Kids in school means way too much school paper is coming home. Even in this digital age, there is an ungodly amount of paperwork that goes along with sending kids back to school. And while so many schools are sending home electronic copies of newsletters to save paper, there are still all kinds of forms that need your signature and require a hard copy. There are forms that need your immediate attention, paperwork that you’ll want to hang on to for awhile, and all kinds of flotsam and jetsam from the classroom like report cards, written work and art projects.
Storage & Organization Solutions For School Paper:
A portable filing cabinet works well. It’s a long term solution that keeps school papers handy (and out of sight at the same time.) Each child can have a folder, or you can have a unit for each child, and separate the files by content (report cards/ art projects/ notices from school/ field trip notices etc) In this system, you make a decision to file or discard as each item comes in the house. The downside to this system is that, unless you are really good at judging what to keep or discard, you end up with overstuffed files that still have to be dealt with at the end of the year anyway.
Another easy and popular method is the binder system. This requires a sturdy binder with pockets. You can have one for each child, or separate the binder with tabs. You’ll also need to have a three hole punch handy because most school papers have not been hole punched. Or, you can purchase plastic paper protectors and just slide those school papers into each sleeve. This is handy for little booklets or anything on cardboard, for example. This system works best if you are unsentimental about the arts and crafts that come home and just want somewhere to keep those documents and important papers safely and out of the way.
Tech-savvy families are keen on photographing each masterpiece that comes in the door and, at the end of the year, sending all the images off to an online photo book maker, like shutterfly. You get back an amazing record of your child’s year without all the loose bits and clutter all over the house! The pros to this system are you end up with a tidy and beautiful keepsake, the downside is having to hide the recycling every week as you toss out the treasures our kids want to keep FOREVER.
You can also go with the shelf or bin method, which is how we roll in our house. This system basically means you buy an office mailbox type unit or a fabric bin and just toss the papers in the labelled spot for each kid. The benefit of this system is it requires no front end work and it can last for at least an entire term until you have some spare time to go through it and save only what is necessary in a memory box, file system or scrapbook. And by the time you actually go through the papers, a lot of them seem less critical!
Which leads me to the scrapbook method! This is as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. I do appreciate that there are some pieces of work that I’d like to keep and having a scrapbook is a simple way to look and feel organized. You can order this memory book from Mabel’s Labels! It has year by year opportunities to stuff oversized pockets with those treasures you want to keep and prompts to help you record the things you swore you’d never forget. I keep report cards and school photos in these as well. It’s just easier when it’s all in one place!
If you’d like more ideas on back-to-school organization, come check out my Pinterest pages: