The school year ended and both my kids came home with LOADS of paperwork and artwork from the past year. My 5 year old brought home STACKS of paper, folders and artwork! Luckily I was able to go through everything and put away keepsake items in less than 15 minutes with my fail-proof system! If you have ever wondered how to organize school artwork and projects, then keep reading!
When my daughter started preschool, I purchased this Over-sized Accordion Style Art Folder for any of her artwork that was worthy of keeping. At that age they mostly have scribble-scrabble artwork – I’ll let you decide what you think is worth keeping but I recommend keeping only a few “BEST OF” items.
You don’t want this folder to become overflowing with paper in the future and if it does, I recommend going through items to see if there is anything to discard or scan to an electronic copy. Be sure to print my free labels below and add the school year to each tab! Tip – use Avery 5160 labels when printing!
The art folder is AWESOME because it’s slim enough to fit anywhere (we keep one in each of our kid’s bedroom closets) and large enough to fit those over-sized art pieces that they bring home. If you have young(er) children at home and don’t have a way to organize artwork, you need one of these asap!
Here is everything you need to create this system:
- Over-sized Accordion Style Art Folder (and a cute pic of your child for the front)
- File Box
- Hanging files
- Manila Folders (optional)
- Labels (use the free printable PDF below)
- Lamanating kit or Plastic Sheet Protectors
- Packing Tape
- My Free Printable (Below)
- Download our free printable below and write your child’s name, school year on the front of the box.
- Place the name page inside a sheet protector or laminate it.
- Use packing tape to attach to the front of the box.
- The kids can decorate their boxes with their name and stickers to make it fun.
- Label each hanging file with school grades (you can print/write on the labels that come with the hanging files or download our free labels, print on Avery 5160 sticker labels and attach to manila folders)
- Again – try to only keep a few of the “BEST OF” items. You can always scan/take pictures of items, save in a cloud account (like Google Photos) or make a keepsake book – I personally like to keep a few favorite hard copies and recycle the rest (don’t worry, it does not make you a bad parent for tossing a few of their school papers. Could you imagine if your parents kept your paperwork from age 5-18?).
It literally takes me 15 minutes to go through everything (with each kid) and they help me decide what to keep or discard. I make sure they know we can’t keep everything and I let them decide what to keep.
This process encourages them to let go of things and teaches the importance of simplifying at a young age!
My secret for consistently keeping the artwork and school papers organized is to do this process every 3 months. We have a basket in our mudroom where I place all the papers and projects that come home until the basket starts to get full (usually around 2-3 months). Then my daughter and I sit down and sort through everything and I let her decide what to keep. If her art folder starts to get full, I ask her to sort through everything in her folder and eliminate some items if possible.
The free printable includes school year labels with pink, purple and blue “school days” name page for the file box.
I’ve seen several blogs feature the file box idea but I’m pretty sure the idea stemmed from a Bowl Full of Lemons, which she also created folders for extracurricular activities like dance, soccer, etc.
The Art Folder also makes a great gift for a child’s birthday – we gave one to our neighbor a few years ago for their daughter’s birthday and it was just what they needed to get that school paperwork under control! This system will organize and store your child’s precious school memories for years to come!
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