Organizing Kids’ School Papers and Art Projects

If you have school-age children, you are most likely dealing with an ever-growing stack of school papers and artwork. Some of the papers may go straight to the recycle bin but what do you do with the important papers and special artwork you would like to keep? 

Start by Sorting

Before you can start organizing your child’s paperwork and art projects you need to decide what to discard and what to keep. “I keep things that reveal his personality,” says Kara Thomas, mom to a ten-year-old son. Set aside papers that show your child’s writing skills and artwork that you feel is unique to your child’s personality. Discard worksheets or daily papers. Make another stack of papers that have information you need such as calendars, directories, or spelling lists. Try to sort items at least once a week so the paper stack does not get out of control. “Parents may want to feature their child’s artwork by hanging it in frames on the wall. This gives them the opportunity to enjoy it, then change the pictures over time.” says Stephanie Davis, a Certified Professional Organizer. 

Start a Keepsake Box 

A keepsake box is a space for you to save items that mean something to you or your child. Davis, suggests using a file box. “A keepsake box causes you to constantly purge and evaluate what you really want to keep,” says Davis. Some parents may have a file for each grade level but Stephanie suggests sorting items by type, such as artwork, invitations, pictures, projects, and adventures. This will give the file box a more defined purpose and is easier for the parent to maintain. “The keepsake boxes should be stored where they are easy to get to. If it is stored on a closet shelf, it is less likely to be used than if it is stored somewhere that is easily accessed.” 

Create a Family Binder 

As a mom of six, our family has our fair share of paperwork. Creating a family binder for important information has helped me stay organized. Each family member has a tab and their sports calendars, school directories, and medical information are stored there. When I need something in a hurry, I know right where to look. “I encourage families to go digital. They can use one family calendar app so everyone knows what is going on and important papers can be scanned and computerized as well.” says Davis. “I try to be flexible and figure out what works for each family.” 

Go Digital 

Some parents may find it easier to go digital when it comes to storing their child’s artwork and school papers. Joanna Cline, mother of three, says “I use the Artkive app to store my kids’ art. At the end of the year, I will make a photobook of their artwork.” Other apps that help save artwork are DearMuse or Keepy. Many of these apps have family sharing available. 

The main thing to remember is the items we want to keep will develop and change over time. As you add to your keepsake box, you may find that some items don’t seem as important a few years later and it is okay to discard them to make room for the things that you value now. Parents should never feel guilty about not keeping every single paper, painting, and essay. Realistically it’s only important to keep the items that mean the most.

Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer and stay at home mom to six children, including 7-year-old triplets. She loves reading, cooking, and spending time outdoors. With six children in three schools, she is very familiar with the need to organize school papers and art projects.