage one another in the comments. You are also invited to link up to the linky below with any posts related to your 52 weeks of organizing participation or to any post of an organizing nature that you feel will inspire and encourage others in their quest to get organized. Please remember to link back to here though so we can reach out to as many people as possible in need of some inspiration.

One other thing to consider: by including your link below you, you are giving me permission to use parts of your post including pictures as a spotlight in future 52 Weeks of Organizing posts. Proper credit and links will of course be provided. If you are not okay with this please do not link up. Thanks!

Filed under: 52 Weeks of Organizing, Kid Stuff, School Stuff


15 Responses to 52 Weeks: #30 Organizing School Papers

  1. 1
    Gabe says

    We homeschool…. We have six kids (#7 due any time now!)….. Those school papers, projects and art work could easily take over around here. A couple of years ago I realized that though I do need a record of what we have been working on and the progress we have been making I don’t need to save it all (or even much of it). Now each of the kids have a binder. The binder holds work from years past, and through the year they transfer their completed work into it. I’ll go through the binders once a year and clean them out, keeping a good sample of their work, but not keeping too much. Over time I should end up with a nice sample of their work and progress without it getting overwhelming!

    A big plus to this…. My kids know the system and can even transfer their own work into their binders for me! YAY!

  2. 2
    Nony (A Slob Comes Clean) says

    The biggest improvement I made last year was to start pitching almost all of into the trash. Instead of looking for what to throw away, I only looked for what should be saved. Of course, this year I have another kindergartener starting, and so it will be hard again as everything they do is adorable and a big first.

  3. 3
    Tina O says

    I am a less experienced mom. My oldest son is only 6, but with preschool and kindergarden we choose the “keepsakes” together, I scan them or take pictures. And make a picture book (like the ones you can make with Apple, or even the Walmart photo shop). All his memories are kept in a 1/4 inch thick book that can be stored neatly on his bookshelf. It also curbs my itch to scrapbook (with ALOT less clutter!). I’ve done this with all his best artwork since he was 2 and it works great, no big bins full of papers to store. Sadly this is the ONLY thing that I am this organized with, the rest of my house still need help haha.

  4. 4
    Di says

    Hi again. Just wanted. to update you on my progress. I started week 26. And this week I can promise I will never catch up, but I do see improvement. I have been side swiped by life this past week. My dad who has Alzheimer’s lives with us and we had to enroll him in Hospice. He went downhill very fast and unexpectedly.

    My goal this week is to go through several of the totes that I put things in when we were remodeling. I am going to list what I keep and number the totes before taking them out to the garage. First, I plan on toss and donate. But at least everything I choose to keep will findable. (Is that a word.)

    Thanks for the motivation. I put your site on my desktop as a shortcut–very motivting.

  5. 5
    Marsha Seiberling says

    We homeschool. I’m down to just one child left at home, but what I do is keep a box for the entire year. I put in the completed worksheets, notebooks of work from completed texts, workbooks, etc. for that year. These are currently stores in the rafter part of our garage. Probably no real need to keep them.
    I will be doing a post here in a bit. I wouldn’t be posting but since we are cleaning for company with our wedding tomorrow I did complete one of the goals I made for myself when I wanted to do this challenge.

  6. 6
    [email protected] says

    Oh boy, the school paper thing is not pretty around here. Thank you so much for the reminder to deal with it and all of the ideas. I need to put this on my list for this month because starting school behind and not knowing what papers are new or old is just going to be a bigger mess.

  7. 7
    Sarah says

    I need to apply this advice to myself! I saved almost everything from my own school days and the papers take up an entire (double sized) filing drawer. At one point I had gotten rid of all my college papers but then I lost the digital copies when my hard drive crashed (before I knew about backing up) so since then I didn’t get rid of anything else…

  8. 8
    Living the Balanced Life says

    I think one of the key factors here is having a system that works for you, and then working it regularly. Letting it oile up is when it can get to be an issue!
    I am going to go check out Michelle’s post as well!
    I have a swiss cheese brain

  9. 9
    Tracy @ usingtimewisely.com says

    Love to see all those wonderful pictures, paintings, and remembrances from the year. My oldest son is 6, and will be entering 1st grade this fall. During kindergarten, his teacher sent home the bulk of papers after each quarter. I took pictures of the art work and kept a sample of his improved handwriting. My son then looked at the rest of the papers to see if there was anything special included. From the entire year, he kept one item – a paper bat that flies like a paper airplane. The kept paperwork is housed in a folder while the rest has been tossed in the trash. Keeping the paperwork under control throughout the year allows me to remain organized to use my time wisely!

  10. 10
    More Than A Mom says

    Great tips – I can’t wait to implement them. I have a post linking to this one set to go tomorrow if you want to check it out.

  11. 11
    Michelle says

    Thanks for visiting me, everyone! It seems like I’m always fighting the paper piles…


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