Purge and Organize Kids Paperwork in 6 Steps

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THERE’S PAPER EVERYWHERE!!! Oh my gosh, how many piles and stacks of paper do you have that are creating absolute chaos in your life? For a short amount of time, I had control of it but that was blown out of the water in a hot second.

pile of kids artwork

Yep, that’s how my son’s schoolwork looks. What started out as a neat filing system near the door turned into a hot mess that I just threw into a box hoping to do something with. I didn’t want to lose anything so it’s all inside from August – January. My first organizational idea was something I saw on a “perfect” site. I call it that because it’s just not realistic. I wanted to have all the cute little cubbies and a filing system near my door but then life happened. My son bumped it, I needed more counter space to function in our kitchen and, really, things just got full.

On to the next idea.

Keep it simple.

Steps to Purging Paperwork:

  1. See What You Have

  2. Take Notes

  3. Decide How to Store It or Display It

  4. Create A System

  5. Maintenance

  6. Follow-Up

Before you even get started, set a time limit. If you know how much time you plan to spend on it, you’ll feel more in control and will get through it more quickly.

kids paperwork in piles

Download Kids' Schoolwork Pile Titles

1. Prep & See What You Have

  • Find an open space that won’t be interrupted while you work on your project. (I know, the chances of winning the lottery are better).
  • Gather all the paperwork, homework, artwork, notes from school and any additional school-type papers into your open space.
  • Sit down on the floor and start making piles. Each pile should signify an action. See image above and download printable if you want something quick.
  • Sort everything no matter what it is. Create a new pile if you’d like. Each piece of paper should be living in a stack by the time your’e complete.

2. Take Notes

Whether you do this during your sorting process or go through afterwards, make little notes on each significant piece. Maybe it’s the first piece of art your son brought home or a certificate your daughter won for doing something silly. What was it that she did? With life as nutty as it is, we tend to forget the little things. These are the most important when we’re looking back.

kids paperwork filed

3. Decide How To Store It or Display It

There are a lot of great ideas for storing paperwork and/or artwork. We’ve found some extremely quick, cheap and easy ideas.

We filed my son’s paperwork in a simple snap-together bin from the office supply store. All we added was hanging file folders.

Brooke at the Design Stash created a Yearbook Binder. Um…how genius is this?!?! Tuck everything inside however it makes sense to you and decorate with your kids artwork.

school paperwork yearbook binder

Before filing things away, you may want to put that adorable artwork on display.

Andrea at Life.Love.Larson is genius! How about tension rods with curtain rings that have clips? We’ve seen this a variety of ways but none as great as seen on Life.Love.Larson.

kids artwork display on life.love.larson

Feeling a little Pinterest-y? Grab old picture frames, glue clothespins or clips to the top and spray paint them to make the frames pop.

bright frames artwork display

via Pinterest

Or fill one frame with up to FIFTY pieces of art!

child artwork frame

4. Create a System

So you don’t have to go through this process every six months, decide what works best for you to stay organized. Inform the rest of the family and get started. Our system works best when my son brings his backpack in the house, empties the papers on to the counter and I sort into open filing shelves. That’s the quick way. If I have a free minute (literally 60 seconds), I’ll run it upstairs and immediately put it in the corresponding file or recycle it.

5. Maintenance

Life gets in the way. Always. Be sure to circle back around if you see your pile start to grow. System or not, we tend to prioritize differently throughout the year and, all of a sudden, this paperwork isn’t at the top of our list like it is now.

6. Follow-Up

You know that stack of papers you labeled “Still Thinking/Unsure”? It’s time to see if you still feel this way. The end of the school year is a good time to do this follow-up process. After you have finished this final step, store the paperwork away.

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Tawsha Connell
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