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Organizing School Papers - What to Keep and What to Throw Away

by Lisa Hoover
(Bartlett,TN USA)

I have five kids, ages 6 through 23. The two oldest are in college and the 3 youngest are still in grades 1, 7 and 12. I have papers from everywhere! How can I best organize all the college loan paperwork (with ids and passwords) as well as the daily papers that come home from the other three? I don't have a lot of desk/drawer space.

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Mar 07, 2010
Instructional Papers too...
by: Jessica

Don't forget instructional papers handed out in school that the (older) kids may want to hang onto to as reference material, like how to format a bibliography...those ones are handy to save also!

Mar 03, 2010
Get Rid of the Flood of Papers
by: Anonymous

Hi Lisa,

Thank you so much for bringing this organization problem to my attention. I have struggled with organizing school papers myself and I have some awesome solutions.

The first thing that you need to ask yourself is, "Why am I keeping all of this paperwork?" If the answer to the question doesn't make sense, it is time to start tossing unimportant papers and only keeping the papers that matter.

In the end, the only things that will matter will be contained on the child's transcript or in their student record. These are easily accessible from the school that they graduate from.

In my eyes, there are four types of school papers that you need to keep?

  1. Keepsake papers (from your kids' "firsts")

  2. Papers concerning meetings and testing (Special Ed stuff like IEPs, diagnostic testing, etc.)

  3. Papers concerning finances (financial aide papers for your college students)

  4. Papers that will beneficial for your children's portfolio or resume in the future

If you can't identify a solid reason for keeping a specific paper, toss it.

Keepsake papers can be put into a scrapbook to give to your kids when they are grown up. The other papers can be organized in files in the name of the child that they belong to. If you don't have the space for those files, I suggest getting some portable file boxes or organ files to keep them in. You can keep track of the ids and passwords for your college students by writing them on the cover of the applicable file.

If you wish to save papers in order to show your children the progress they have made, keep a few papers at the beginning of the year and a few from the end of the school year.

It might be beneficial for you to read my articles on organizing school paperwork and home office paperwork . They contain specific tips that will be helpful.

I hope this helps!

-The Organizer

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