Organizing kids’ school papers and supplies can be daunting, but once you create a system it becomes easy and you just have to maintain it. Here, I share the system I came up with to organize our kids’ school papers and supplies and minimize the clutter in our home.
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My oldest son, Samuel, started going to daycare pretty early since I had to work out of the house. By the time he was 20 months old (from what I can remember), he brought home his first artwork. It was a printed apple roughly colored in yellow.
I got super emotional! I was not expecting any school papers anytime soon.
But that first one came (I just had to keep it). And many others made their way home after that. I didn’t think much of them and didn’t think I had to come up with a way to organize them. I simply started putting them in a drawer we had in the kitchen.
But as you can tell, that drawer got full pretty quickly and it became a hot mess. We moved houses and started putting them on a shelf inside our living room closet.
With no smart system, it became a huge mess again.
You need a system to organize your kids’ school papers
My closet was getting extremely cluttered! Not only with the papers, but also with school and art supplies. As if that wasn’t enough, the papers and supplies were also all over the house. Clutter was taking over our lives. Ok, I might be exaggerating a little, but it was starting to get out of control.
At that point, I realized I needed a designated space to organize everything school related. I also needed a system, because the throwing-one-on-top-of-each-other system was no longer working!
I didn’t want my kids to have free access to them though because I knew they would end up tearing the papers or grabbing a marker and decorating our wall (that’s a BIG no no).
So I thought about what could be a good spot to store them in a way that the kids had no access if I didn’t want them to. Or that we could all have easy access when we needed to work on a project or just color together.
That’s when it hit me! When we downsized, moving from a 3 bedroom house with an office to a 2 bedroom apartment home with no office, we used our office cabinet to store random things in our garage. It was just there serving no relevant purpose at all.
So I brought it back inside the home and used it to organize the kids’ school papers and supplies. What’s great about it is that our cabinet has lockable doors. Aha!
Let me make this very clear… The reason why I don’t want my kids to have free access to it is that they’re 1 and 3 years old. Meaning they would color the whole house if they could put their hands on those crayons and markers without any supervision. I don’t keep their things from them, but this way they have to ask me first and can only use them when I’m aware and supervising them.
How to organize your kids’ school papers and supplies
#1. Find the right spot
The first thing I did was to find that cabinet we had (with lockable doors) so we could repurpose it to hold our kids’ school papers and supplies.
Is there a closet in your home or any piece of furniture that you could use for this purpose? It helps a lot when you find the right spot for the job. A space that will fit every piece of school memorabilia and supplies in a practical way.
#2. Decide what’s going to go inside the cabinet/closet
In our case, as I’ve said before, my kids are 1 and 3 years old still so I basically put all their school (or daycare, in Daniel’s case) papers and supplies, and I also put items I don’t want them to access at all times.
There are paper books, which Daniel has ripped many many times before they were protected by locks. There’s play dough, stickers, crayons, markers, coloring books, paper activities, cutters, scissors, glue, tape, small toys (that my youngest son could choke on), and of course, the school papers and special projects!
In the top left corner of the cabinet, I have paper books, coloring books, kids’ Bibles, and the Animal Trackers Club case. Those are books that I don’t want Daniel (my 1 year old) to play with yet because he always tears the pages. The Animal Trackers Club case, I keep in there because it holds supplies for projects and activities that also wouldn’t be appropriate for his age.
In the top right, I put one large basket that holds all random large items we use for projects, such as a mat to cover the floor/carpet, plastic aprons for painting activities, plastic containers, tape, etc. And I also put a smaller basket with a handle that holds all the boys’ crayons.
In the bottom left side of the cabinet, I organized coloring papers and paper activities in a large basket. Under the basket, there are oversized paper activities. To hold small craft supplies and tools, I repurposed an acrylic makeup organizer (like this one) that I already owned. In the red/clear plastic bag, there are play dough jars and toys.
Before I repurposed this acrylic makeup organizer to hold small tools and supplies, I just had a big pile of stuff I couldn’t find inside a large basket. In the organizer, there are cutters, scissors, stickers, glue, tapes, ribbons, and more. And the best part is they all look neat and tidy.
Finally, on the lower right side of the cabinet, there is another small basket with a handle with coloring pencils and paint. There’s also another large basket that holds a green case with small toys and several individual folders with their school papers and special projects.
This case is perfect for Sam’s small toys. It keeps them organized and it prevents us from losing them.
#3. Create a system
I didn’t want an accordion folder because it was just way too many papers to fit in each divided space. The envelope folders I picked to hold each school year are quite large and have enough space for a lot of papers. They also expand, allowing you to fit more papers than you think. Here are some similar folders.
Each individual envelope folder is labeled with the grade (or classroom) they were in at the time. One of them is exclusively for the special cards (cards they write for mommy and daddy on special dates and holidays). I love that you can see through the folders, having an idea of what’s inside each of them.
Having a plan will make organizing your kids’ school papers and supplies a lot easier
Ever since we did this, it became a lot easier to sort their papers out because now they all have a place to go. The sooner we sort them out and add them to the folders, the easier it is to do it and to add them to the correct folder!
I wish I had done this earlier, but I’m glad we did it before kindergarten comes. I know a lot will change until then and the number of papers they bring home will increase.
I will certainly need to become more selective about what we keep and what we throw away because for now, I’ve been keeping almost every scribble. I also know probably half of this cabinet will be occupied only by folders and papers.
We’ll have to adjust as we go. According to our needs.
I hope this post has at least inspired you and given you options on how to get organized with your kids’ school papers.
If you were completely lost before reading this, no problem! It’s exactly where I was before deciding to make this change! Now you have an idea of where to get started.
I’d love to hear in the comment section how you organize your kids’ school papers or if you have plans to make a change in the way you do it!