storing and organizing school papers

One of the questions that has come up repeatedly over the years that I’ve been involved with memory-keeping is what to do with all the assignments and school papers that kids bring home? Do you keep all their school papers? If not, how do you decide what to keep and what do you do with it?

With the start of the school year I’m sharing my personal system of school paper storage and organization. This storage system may not work for you, but hopefully it inspires some ideas to help tackle all those school papers and get them organized.


So, here’s my basic philosophy. When my oldest kids started school I naturally wanted to save everything. I mean everything. Then over the years, with 5 kids and lots of moving, I decided to adjust my perspective and to start thinking more long term. I asked myself some questions like:

“What do I wish I had from my years in school?”

“What do I wish I had from my parents/grandparents school years?”

“How much is reasonable to pass on to the next generation? How much school work do they need to get a sense of what school was like and what kind of student you were?”

After thinking about those questions, I decided to purchase an accordion folder for each of my kids with (conveniently) 12 tabbed dividers–one for each year of school before they leave home. Periodically during the school year I remind them to be thinking of 3-4 papers they want to save in their school folder before the end of the school year. I encourage them to pick different types of assignments, a sample of their handwriting, and one favorite subject. We also save their final report card and important awards or certificates they receive.

Mine are old Creative Memories folders which are only available (as far as I know) on Ebay, but you can find the same thing at office supply stores. Just be sure they’re good quality and will last for many years to come.

For larger pieces of artwork, I first hang up their favorites on our art wall downstairs (CLICK HERE to see the school work display wall my hubby and I made). Then after their artwork has been on display for a while I photograph it, toss it, and then include the photos on a scrapbook page that includes the entire year’s worth of art. You can catch a couple of older artwork scrapbook pages HERE.

My oldest twin boys are just leaving home, and so far this system has worked really well for us. I have a limited amount of storage space, which helps control what I can save. My kids look forward to picking their favorite papers, and they’ll have something already organized by school year that I can easily hand over to them when they’re settled on their own. It’s a win-win I think!

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