Back to school organizing… and Giveaway!

Forget New Years… back to school is really the time a lot of us parents like to make goals, get on a schedule, and get organized! So, in the spirit of back to school I would like to offer my readers a little Back to School Giveaway!

But before we get to that… I am going to go over some tips for organizing kid’s schoolwork and artwork, an ongoing problem area for many of my clients.

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Close to this time last year, I posted about my tips on Organizing School Paperwork. This post not only discussed what to do with the numerous types of school papers that come through the house but also a long-term storage solution for them. As I created this blog post before a completion of an entire school year I thought it might be valuable for my readers to see what a full year of paperwork organized might look like as well as my new solution for artwork. 

As always, there’s never a perfect one-fits-all solution. While you may like this system and use it, my goal is to just share what has worked for myself in the hopes of inspiring your own organized system that works for you!


At the very end of this summer break {yes, I am a procrastinator} I finally decided to tackle the stack of papers that had accumulated in and around my daughter’s filing school box… {which by the way I did upgrade from a smaller mesh box as planned}.

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Schoolwork… My daughter and I first went through her schoolwork. We had already kept some of her favorite work throughout the year, but I had several spirals that had been sent home at the end of the year to go through as well. I selected several pieces from the beginning, middle and end of year to see the progression of what she had learned. {Tip: Don’t throw out those half-empty spirals, simply tear out the unused notebook paper and use it for homework.}

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As you can see, I double hole-puched all the documents and put them in her Kinder fastener folder similar to these. I chose to organize the folder by putting grades, awards and school programs on the left side, and I put her school photo and schoolwork samples {plus other school year mementos like her daily schedule, letter from her teacher, etc.} on the right. Keeping up this system throughout the years will make for easy retrieval and more fun to look at in the future since it’s streamlined and consistent.

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After filling up her preschool and kinder folders we still have what looks like plenty of room in the file box.

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Artwork… My daughter and I then thoughtfully went through all her saved artwork and picked a handful of must-keeps. Some she appreciated more than I did and vice versa. I just have to share one of my all-time favorite pieces of hers… it nearly brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.

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My current art work storage solution, which consisted of a large document box, wasn’t going to cut it for the long-term and I didn’t want to combine art with schoolwork for practical reasons {odd shapes, could get damaged, couldn’t be enjoyed on daily basis}… so I did a little research online and found a great storage solution by A Thoughtful Place. This blogger purchased plain black porfolio binders to store art in {2 years worth of art work in each}. And each new year began with a picture and a little summary of what her kid likes to draw, etc.

DSC_0051What I like about art portfolios: 1. Different sizes of art can fit into the plastic sleeves, 2. the artwork is protected from damage, and 3. the art can be displayed and be enjoyed throughout the years without it taking up too much space. 4. I also really like the idea of adding notes and pictures, creating more of a simple scrapbook feel {I just personally decided against it since I have plenty of pictures and notes elsewhere}.

When I went to my local Aaron Brother’s store  {with a 40% off one regularly priced item coupon pulled up on my phone} I just couldn’t pull myself to purchase the standard black portfolios though. Don’t get me wrong, they are practical, especially if you have a major artist on your hands; I love practical but I didn’t love the look of them so tried to stick to my rule of “if you don’t love it, don’t buy it”. I much preferred a slightly larger but more decorative album in gold. It is 12″x12″, includes acid-free and archival safe photo pockets, a picture window on the front… and at $16 with tax {with a 40% off coupon} not so bad!

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The album came with 10 pages and I purchased two refill packages {$4.99 each before discount & tax} of 10 more pages each. The 30 pages will accommodate 60 masterpieces over the years, which I feel is sufficient. Time puts our little one’s art in perspective, so something you just have to keep now… you may be able to be let go a couple years from now allowing room for more current artwork.

My {butterfly-loving} daughter helped me slip in her favorite art pieces chronologically from toddlerhood to present…

DSC_0042 Yep… that’s Mommy & Daddy

Then after finding a great place in the gameroom for her portfolio to call home, we sat back and admired our work.

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Hopefully seeing the process through has been helpful and has inspired you in some little way to get your kid’s schoolwork or artwork organized. The earlier you have a system, the better.

Giveaway time!   Enter below through Rafflecopter to win a package of some of my favorite labels! I’ve used the round Kraft labels in so many projects around my own home, including my bathroom, medical binders, and memory box.  Note that only a blog post comment is required, all other entries are optional. Good luck!

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7 responses

  • I’ve been enjoying your blog! I was a year behind you at THS and am glad to “reconnect” . 🙂 Plus, I always appreciate good organizing tips!

  • Love the post! I, too, waited until the end of summer to organize the last two years worth of art and memories for my two kiddos. It was a great feeling to get everything stored away and in tubs so that I’ll only have to deal with current stuff, now! I used your cover sheets and file folders but ended up putting them in big tubs b/c the preschool artwork had so many oversized, laminated pieces that had pictures of the kids, hand prints, etc. that I couldn’t get let go of just yet. I also included a birthday invitation, Santa picture, family Christmas card for each child in their folder for the year. In the future, I want to explore your idea of separating school work from art work.


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