If you have young school age children, or older, you know what it is like to have your child come home from school each day with a handful of crafts, art work, papers, quizzes, and homework. The questions that my clients often ask me are, “What do I do with all this and should I keep it all?” My answer is “It is ok not to keep everything and only keep your favorite items. However, if you want to keep a lot of your child’s mementos, I would recommend that you keep their favorite art pieces, crafts, a couple of tests/quizzes and hand written stories from each grade.” Myself, I was not one to keep a lot of the items from each grade. Instead, I focused on keeping a smaller collection of my children’s favorite art work and school work.

Now that you know what to keep, what do you do with them? Often I come across children’s school papers and art work stuffed in boxes, unorganized, and stored in my clients storage rooms or in basements. Rather than keeping them stuffed in a box or container with no order, here are a few fun and easy ways to organize your children’s school work. Each method is practical, organized and easy to store.

The first one is the File Box with Hanging Files method. These boxes are usually found at stationary stores like Staples or big box stores like Walmart.
– Label the outside of the container with your child’s name on it
– Hang several hanging file folders and label each folder kindergarten to grade 12
– You can also add additional files relating to your child if you wish e.g. health records, birthday parties and sports
– Put everything you collected from each grade including class pictures in each file
– Using colour coded hanging files is ideal as it is easier for your brain to remember, find and retrieve when it is chunked into categories
– Keep everything in each file organized e.g. crafts together, stories together, notes together etc.
– I also recommend that you use photo sleeves or sheet protectors to help protect the items. Some items you may want to even laminate
You can view how Destination Domestication completed her file box below:

Image found at Destination Domestication

The second solution I wanted to share is creating a scrapbook. It is a great way to bring out a decorative book and look over your child’s wonderful memories. This method can be more time consuming but can also be very relaxing and you will be organizing your child’s treasures at the same time!

The third idea is using an accordion style portable file. You know the ones that close in the front and have the handle on the top? These are also found at stationary stores like Staples and big box stores like Walmart. Be sure to put your child’s name on the front and label each partition with Kindergarten to grade 12. Add other names to the partitions if needed and keep your items neat and organized in each section. Use the photo sleeves or sheet protectors to help protect the items.

Image found at Delightful Order

The last solution that I want to share is using Decorative Binders.
– If possible, use one large binder per child and include all school years in the one binder
– Decorate binder with your favourite scrapbook paper
– Put your child’s name on the front
– Organize all of your child’s items per year and put it in your binder
– Put a tab per year for easy and quick reference
– Use photo sleeves and sheet protectors to help organize and protect your child’s precious items
You can view how Lisa Woodruff at Organize365 created her albums below:

Image found at Organize365.com

Now, what about the projects or art that are too big to fit in the file folders, scrapbook or binders? Or the ones that have food e.g. macaroni or are really messy and you really do not want to keep? Keeping all those big items would cause a lot of clutter, and for the ones that you really do not want to keep but feel bad not keeping, I suggest that you take a picture with your child next to the item. Having your child in the picture will make it easier to remember and reminisce. Write on the back of the picture the details of the project. Put the picture in with the rest of the school year items and you are good to go.

I would love to hear which method of storing your child’s school work you like best. Also, do you have a different method that you use to keep track of your child’s work and would like to share? If so, leave a comment below. : )

Until next time,

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer, moving specialist and owner of Second Set of Hands.