Help! I’m Drowning in My Kid’s School Papers!

What to Do With All Those School Papers

Are you buried under a pile of school paper? No one wants to throw out all those aced spelling tests, great report cards, and colorful art pieces, but what’s a clutter averse mom to do?

My son started fifth grade this year. Where does the time go? Just yesterday, he was a baby in my arms. Now he’s a big kid doing big-kid things.

And you know what else that means? From preschool to the present, I have about eight years of school papers socked away in a closet. As this school year finally gets underway, I’m thinking I should do something about this paper tiger before it becomes self-aware and actually attacks me.

Help me, moms. You’re my only hope.

The pile of paper in the closet
This is a partial stash of my son’s school papers. Also, throwback to when we thought 2020 would be “happy.” How naive we were.

Corralling the School Paper Monster

You wouldn’t know it if you took a look at my house right now, but I do tend to throw things away. (My husband is something of a pack rat, but that’s a tale for another day.)

However, parenthood tends to change a person, and hoo boy, have my “throw it away” instincts been challenged. Of course, I want to hold onto all those reminders of my son as a little boy. But honestly, I know I can’t keep everything. Can you imagine the pile of school papers and do-dads I’ll end up with after he graduates from high school? I shudder at the thought.

So I think I need a way to save and curate the best stuff. Something like a representative sample of things he’s done over the years. What does that look like? Maybe samples of his evolving handwriting. Cute drawings. Good grades on tests, awesome report cards, attendance awards. Surely I’ll pick a few of those for the keeper pile.

Child's School Paper
How cute is this? It’s a kindergarten drawing of…something. And he still likes math.

Alternatively, which school papers don’t make the cut? In a word, worksheets. So. Many. Worksheets. Every time they start a new unit, we get worksheets galore. Should I keep a couple of them to show what he’s been learning each year? Or do all the worksheets meet their maker?

Storage Solutions

Let’s say I finished culling the school paper pile (lololol!) and now I need to put it all somewhere. How do I make our collection portable and reviewable? After all, we want to be able to go back in time and look over all these memories in the future.

Fortunately, Professor Google has some ideas.

Pop it in a Binder

The leader in the clubhouse right now is this memory binder idea from It’s Always Autumn. Firstly, I like that one binder can cover multiple years, and that you can save school papers in a browse able way. Plus, she provides some free printables you can use to customize your binder.

Display and Box it Up

If you like filing things away, Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog has a system you might like. She pulls out artwork to display in a gallery of sorts, and places the school papers in a file box. This appeals to the “everything in its place” instinct, and allows you to keep these things with your other important papers.

Assess and File

This post at The Homes I Have Made walks you through an honest assessment of what to keep and what to save. If you’re struggling with that step, she gives you a comprehensive look at how to pare down those school papers. After that, her storage solution consists of another filing system, so here’s another take on that.

Stay Tuned

Do you find any of these ideas helpful? Or do you have another way to organize your kids’ school papers? For now, I’m leaning toward the binder method, so let’s see how that goes. I’ll check back in when I’ve got that paper monster under control.

100 percent
Here’s hoping I get a 100 on this test!
Kathy’s family moved to Tampa when she was 5, and aside from a few years at the University of Florida (Go Gators!), she’s never lived anywhere else. She’s Irish by heritage, Greek by marriage, and mom to one brilliant little boy. She’s an avid sports fan and lived her Disney-geek dream as a member of the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel. A former TV producer and PR pro, Kathy now proudly sports the title of stay-at-home mom. Follow her sports-loving, Disneyfied, Tampa-centric antics on Twitter @kathyk671.