Tag Archives: school papers

The Paper Pickle {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

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This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Life. Contained. Want to catch up on the entire series? Click here. Want to stay connected and not miss another post? Follow me on facebook.


Paper. What do you do with it? It is surely the monster that threatens to consume my very existence or at the very least, my sanity.

the paper pickle

As of this year, we have three girls attending a charter school. This equates to piles of school papers. Piles.

What do I do with it all, I ask you? Short of hiring a personal secretary, I stumbled across this concept –keepsake boxes.

We began using them last year and it changed my life.

school paper organization

I went to Office Depot to pick up the very same colorful totes that Toni used for her kiddos. Clearly, I was making the right decision when I saw that they were buy one, get one free. I now had Office Depot backing me up. When you waffle on making decisions like I do, a sale sign seems paramount. It was like pushing the easy button but in the wrong store.

I rounded another corner, and boom. The hanging file folders were also on sale. Of course they were. This mission was corporate-approved, I tell you. Could a project be made any easier (and cheaper) than this? These childhood boxes were meant to be. I could not deny it.

children's paper storage

I grabbed up the colors that I needed in the totes as well as their coordinating folders. (Remember my children are color coded.)

school paper storage

I used my labeler to make the following labels for the files. While I used some of the same folder names as Toni, I did not follow her list exactly. Nor will you, if you should choose to try this organizational method. Obviously though, grades K-12, report cards, birthday cards, artwork, etc. will be necessary for any child. The more extracurricular preferences and interests will be the areas that vary.

  •  Birthday cards
  • Report cards
  • School pictures
  • Artwork
  • Toddler years
  • Kindergarten- Twelfth Grade (one file for each grade)
  • Church (Sunday School, AWANA, VBS, etc.)
  • Academic Awards

storing school papers

And yes, it was a little emotional to print labels such as these. The senior year of high school seems so distant, but then I remind myself, so did fifth grade and yet here we are. The years are like water in my hand, slipping by at a rate that is beyond my control.

I still have several empty files to organize new categories as my children continue to grow and to pursue new interests.

organizing school papers

Their boxes are stored on the top shelves of their bedroom closets for easy access. At the end of each semester, I sort through their school papers and decide which to keep and which to toss.

(A life lesson I’ve learned: Never sort and discard papers during the daytime — and certainly not in their presence. Tears will be sure to follow.)

memory storage for children

(As shown in the pictures, I have two totes that I’ve fully finished creating and labeling files. The blue and green keepsake totes are still being worked on.)

Pink. Purple. Blue. Green. I just need to go grab their orange one for Baby Van. ( By the way, I love being able to share her “name” now. It makes me smile just typing it.)

Orange would be the perfect choice for my October baby — Mama’s little pumpkin.


tip 24

How do you store your children’s handiwork, schoolwork and keepsakes? A designated filing drawer in the family’s filing cabinet? A cardboard box under your bed? Taking the time to sort and organize papers will not only help to better preserve their work, but will also help to reduce the amount of storage used. Tame that monster today.

Thanks for reading.


The Mama Mess {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

Life Contained 2014 button

This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Life. Contained. Want to catch up on the entire series? Click here. Want to stay connected and not miss another post? Follow me on facebook.


We are still hanging out in the kitchen today. We’ve soothed away problems in the medicine cabinet and eased the chaos of packing for the noonday meal. Today is another troublesome zone of mine.

creating a binder for important papers


Appointment reminder cards, field trip information slips, school policies, and everything else under the sun somehow lands on my kitchen counter. The temptation to crudely stack it all together and shove it in a drawer is strong, to save the headache for another day. But tomorrow means another day, another mess. Drawers don’t seem to help with this dilemma, unlike yesterday. All of my drawers seem to have a dark crevice which sucks every piece of significant material into a deep and dark abyss. Never to be found again, without much, MUCH blood, sweat and tears.

So I created something special, a sunny, happy place where my papers live all happily in a row. And it was life-changing.

I call it The Mom Binder.

organizing schedules and school papers

Sure, I like to be all tech savvy and punch pertinent data into my phone and/or other electronic devices. Paperless? I love the thought. Realistically? Sometimes, I still like to be old-fashioned, to see and hold something tangible. And to be honest, sometimes I just like proof that I was indeed correct.

The card clearly stated that my teeth would be cleaned today at 9 am, so here I am.

 You know what I mean. I like reassurances that I didn’t transfer the original details incorrectly. I have been known to do that. I am human. I do make mistakes at times. Knowing all of this about myself, I try to hang on to a limited amount of specific originals.

However, in spite of my best intentions, occasionally I misplace things. It’s that mean ol’ black vacuum in my drawers. It’s not supposed to happen. Mom is supposed to know where everything is, at all times. I battle with this swirling theory every day.

solving paper clutter

Evidently this mess in my hands now. Where did those papers go?

Zip needs her signed field trip permission slip for the pumpkin patch –today. It was last seen floating by the kitchen counter three days ago. Nice, but where was it put? Her tear-stained face pulls at my heart-strings, but I just can’t find it.

Great. Now I have guilt. Visions of my child sitting forlornly in an empty class room fills my mind.

I can feel your empathy through the screen. Whether you are a mom, housewife or simply the sole secretary of your household, you know exactly what I’m talking about it.

This binder has organized this mountain of mess in my life. All papers that come across the kitchen counter and table are properly sorted. Trash, scan and save are now the three choices available at any time.

filing important info

To organize my binder, I grabbed some color dividers from Target’s after school clearance last year as well as some plastic sheet protectors. And since I would be looking at it often, purchasing a pretty storage binder was also at the top of my list. Next came the fun part, the part that made me feel all grown-up and secretarial -putting it all together. Here are the categories I used:

Red- Medical

This is for appointment printouts, cards and/or postcards that we receive, reminding us of the day/time scheduled. It also holds any informative materials that our family may have need of further done the road.

Yellow- Church

Clearly this one is for anything church related. Music ministry, youth group, AWANA -you name it, we need to know about it. I also have each different ministry’s calendar filed in here. Our family board in the kitchen can only hold so many.

Blue, Purple, Green, etc.- Children

Like I stated in yesterday’s post, each child has a color in our family. Bunny is blue, Fuzz is purple- you get the idea, I’m sure. Color coded children makes life easier, for me and for them. Each division in this binder holds that particular child’s school info, extracurricular calendars and church info. I actually need a few more different colored dividers- big family problems. 🙂

This system has saved my life…on more than one occasion. It feels so good to be able to just reach over and slip out the needed papers. No dark hole. No sweat and tears. No sobbing child.

Whew. Papers are organized, Zip gets her pumpkin and Mama feels all grown-up.


the mom binder

Do you have an avalanche of papers to be sorted on your kitchen table or perhaps heaped on a desk? Want to conquer and contain your mess? Regain some valuable surface “square footage” in your home by starting a binder. Keep important papers sorted and filed in a handy binder. This technique helps curb and control clutter in our home.

How about you? What do you do to stay in control of the paper monster? Do you save some papers or are you a paperless family? Do tell. I’d love to hear your method.