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Home => Organize => Kids' Clutter => How to Declutter Your Children's School Papers
Related Articles: Organizing Kids' Artwork | Organizing School Papers and Artwork

How to Declutter Your Children's School Papers
by Marilyn Bohn

Wouldn’t you love to have the paper contract for your child’s school? You would be rich. Our kids bring home so much paper every day from school and we wonder what should we keep and where do we put it all? Here are wonderful tips from a mother of five who is a professional organizer.

The paper kids bring home is in one of three categories:

1. Paper you must review—permission slips, requests for signatures/money etc.
2. Child’s art work
3. Assignments and homework you will want to look at as this helps you monitor how they are doing in school.

Create a landing place for the paper each child brings home. This can be a basket or stackable desk trays that sit on the desk or are attached to the wall. Label the tray or basket with your child’s name.

Teach/train your child to remove their papers from their back pack and place in their landing basket. With some children you may need to check their back packs to ensure you see everything. When they come home all excited to show you what they did and you look at it, then it can go to their landing place for you to look at later.

Later in the day when you have time to look through everything you can sort through what to keep and what not to keep. This way you won’t miss the important information that you need to act on.


Keep a sampling of their art and school work. Don’t just keep the best—have a nice representative sample of special stuff. (When my girls were in their teens they took out their baby books and were looking through their school papers and I heard them laughing about a grade and giving the reason they got that grade).

Maybe keep their first tries at writing their name from printing up through learning cursive. You could keep things like school play programs, report cards, school photos, writing samples. Ask them to write down a list of their 10 favorite or not so favorite things about the last school year—this also saves the memories.


Make the decision right now not keep everything they bring home: If you keep 3 pieces of paper a week for 12 years that will be about 1,728 pieces of paper.

Get a 11 ½ X 15 envelope with clasp, label it with the child’s name, grade, teacher’s name, and school and whatever fits in this envelope is the amount of paper that you’ll keep. Put it in a plastic or cardboard box and keep it on their closet shelf.

Label the papers you are keeping with your child’s name, the date and grade and teacher.

Clay creations or large science projects—what was the purpose it was made for? If it was for learning why does it need to be kept? Take a photo and put it in their envelope. Let the project stay around for awhile in their room until they are tired of it and then toss it. Clay—encourage them to play with it because what happens to it? It breaks so it will be a natural process to get rid of it. Children are into process, not into the keeping of it—now is the time to teach children to clear clutter which will be a wonderful skill they will use their entire life. By sorting and purging you are helping them to clear clutter before it starts.


Hang strips of felt from a dowel rod for kids to pin their art work to. the Rotate the art work as new comes home. Let children help decide what to keep and what to toss.

Create a mini gallery by stringing a clothes line and using clothes pins (IKEA has metal cables and clips) in a hallway or in their room to display favorite art work. Make sure it is hung where it will not become a safety hazard.

Put artwork on a bulletin board at home or work.


  • Laminate for placemats
  • Make bookmarks by cutting to size and laminating
  • Wrapping paper (put with the wrapping paper, don’t leave it with their papers)
  • Birthday crowns (make a template and let the child cut out the crowns)
  • Send the artwork to grandparents, aunts, uncles other relatives and godparents, when children are older have them write letters on the back of artwork and it becomes stationary.

In all the classes I have taught I have never had an adult say: “I wish my mother would have kept more paper that I brought home from school”—in fact it is just the opposite, they ask why did she keep all this stuff?

I don’t encourage putting drawings and other paper on the fridge as it looks cluttered—but it is up to you.

What a great opportunity you have to teach your children now how to declutter by starting with the reams of paper they bring home from school.

Article Source:

Marilyn is a professional organizer who works with women and seniors in clearing clutter and providing organizing tips. Visit her website for free organizing tips on her blogs, articles and videos.

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