19 Feb
Posted in: parenting, projects
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Organizing School Papers

We have three children in elementary school and one in preschool.  It was obvious from the first day of elementary school six years ago that organizing school papers would be necessary.

The paperwork that is dumped from folders onto my island counter is overwhelming most days. I dread Mondays when our boys bring home their folders full of papers ranging from the next athletic league signup to weekly pizza deals to lunch menus to class newsletters. Everything in triplicate. Rule number one when you come home, after taking shoes and coats off, is making a stack of your paperwork from your backpack. While they have a snack, I look over the piles deciding what to toss, what needs kept for reference, what needs action by me and what needs to be done by the kids.

Calendars, the monthly school menu and preschool snack calendar are taped on the inside of kitchen cabinet doors for easy reference. Anything requiring a parent signature is done right away and put in backpacks to be returned. I’m more reliable if I sign forms when I get them instead of putting them aside to do later. Paper that doesn’t affect us is tossed or recycled.

Daily school work accordion file system - organizing school papers

The remaining paperwork (newsletters, spelling lists, test schedules, field trip notices, etc.) needed an easily accessible home. My solution was a soft-sided accordion file folder. The one I own has six compartments inside. Each child and the school have a labeled compartment. Informational paper I need to keep is filed in the correct area of the accordion file. I keep the file in a sideboard drawer in our great room. It’s near where we keep the homework supplies without being in the way.

Old school paper storage - organizing school papers

Organizing school papers also meant finding a way to store report cards, awards, certificates and class work. When our oldest two were first in school, I bought cute spiral bound scrapbooks with pages/folders for each grade. I saved so many things the books wouldn’t close and were difficult to store. While wandering the office supply aisle, I discovered the perfect solution for me…file storage boxes.

School work storage box - organizing school papers

Each child has their own box. Inside, hanging folders are labeled from preschool through 5th grade. There’s room for expansion as well. The boxes hold much more than the scrapbooks I was using. I keep anything I feel they’ll like to look back on later. Notes they’ve written me are stored there as well as notes teachers have given them. Science fair ribbons and medals fit in the box. Our first-grader went through speech therapy in preschool, all his paperwork is stored in his box and easily accessible.

School work storage box file system - organizing school papers

I have a small storage area in our basement where I store the boxes until I need them. If you had room in bedroom closets, the boxes could be stored on a shelf in there as well. The key to good organizing is a system that’s easy and quick to use. Do you have a filing system that works for you?

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