Tips & Tricks for Organizing Kids’ Papers & Projects

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Organizing kids papers – whether it’s school papers, projects, or memories – can be a challenge! These tips will help – along with my tips for organizing kids stuff! This post contains affiliate links.

Are you looking for some simple end-of-the-year organization tips? Now is the time to put a plan in place for organizing kids’ papers at home! 

Can you believe that our kids will be back for summer break in just a couple of weeks? It may feel like the school year has just started, but the piles of kids’ crafts and papers are stacking up from the year. All of this paper and memorabilia can feel overwhelming, yet each year, we find ourselves with stacks of fun things our kids did during the year – that they don’t want to let go of. 

As a mom of creative kids, we needed a better system to organize all of those papers and finally put together a plan that works for my kids and me. 

Today, I’m going to share some tips and tricks for organizing kids papers.

What are some general tips for organizing kids papers?

When it comes to artwork and paper organization tips for moms, you can never be too prepared! Before starting to make a plan on how to be organized, just remember that consistency and maintenance will be key.

You can’t start an organization system at home and then not follow through with it – that defeats the entire purpose. 

Having a solid ongoing system in place will allow you to keep things organized, minimizing the need for organizing kids papers again and again.

How can I organize faster – and keep it that way?

My best tip for organizing kids papers or ANY kids stuff? Get the kids on board to help! They can easily be a part of the organization process to help make sure that everything is good to go for the year.

Not only can this help you, but I recommend this for a few more reasons:

  • This is a fabulous skill to teach them – a hands on approach to how to organize.
  • They’ll appreciate the organization if they participated in it as well.
  • Personally, I find that the only way my kids will stay organized is if they helped create the system. That way they really understand how it works.
  • I don’t believe in going through and organizing my kids’ papers – some of which might be personal – without them.

To keep things moving along while organizing kids papers:

  • If they want to look or read something they find, give them a timer of about thirty seconds and then move them along.
  • Allow them to sort things into “look through” in addition to “keep” and “purge.
  • Have organization tools handy and ready to use.
  • Set a limit for your “keep” stash. This can be based on the capacity of organization tools you choose.
  • Differentiate between the “catch all” location for future keep items and the “keep to have” location for things they just can’t let go of (yet).

Have a solid strategy

In a nutshell, having a future strategy that the kids understand will ensure it stays under control. You can do a weekly backpack purge, sorting papers into the above categories that I recommended (look at, keep, purge).

Make sure your kids completely understand it. Like I said, the way I do this is by involving them in the process. If this doesn’t work for you (or even if you do implement it) here are some more tips:

  • Don’t overcomplicate it. Keep categories simple. Some ideas “things I created” and “things I wrote”. “Things I’m proud of” and “Projects I made”. Or just a simple keep binder can do the job too.
  • Label EVERY FREAKING THING. Kids will not just “know” where things go like you do. Include visual labels as well where needed. Have a label maker or Cricut Joy handy when creating.
  • Monitor it. At least for the first few months, stay on top of the process.

Favorite tools for organizing kids’ papers

Here are my top essentials for organizing all of those sentimental goodies you and your kids want to hold on to.

Letter Trays

A great way to organize all of those papers is with a letter tray. You can have one for each child, which makes it easy to organize papers as they come in. Keep this in a central location (such as the family desk) and purge it regularly (such as monthly).

I recommend getting a stackable one to help make it easier and so it will take up less space.

I put any incoming papers that are “Keepers” into this sorter to help make it easier to organize, keeping everything in one place. Tip: photograph everything as it goes onto this sorter so that you have a backup!

Accordion Folders

My kids each have an expandable file folder with their “personal stuff” for these kinds of papers. It’s fun for them and easy to use – and you can get really cute ones!

They take up very little space, and if needed, you can have one for each year, storing them upright like you would books.

Sturdy File Boxes

If you really end up with a lot, you can go for boxes. This is fabulous for those who like to save loads of art projects in addition to paperwork. Use file folders to organize it and place things where they belong as they come in, keeping things from piling up.

This could be art projects they did at school, certificates for things like perfect attendance, and more. Limit each kid’s things to one bin, and at the end of their school journey, they will be able to decide what they want to keep and what to discard.

I recommend going through them during the first few weeks of summer after the school year is done to downsize these bins for long-term storage.

Scrapbook boxes can work fabulously as well, with a lower capacity.

Hanging File Folders

Put some hanging file folders in your file boxes to categorize each type of thing you’re keeping. This could be essays, report cards, etc. If you are trying to keep quantity down, you can use a single file folder per grade to further limit how much of each item you keep. At the end of the year, whittle the whole collection down to the one file folder which goes into a central box.

These folders keep things from getting ruined or buried in the box where no one will find them.


Did I mention that labeling is a must? That goes for storage too, not just for your kids’ systems!

You’ll want to have a good and sturdy label that will stand the test of time. You can print your child’s name, grade (if you have one box for each grade), and anything else you might want to include. This will make organizing your bins easier and is great if you have more than one kid. At a glance, both you and your kids can easily find the bins and add to them whenever they need to.

Got any other tips for organizing kids’ papers? Comment below!

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