books and school supplies

How to Handle School Paperwork

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This school year was certainly unconventional. But, nevertheless, you’ve likely picked up a whole desk full of your child’s school paperwork – just like any other year. Where is it now? In the plastic bag it came in? Maybe a backpack? Or, a corner of your child’s room?

Mixed in with the everyday math worksheets, there are likely some treasures worth keeping. But, just how much should be kept? And how and where? Read on for how to handle all the school paperwork and keepsakes.

school paperwork and crayons

1st Step: Make a Keepsake Bin.

I recommend doing this first – before deciding what to keep. Why? Because it will define the space you are willing and able to allocate toward the “keep” pile. Each of my kids has 1 bin and it contains their school keepsakes from Preschool – 12th grade. We have a separate box for each child (without files) to house other special things such as medals, 3-D objects they’ve made, etc. But, this is where the paper goes.

It’s easy to make! Simply get a file box and insert labeled pendaflex files for each year. I make these labels: baby, toddler, preschool, pre-K, Kinder, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th. You could add a couple extra for “Awards” or anything else that’s relevant.

It’s never too late to start a keepsake bin! You can start the folders with whatever grade your child is currently in. Or, make all the labels/folders and take an educated guess as to where any paperwork you’ve kept over the years belongs.

Here is a photo of my daughter’s bin.

file box for school paperwork



2nd Step: Go Through Papers – First Without Your Child

If you involve your child immediately, it’s definitely not the end of the world. But, I find it easier to pare down the pile first. I can identify what is not important or no longer relevant (outdated field trip permission slip)! Your kiddo, faced with the entire pile, may get fatigued, lose attention, or insist that it’s all equally important.

This step should only take a few minutes, and you’ll be left with a manageable amount, moving into step number 3 below.

3rd Step: Go Through Papers – With Your Child

school paperwork

This should be fun! Your child will get a kick out of showing you their pride and joy projects, artwork, or other accomplishments, and you’ll get a deeper glimpse into their school year.

Show your child the folder that will keep all of their treasures, and explain that anything that fits in that folder that is special to them (or you) can be kept. It’s also a good idea to mention during this process that you love to see all of their work, and you can acknowledge their progress from the beginning to the end of the year. But, the ones that are kept are those extra special pieces that they’re the most proud of.

Last Step: Decide Where The Bin Will Be Kept.

Once the folder is filled with the keep items, it’s time to find a home for it. In your child’s room is a good place – in their closet perhaps. Or, in an office or other area of the home that houses paperwork.

That’s it! It’s painless! And, it’s a system that will keep you organized and on top of school paperwork for years to come. It’s also fun for my kids to get their bins out once in awhile and look over years past to reminisce and be reminded of how far they have come. Happy sorting!