As your child starts another school year (or is starting for the first time), you may find that you have a stack of artwork, projects, school portraits and report cards. These may be tossed into a box or bag because you aren’t sure what to do with them. As a parent, you want to keep many items for your kids to have when they grow up. I still have items from kindergarten that I share with my kids. They find it hilarious to see that mom couldn’t write very well either!
Organizing these papers will save your sanity and help you find the item you want, when you need it. Not only that, but you won’t end up looking at a paper your child wrote and end up wondering — how old was he when he wrote that? You might see that handprint and think, was she 5 or 6 when she made that in school? I’ve got a simply way for you to keep those cherished items AND help organize them. The best part of all is that you only have to do your filing ONE time a year!
With three kids, I had to find a simple way to do this. I started out by purchasing storage tubs. I found some which had a way to hang files inside of them.
I found mine at OfficeMax and they were around $15 each. I loved the winged lid because it was easy to open and had the ability for me to put hanging folder inside of it. You can find them at many stores, however, make sure that you find some which will allow you to hang folders inside of it.
I then picked up hanging folders. I opted for box bottom folders, so that they could expand wide enough to hold all of the items I needed to store. These were a little more expensive, but knowing I could use one for each year and they would hold all of my items, it was worth it to me. Here is what a bottom box folder looks like:
I took the tabs and wrote each school year on them – starting with Preschool. I didn’t go higher than 6th grade, as I was not sure if years after that time would fit into this same box or not. I can add additional years later on.
As you can see in the photo below, I have mine created from Preschool up through 6th grade for my kids. I then filed the paperwork for each year into each folder. I didn’t have to cut anything. I didn’t have to put it into a scrapbook. I literally just placed each item into the appropriate year for each child.
So, what should you save? Here are some the things I have filed in each of my children’s folders:
- Report cards (I save ONLY the final one of the year and file it away and don’t keep the one for each quarter)
- School photos (includes class picture and those given to them by friends)
- Funny stories
- Up to 3 pieces of artwork per year (I take photos of the others I want to keep and just retain digital files)
- Desk Tags
- Other items which show my children’s personality at that age
As I mentioned, I only file once per year. I have a large box which I set on top of these in my basement. All year long, I just toss in the items I may want to save into the box for all of my kids. Once the final report card of the year is issued, I print it out (they email them to us) and that is my cue to do my filing. I go through the box of papers and open each child’s storage box. I file the items I need to save and toss those things we don’t need to keep. It takes me no more than 30 minutes to do this for all 3 of my kids!
I place a paper inside the box with each child’s name and school years listed. They go into my basement and I have no worries of water damage (since the tubs are plastic) and I can get to them quickly should the need arise!
There you have it! A quick and easy way to get those papers filed away and off of your kitchen counter, desk or wherever they happened to lie.