Best System for Organizing Your Kids' School Papers

The Challenge With Kids Paperwork

The challenge with kids paperwork
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The amount of paper your children bring home from school on a weekly basis is staggering. There's weekly newsletters, progress reports, graded papers, projects, permission slips and PTA forms.

Do your toss all of your kids paperwork into a pile in the corner and forget about it? Of course this can happen! You're a working mom with little time. You know some of it can be tossed. Some you need for a short period of time and some you can't (or don't want to) throw out.

If you're like most working moms, your system for organizing school papers involves the kitchen table or the kitchen counter, and you can never seem to find what you are looking for when you need it.

If you are fed up take one hour this weekend and get organized. Use this step-by-step solution to organize school papers once and for all.

Tools Needed to Organize School Papers

Get the supplies that you need
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You will need something to put all the paperwork in that you need to keep. Here are some suggestions:

  • A portable filing bin that accommodates hanging files
  • A hanging file for each child
  • 2 additional hanging files
  • 10" x 13" envelopes

Label the Hanging Files

Label each folder with your child's name
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​Use these labels on your hanging file labels:

Take Action/Sign

This folder will be for forms that need to be signed like permission slips that need to be returned, teacher requests, PTA announcements, and flyers about events that need to be added to your calendar.

Short-Term Storage

This file is for forms or information that you don't need to keep forever but will need to refer to at some point in the near future. For example, information on an upcoming field trip that includes a list of what your child is to bring or an upcoming school carnival flyer.

One Label For Each Child's Name

This folder is for each child's special papers, progress reports, test scores, awards, certificates, or programs from school plays or musical events.

Put the Files in Your Portable Filing Bin

Put your files in your box
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Now your files are labeled it's time to put them away. Add the hanging files to the portable filing bin. Keep the bin in a centrally located spot such as the kitchen or home office. The secret to paperwork organization is to have a place to put the paper!

Sort Your Stacks of Paperwork

File the papers away
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Throughout the week, as your child brings you stacks of school papers, simply drop them in the appropriate hanging folder based on the description in Step One. Or have your kids organize their paperwork themselves! Have them take out their homework and hand over the paperwork you need to check out.

How to Review Your Paperwork and Take Action

Weekly review your paperwork and take action
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Review the Take Action/Sign File

Each evening, review the papers in the Take Action/Sign file. Sign all forms and permission slips and put them in your child's backpack. Add any new meetings, concerts or events to your calendar. Once this is done, either file the form in the Short-Term Storage file for future reference or recycle it.

Review the Short-Term Storage File

Review the papers in the Short-Term Storage file on an as-needed basis. On the day of the field trip, you'll know right where to find the flyer with details and instructions. Once the event has come and gone, throw the form away.

Keeping Each Child's File

Anything you want to save long-term goes in each individual child's file.

Organizing Keepsake Papers

How to organize precious keepsake paperwork
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At the end of each semester or school year, take the papers from each child's file that are special to you or your child. Put them in a 10" x 13" envelope with your child's name and school year noted on the front.

Store the envelopes in a drawer or bin. You now have the special papers, awards and certificates for each child organized by school year without any extra work.

Ongoing Maintenance for Organizing School Papers

Keep your paperwork organized going forward
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This is a simple solution for organizing school papers that maintains itself provided you practice daily discipline with the steps outlined in this article. You may find it necessary to periodically replace the hanging files due to wear and tear.

Stick with this system so that paperwork clutter doesn't take over your home again.