The school year has just begun, so let's get a handle on the papers and artwork before they nestle into a nice big pile somewhere in your home! I would like to share not only my favorite storage strategy, but also a regular routine that will keep everything under control throughout the school year!
To keep up with the daily papers, we need to establish a routine that includes a landing spot for everything. Sterilite drawer units are great for this. You can get them in different sizes - smaller ones for letter size paper, or slightly larger ones for scrapbook size paper, whichever works best for your family.
So on a daily basis, it's real simple. Just go through the kids' folders every day like you'd go through the incoming mail. Reminders and info for parents can go straight to mom or dad's desk. Once you look through the artwork and schoolwork, it can go straight into the drawer, one drawer for each child.
Throughout the year
Here is what happens as the schoolwork begins to accumulate. As the year goes on, limit what you keep to what will fit in this drawer. Just weed out anything redundant, or anything that wasn’t really completed during school. This allows you to keep some of the schoolwork, without it getting out of control.
End of the school year
This is when the magic happens! I choose to wait until the end of the year to decide what my daughters and I want to keep from that year. It's much easier to look at everything together and decide on favorites then. At the end of the year, just pull out each child's drawer, and sort everything out. Artwork, handwriting, math, etc. Pick your favorite art projects, and a few worksheets/spelling tests/etc from the beginning and end of the year. You can also include any certificates, special notes from classmates, and their class pictures.
Putting it all together
As I mentioned, there are many ideas for how to store your child's school memories and work. I always loved the pre-made baby books, you know the ones that you just fill in and complete as you go.
They end at age 5, but I wanted something similar for their elementary school days. So I decided to create a memory book using a binder. You can get them in any color and size, and unlike bound memory books, you can rearrange the pages and insert things wherever you want.
What I love about this solution, is that we can get the binder out and look through it any time. It fits right on a bookshelf, and doesn't take up too much space. For any artwork that is oversized (which you usually don't get much of in elementary school since everything comes home in their folder), I have one larger portfolio and everything goes in there with the child's name and date.
So there you have it! A place for everything during the school year, and a beautiful book with the most favorite pieces from the school year.