What do you do with your child’s artwork, awards, and school memorabilia? How about the left over school supplies they bring home at the end of the semester or year? Maybe it clutters up your kitchen, office or dining area for a month. Other times school stuff gets stuffed in a drawer somewhere or ends up getting tossed in the garbage. How do you organize and store your kids school stuff?
Not only is the end of the school year crazy busy with events and activities, I feel like the last couple of weeks of school backpacks come home fully loaded with stuff hanging out of it everyday. And if you don’t have a plan on what to do with it all, it becomes one huge clutter mess. Keep reading for simple ways to organize and store kids school stuff.
How to Organize Kids School Work & Memorabilia
Go Through All School Items & Supplies Brought Home
Before you can organize and store your child’s school items, you need to sort through everything. Likely your child will be bringing home a lot of items in the final days of school. Go through papers, artwork, awards, supplies, trinkets, each item that comes home. One of the most important tasks to close out the school year is to go though each item from school.
Then, put everything together in one area or a large bag and after the final day go through each item. Make sure to go through backpacks, lunch bags, locker items, activity equipment, folders, paperwork, leftover supplies, etc.
Pro Tip: Keep a folder handy all school year to store the current year’s papers and items as they come home. This will keep all school papers and memorabilia together. Then, each quarter go through the folder to clean out stuff you do not want to keep. This keep your folder current and taking up less space. Finally, at the end of the year, add the folder to the items you need to go through.
Make 3 Piles of the Kids School Stuff
After the final day of school, go through each item that you put in that specific area. Try to do this within the first couple days of the school year ending while school is still fresh on the mind. As you sort through items make 3 different piles.
One pile should be of things you will use again or bring back to school next year. Check leftover supplies and reuse items that are in good shape to save money. Put everything in one bag and label it with “school stuff for next year”. Then put them in the basement or a closet, but not too far away as the summer is short. Put a reminder in your phone or on your planner for whenever you normally do your back to school shopping that you have some supplies already.
The second pile should be things you want to keep. Some things you may want to keep long term and put in a scrapbook, photo album, file cabinet, dresser drawer or hang on the wall. Then other items you may want to keep short term and put them up on the fridge, set on your desk or play with for a couple days.
Then the last pile is the trash pile – everything that needs to be junked. This should include broken supplies and items, papers you need to look at once and toss, and things that you don’t really need anymore. If you are not sure if you want to throw something out, think about if you will need it in 3 days, or better yet leave it out for 3 days and if you didn’t even look at it then throw it out.
Pro Tip: You don’t need to keep every piece of artwork, A+ paper, or memento. Pick a few highlights, big things, items that showcase your child, who they were that year, and what they accomplished. When in doubt, save something. However, while you are doing this – go through last year’s saved stuff and see if there is anything you can toss. To save on space and clutter – take pictures of large artwork or awkwardly shaped projects instead of keeping them all.
How to Store Kids Artwork, Awards & Memorabilia
There are lots of options for how to store your kids school stuff. It depends how much storage space you have, how much you want to keep, what you plan on doing with the items, and how much time you want to spend on these projects.
The first option is to keep all your child’s items together in some sort of storage container. There are lots of different types of containers to keep the items depending on what you have. A bin, tote or a box can easily hold your items. My mom use to keep some of my elementary art and awards in a shirt gift box. Although, I would recommend something that is water proof if you are storing the box in a basement, garage or some place where it may be exposed to water, dirt or other elements.
If you want to use a large tote I recommend keeping each grade level separate by a bag or rubber band. Then make sure to label the storage container with its contents including name, grade(s), and what is in it. If you want to easily see what is in the bin at a glance then use a clear bin or tote.
Another option is to use a giant plastic ziplock bag to keep your child’s memorabilia together. I have been storing my son’s artwork, awards and school contents in this kind of bag the past few years. It is large enough to fit those odd shaped art projects or poster boards without taking up a ton of space.
On the other hand, one downside to storing items this way is they are difficult to look through or find something quickly.
The next option is to use a file system to organize and store kids school stuff. This could be a metal file cabinet, a plastic file container, crate or any file storage receptacle. A hanging folder can be added and labeled for each grade level to keep each year’s items separate and organized.
If you do not have hanging file folders regular paper folders can be used to seperate children and grade levels. To easily separate children or elementary, middle and high school years you can use the same color folders.
Again, one downside to using a file system is it can be difficult to look through or find a particular item quickly.
Scrapbook & Photo Album
Lastly, a fun way to store your child’s school items is to make a scrapbook or photo album. This is a nice way to display your kids school work, awards and memories. It is easy to look through and keeps all the items neat and organized.
An simple way to make a scrapbook of school items is to get a binder (1, 2, or 3 inch depending on how much stuff you have) and put page protectors in the binder with the memorabilia. Page protectors work great for papers and pretty well for those bulkier items.
Another way to store your kids artwork, awards & memorabilia is to take pictures of all these items and then make a photo album of them all. A photo album takes up less space and you can “keep” and remember everything you did that school year.
The downside to scrapbooks and photo albums is the time and energy you need to put into creating them. At a busy time of year, this can be a more difficult option and if you don’t create them with in the first few weeks the chance you will do it will be less and less as time goes on.
Final Thoughts on How to Organize and Store Kids School Stuff
Organizing and storing kids school stuff does not have to be a daunting task if you have a plan for what you want to do. Make it a fun “end of the school year” party for your family and do it together to reminisce about the past school year. Taking a few minutes to go through artwork, awards, and memorabilia could save you time, money and energy later on. So avoid the extra clutter and take a few minutes to and organize and store you kids school stuff. You will be glad you did!
Related article: End of the School Year Checklist For Moms