Children accumulate a lot of papers and stuff, especially school-age children! There are lots of ideas online regarding organizing and storing their papers. After thinking about it (for a few years!) I felt that the best solution would be to keep everything in a plastic file box.
I purchased a set of two file boxes from Sam’s Club last June, but then summer happened and pregnancy nausea happened. But I finally got to work in January!
Each child will have their own box (right now they are sharing because they don’t have a lot of years yet and we are tight on storage space in our current home). Each box has labeled file folders, one for each school year (preschool, first grade, second grade, etc). Into each folder goes anything we deem worthy of saving: class photos, report cards, awards/certificates, favorite samples of writing and artwork, school journals, etc.
Each folder also includes a back to school section: a self-portrait (template here), an annual interview, a photo, and notes from father’s blessings. We always complete this the first week of school, usually at FHE. There are lots of printables available online, but I have linked to the versions we use.
I also made folder labels for activities that my child may be involved in: Activity Girls/Cub Scouts, sports, talents, Young Men/Young Women.
The plan is that each child will have one box of school/paperwork to take with them when they have grown up and settled in their own home. This way the paperwork is manageable, and you can only keep the very best.
It feels good to finally complete a project that I have been meaning to do for years! Now I know exactly where to file any school papers worth saving, and they can be found and looked at again. My children had a good time looking back through their papers and journals as I worked on this project.
It seems that finishing one project often inspires a few more projects. A few things I would still like to do:
-Add a cover sheet for each year. Something that includes the year, school, grade, teachers name, and a photo. There are a few templates online, but I haven’t quite settled on the version I like best.
-Cards and letters that the children receive: I haven’t figured out what to do with these yet. Just throw them away? Keep a folder for them in the box? They are currently all stored in a shoebox size document box, but they are growing out of that space.
-Why stop at boxes just for the children? I would like to go through my husbands multiple boxes from his growing up years and see if it can be compiled into one nice neat box. My growing up stuff is already pretty well organized, but it wouldn’t hurt to take another look.
-Family memory papers: I like this file box idea so much, I want to make a box to store family papers (ticket stubs, certificates, photos, etc). Probably a file folder for each year.
How do you manage paperwork and memorabilia for your family? What do you do with birthday cards? I would love to hear what works for you!