Organizing School Papers and Artwork – Simple Steps to Keep it Under Control

By Paula Constable Platinum Quality Author

Isn’t it great how kids are so creative and always using their imaginations? From the first moment little ones pick up a pencil and scribble on a piece of paper, most parents start collecting and saving all those wonderful masterpieces. Understandably, many parents want to treasure and capture the journey.

But, good intentions can quickly create a great area of stress for many moms and dads. If we kept every piece of artwork and writings our children produced, our homes would quickly become storage spaces. The key is to be selective in what we save and organize it so it can be enjoyed and treasured.

Having a system with limits in place will help you and your child make decisions as the numerous papers and artwork enter your home. Already have years of school papers and artwork stuffed in large totes? Don’t worry! Start from this point forward and then go back later to thin out and organize past memorabilia. Remember, no one system will fit everyone’s needs or preferences. But there are great ideas to get you on your way to help you gain control.
Collect It and Limit It

The first step is to have a system in place to gather and collect the items you want to save – a system that does not include the kitchen counter top. Have a designated spot for your child to drop off completed school papers, artwork, and projects. It’s important that this spot is convenient and easy for your child to use or the papers just won’t get there. It could be a basket, box or folder with their name on it.

Depending on the age of your child, work together to figure out what papers and projects will be kept and/or displayed. Maybe the keepers go on display and the rest is recycled. Typically, younger kids will want to save everything. Consider including a transition time when the kids get home from school so that they can tell you about their work and you are able to give them your attention to look at their latest accomplishments. Or, maybe set up a time after dinner for show and tell.

If you find it hard for you and your child to make a decision right away; that’s okay! Some families may prefer to keep all the items and then go back to pick out the best representatives of the whole year. While other may want to limit the collection to whatever can fit inside a designated container. Just keep in mind that memorabilia can’t be enjoyed if it is just stored away for that day when “the kids might want to look at it some day.” Are you going to be willing to pull out over-stuffed totes?
Organize It and Store It

There are many ways you can organize and store your Children’s papers and artwork so it can be enjoyed and at the same time not take up a lot of space. A three ring binder is great for containing writings and worksheets. Add page protectors so artwork can be stored as well.

However you decide to organize the memorabilia, take time to label the containers with the child’s name, the contents, and the age or school year of the child. That way when you do want to pull something out, you can locate the items without having to search and dig through one big container.

What about the over sized artwork and projects?

Here are some creative ideas to capture the projects without having to take up a lot of space.

•Take a picture of your child with an oversized art project. Keep the picture and toss the project after it has been displayed for set time period. Have your child write a brief description about the project to keep with the photo.

•Photo sharing Websites allow you to use digital picture files of the creations to create gifts such as calendars, magnets, photo books, mouse pads, blankets and cards.

•Scan artwork and reduce the size to manageable color prints to add to a portfolio.

•Use digital pictures for a screen saver on the family computer. That way the artwork can be continued to be displayed.

•Use large sized artwork on paper for gift wrapping.

Be picky about what you save. Do you really need every math and spelling test? And, some of those arts and craft projects just don’t hold up over the years. This is a good opportunity to teach your children that it is OK not to keep everything. Getting your children involved in the process will help them to learn the skills they need to help themselves as they get older.

About the author: Paula Constable, professional organizer and speaker, works with families who want to make their daily lives easier and less stressful through organization. She is the owner of Stuff 2b Organized, LLC and she brings understanding, support and solutions to help calm the busy lives of the families she works with.

To receive her free report, 5 Must-Know Organizing Tips for Busy Moms, and to sign up for her free newsletter, visit
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