I've found several great ideas for how to organize school papers as your kids bring home stuff in their backpack each day, both on the web and in videos, and have shared these tips with you below.
What I found as I did research into all the methods that parents use to keep themselves from drowning in a sea of papers from teachers, old homework and graded test, and permission slips, is to create a system for dealing with these items on a regular basis.
It really doesn't need to be an elaborate system, or even look very beautiful.
Instead, it needs to be tended to regularly, and habitually.
Even better, it is great when you make your kids a partner in this organizing process so it is not completely your responsibility, but instead something you're assisting your kids with (and teaching them organizational skills at the same time).
Of course, I would love to hear your ideas too. If you've got a suggestion or idea that has worked for you, make sure to tell it to me here, and I'll add it to this page, making it hopefully an even better resource for parents dealing with this issue day in and day out during the school year.
Below is a video of a Mom who explains how she organizes her kids' school work, by using folders.
The more I learn about how everyone organizes, the more I see how everyone does it a bit differently, but at the same time, lots of different ways work.
With organization, as in life, there are lots of right ways to do something. I hope that this video gives you some ideas of what might work for your family, for organizing the mountains of paper kids bring home from school.
***Update: A HM101 reader shared a comment about the video. She says:
"OOOOO,....I'm liking that. Might have to try something like that. I have a 5th grader so it will be a late start for him, but my 3rd, kinder and preschooler can benefit!"
Folders Aren't Enough - I Needed A File Portfolio For Each Child's Papers
by Megan Schrade
Megan shared how she has organized and tamed all the paper clutter that was coming into her home in her kids' backpacks each day.
This year my son started 1st grade, daughter started kindergarten, and little daughter started preschool.
Last year I had a folder for my sons papers and one for my daughters preschool papers and found it wasn't enough. I needed something for homework, class lists, forms, teacher correspondence, events etc.
This year I bought 1 expandable file portfolio for each kid and I am loving it!
Each paper has a proper place and is easy to lay my hands on when I need it. Then it can easily be put away so as not to clutter up the joint.
I also check backpacks and clean lunch boxes right as the kids get home. It takes about 20 min.
This gives me a chance to file everything into its proper spot, and gives the kids a chance to unwind a little before beginning homework.
Thanks for sharing your method for organizing your kids' school papers Megan.
It sounds like you've got a great system, and you're right, sometimes having dividers between the pages can be quite helpful, so I like the idea of these file portfolios.
How Do You Organize All The Papers The Kids Come Home From School With?
Here is a question I received from Jen about how to organize papers from school for her two boys.
I have 2 sons, one in 4th grade, the other in 6th grade. I am having trouble organizing two different papers from 2 different schools. Any suggestions?
Jen, it seems like schools send home way too much paper to me, which can get a bit stressful if you don't keep on top of it.
My suggestion is to take a couple of minutes each day, as soon as the kids come home from school, to deal with it. Dealing with 1 or 2 pieces of paper a day is not such a big deal, but dealing with big piles randomly can be stressful, and things can fall through the cracks.
Anything that can be dealt with right away, easily, should be. That could be adding a date to your calendar, that you need to remember. It could also just be signing a field trip form, and paying your money.
If it takes more time to deal with, but you have a little bit of time before the deadline, I always place that stuff with my bills, which I pay once a week. It is my paperwork and desk time, and I make phone calls and other things then, along with bill paying, so you get it done rather quickly but at a time convenient for you.
As for keeping the papers organized, and easy to find, I've written an article on the site about keeping up with the kids' school papers which might help, as well as reading the other suggestions here from readers.
I hope these ideas help you. In addition, if other readers have any other suggestions or ideas I would love to hear them too, to get more ideas for how to organize school papers.
What works well for one person may not work as well for someone else, so lots of perspectives and ideas are always appreciated.
***Update: Jen wrote back, and shared this comment. Jen said:
"Thanks for the suggestions. I guess the hardest thing is, most of the days, the kids are home before me, or I work 3-11. By the time I am ready to deal with them, everyone is in bed, or we are out running. Thanks!" ***End Update 1
***Update 2: Susan shared this quick idea. She says: "Scan them to the computer, put them on a CD, and you will have memories for a life time." ***End Update 2