Take Those School Papers and Stuff Them
The last thing you want to tackle is how the endless school papers as you’re struggling to get through the school opening madness, the chaotic evening parent orientations and the looming school calendar. Read on to find out how to get rid of the clutter and organize school papers you truly need.
My son scatters the contents of his Take-Home folder on the dining table faster than a low-flying bird taking care of business over unsuspecting pedestrians.
I need a moment to breathe.
Grudgingly, I make my way over to the source of my frustration (surprisingly, not my son) and take a nervous peek at all of it.
Yes, they’re all still there.
A few papers have fluttered to the floor.
I notice with some relief that some of the papers are old homework – an immediate rim shot into the paper recycling basket.
Never look back, that’s my new declutter rule – one good look and it’s gone forever.
Still, other papers seem to glow with their sense of urgency and self-importance, like your child’s unique passwords and instructions to access school apps and websites.
Isn’t it ironic that when schools go digital, they still need to send home paper instructions on how to use their snazzy new tools? Should you lose those pages though, your To-Do list has a new annoying and tedious task of recovering that stuff.
Of course, let’s not forget, the ultra-important report cards that arrive quarterly, threatening the electronics privileges of many…..or result in a family trip to the local ice cream shop.
A good grade is a treat for all, I say!
Then, you have the sentimental keepsakes like the time they did something in school that was totally in sync with the school’s PR goals and *FLASH* your child and his classmates are in the local newspaper!
Or the awards they receive throughout the year that need a permanent home when summer rolls around.
Where, oh, where to put all these papers?!
Stuff those School Papers
I don’t have a photographic memory and that’s probably for the best – some of my more awkward photos from early days (a college snapshot of me on a hike in the woods with my ex-boyfriend and his new love interest and four other friends who all know the backstory) can remain blurry forever.
Find out more about me here.
I thought about scanning them but I doubt I’d find them quickly when I need them.
Do they go with my old bills in my hanging folders?
Shouldn’t I just leave them around my desk area, silently thanking the ones that are neon-colored?
Finally, I had an idea.
Why don’t we take all these pieces of paper, a mixture of pragmatic and keep-so-you-can-show-your-grandkids, and file them in a neat, sturdy binder?
Maybe like this one?
Ah, you see where I’m going with this. Let’s take another look.
It’s nothing fancy and definitely not my best work.
But this binder idea isn’t meant to be a work of art. It’s the new home for all your kids’ school papers.
Like this plan? Then, here’s what you need to do:
Gather All Your Papers
This is the most important step so make it fun! Put on your headphones and play your favorite music while you scurry around your home, collecting all the heaps of papers you’ve stashed out of desperation.
Take your time and go through all of them, grouping by similar categories.
Here are some ideas for what sections you could set up to organize school papers:
- Anything related to their progress at school (report cards).
- Instructions for accessing school websites (including user names and passwords). You can easily purge these as your child advances.
- Class rosters
- A special note from a classmate or teacher; or perhaps a favorite story your child wrote
- Here’s what I don’t save: homework, test results and school newsletters (unless my child is featured in one).
- Certificates or letters of recognition (use acid-free sheet protectors)
- Flyers for the extracurricular activities or special clubs that they’re involved in (teacher’s contact information, dates they meet and so on).
- Summer camp or winter break registration forms and receipts
- I choose to file my child’s personal savings account statements here. It’s good for them to see how it fluctuates or grows as they get older.
Artwork and school portraits are a whole other category. More on those in future posts.
Organize the New Home for School Papers
Reuse an old binder or buy yourself a pristine new binder. You’ll also need a 3-hole punch, divider inserts and divider tabs.
Feel free to get creative here.
My DIY dividers had been an idea casually tossed to me by my uber-creative friend, Andrea.
She can take the remnants of last Christmas’s gift-wrapping frenzy and present you with an exquisite work of art that she crafted overnight … a one-of-a-kind spiral-bound photo album that you pull out to show off to friends and family.
Check out these cool ideas for DIY binder tabs.
You can also make a cover sheet for each of your kids’ binders or let them design it.
File Them Away Once and For All
Punch each lucky piece of paper, insert into the relevant sections of your binder and kiss chaos goodbye!
You know what’s the best thing about this binder?
If you like, you can keep these papers forever. (Hoarders Anonymous meets every Thursday night, I’ll meet you there by the donut table.)
When the binder fills up, start a new one.
Ultimately, you can hand it off to your child as they graduate high school. Then, be prepared as they politely hand it back to you, crushing your enthusiasm as they politely say in that new grown-up tone, “No, mom, you keep it…it means more to you”.
Smile. Say nothing. Payback is coming in the form of grand kids.
If you just need it for a year, toss the contents over the summertime and start fresh.
Ahhhh! Like lying on the bed on top of warm, freshly laundered clothes you’re too tired to pack away.
Wait, that is a thing, right?
Anyway, you go out there and get a binder to organize school papers and have some fun with it.
And finally, let me hear you cackle with delight as you tackle those dreaded backpack dumps with glee.
Take that, pigeon!
Organize school papers and tell them where they can go!
- 1 2-inch binder (one per child)
- Binder dividers
- Binder inserts
- Binder cover sheet
- Optional: acid-free sheet protectors for articles, photographs etc.
- 3-hole paper punch
- Search all your impromptu filing spots around the house and gather all the school papers you want to keep together.
- Sort your papers into various categories. The broader the categories, the easier it is to maintain, e.g. "Academics", "Awards" etc.
- Punch all papers and insert photos and clippings into sheet protectors (if applicable).
- Make your DIY tabs.
- Assemble the papers in between the dividers and file into binder.
Don't go crazy setting up a binder for each grade - one binder per child for a grade range (K-5, 6-8 or 9-12) should be fine.