Organizing schoolwork at home that’s been saved over the years from your kids is a daunting task. Your children’s art projects and school papers are hard to throw away, and you’re having a hard time coming up with an effective way of organizing school papers. Sound familiar?
At the end of the school year, moms everywhere brace themselves for the mountain of art, school papers, and awards that their children will inevitably bring home.
Neat and organized spaces become home to cluttered piles of papers that represent a year’s worth of work to your children that they are not willing to part with.
- Tabbed Sheet Protectors
- Regular Sheet Protectors
- Magazine holder, storage box, or other holder to store artwork
Collect and store children’s art projects
Here are a few examples of some of my kids’ papers that I have kept over the years…
Self portraits made by my kiddos,
cute little doodles…
a letter to Santa that my daughter wrote when she was starting to not believe,
special awards that my kids have received,
memorabilia, like these embossed metallic handprints,
diary entries for important events, like the birth of our son, and much much more.
To temporarily collect and store the art, I use metal magazine holders. I have one labeled for each of my children, and one for my husband and I.
Wondering what school papers to keep?
As my kids bring home work, we decide together if it’s something that we should keep or throw away.
We keep their best work, special awards, my homemade birthday party invitations, letters to Santa and the Easter Bunny (make copies so they’re not suspicious), special cards and letters, etc.
Keep anything that is your child’s best work or is meaningful to them and/or you. When organizing schoolwork at home, it’s also nice to just keep a sample here and there of their work to see the progress they make throughout the year.
Record the date
As the art and memorabilia come in throughout the year, be sure to date them if there isn’t a date on it already. I like to write the date and how old my child is on the back of the paper so it’s not taking away from the art or work. This is an easy way of organizing schoolwork at home.
Label and organize
Label your tabbed sheet protectors. I label mine like this for each child:
- Birth-Preschool (or EAK or Kindergarten)
- Preschool (or EAK)
- 1st Grade
- 2nd Grade
- 3rd Grade
- 4th Grade
- 5th Grade, etc.
These Avery labels are printable, but I just used my trusty label maker to make small labels that I stuck onto each tab. They fit perfectly!
I also used some Avery Martha Stewart sheet protectors I bought at Staples that have pockets that hold 4 photos. Although I keep separate scrapbooks, I like to add the 4 photos behind each divider, so we can remember what each child looked like when they made their art.
Add the art and papers
What if my kids’ art work is too big to fit?
Keep up and enjoy it!
Once the binder is initially created, this school work organizer is very easy to keep up!
Just slide the favorite school papers right into the binder as they comes home, and you’re good to go!
My kids LOVE organizing schoolwork at home and looking through their binders. It’s a great way to point out to your kids how much they have grown and progressed!
I love this kids artwork storage method because it is so easy to keep up and keeps all of the school papers neat and organized chronologically. I love that I can still keep much of our favorite kids’ work without feeling guilty because there are no messy piles!
What do you think? Do you struggle with organizing what and how much of your kids’ work to keep? Is it hard to keep organized? Will you be giving this method a try? Leave a comment and let me know!
Krista @thehappyhousie says
This is a really really amazing way to store and handle all this paperwork. My oldest just started Kindergarten and I have a basket full in his closet right now that started with preschool and just kept going… this summer I will tackle it and set up this system! Thanks for sharing it:)
Laura @ Make Life Lovely says
Thanks so much Krista. I was so frustrated with all my kids papers that I had to come up with something! Now I don’t feel guilty keeping their cute little notes, papers, and art because it’s so organized and it hardly takes up any room. I’m so happy I could help you- good luck this summer! 🙂
Thank you for providing an answer I’ve been looking for YEARS. I have cherished art work and other things that I’ve been trying to figure out how to organize.
But how do I find the time? Can you tell me how you organize your day?? This is the stuff I just love doing and the memories are so important. Thank you.
Laura @ Make Life Lovely says
So glad I could help, Carol. If you just work on this whenever you have a few extra minutes, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get it all organized. Then once you organize all of your current papers, it is really easy to stay on top of it and add any new papers to the sheet protectors and put them straight into the binders. Good luck!
your kids are really good at drawing and that diary message was really sweet:)
Laura @ Make Life Lovely says
Thank you! I love her diary entry, too. She tried to throw away her old journal, which I happily “rescued” out of the trash to save! It was too sweet to throw away.
I love the idea of trimming and placing multiple things on one page! I have so many little scraps of paper and post-its that I treasure and now I have a way to put them together! Thank you!!!!
any solutions for the odd shaped or bigger pieces of art?
it would be good to scan them, bigger pieces of art or just some scrap pieces.
Easier for u to keep them too i guess?
can save the softcopies after scanning too!
That is a great idea. Thank you
Shelby Lopez says
I love this idea! Got my binder and dividers today! Wish I knew about this 5 years ago. My daughter is 6 and its so hard to keep it all….but I try. Good way to keep up with stuff!
Do you glue smaller pieces to paper before placing in the sheet protector? If so, what type of paper do you use? Thanks so much for the wonderful ideas!
Love this! Your awsome!
Aww, thanks Julie!
Melissa C. says
I will definitely be doing this. I have been looking for scrapbooks where I could just put school work/art work but I couldn’t find anything I really liked. This is such a good idea. Thank u for posting this! I had to google “what should I do with my sons school work?” And yours popped up! 🙂 good idea about the magazines too! I have a bunch of those piled under my bed along with my sons schoolwork, waiting to go somewhere. Thanks again!
So glad I could help Melissa! Yes, with four kids, I was accumulating so many papers and art projects that I really wanted to keep, and needed a system to control it all so I didn’t have clutter. This solution has really worked well for us, and I’m still using it and loving it! If you do it as you go, it’s easy to keep things in chronological order too. My kids love looking through their favorite projects and seeing how far they’ve come!
THANK YOU…I am so glad to have found your page! I love the idea of cutting LARGE art-work in half and placing them in 2 page protectors so that they are facing each other when the binder is opened. I am SOLD. I am a huge fan of binders and page protectors for artwork and magazine cutouts…But for the last 2 years, I have been struggling with the large-art work that wouldn’t fit in 8.5 x11, or worse, the 12×12 page. After reading your article, out comes my paper trimmer and I am going on a storage frenzy!
Yep, I like this. So far (my daughter is just 5) Ive been making scrapbooks but there are a number of reasons why this will work better!
So because the artwork is slipped in the sleeve rather than stuck you can indeed write on the back the dates etc , also because they aren’t stuck in you can edit at a later date if you change your mind about something. Its also fine then to display something then put it back in or vice versa and if you find a an item you forgot then you can still grab a new sleeve and add it in. Good ideas there about managing the larger pieces. I wander what you do with 3D items?
A. Birney says
Thank you for sharing these ideas. I am the mother of seven, now grown, children, and my file cabinets are bulging! These tips are just what i need to get organized simply.
I bet they are! Mine were bulging and I have five kids. So glad I could help!