Ideas for Organizing Kids' Schoolwork Papers

It doesn’t take long once the new school year starts for parents to feel overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork that kids bring home from school. Try these clever ideas for sorting and organizing so that sanity reigns and missing assignments are no more.

Related To:

Use a system of revolving folders and clipboards to stay on top of all of your family’s school paperwork throughout the year. If you keep it up, by the time summer rolls around, you'll have only the things you want to keep and save.

Filing Kid's Schoolwork in Plastic Boxes

Filing Kid's Schoolwork in Plastic Boxes

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

What You'll Need:

  • file box with space for hanging files
  • file tabs for labeling
  • plain manila and colored folders
  • photos and decorative items to personalize the boxes
  • (3) clipboards with labels
  • wall file holder with labeled tabs

Day by Day

Start by creating the system you’ll use on a daily basis. We like a three clipboard system that separates ‘work to do’, ‘work in progress’ and ‘work complete’. Not only does this help with organizing papers, but it also helps organize your student and gives parents a good way to check up on homework before it is turned in. Hang these in a convenient location where homework is most often done so that organizing daily papers becomes an easy part of the routine.

Week to Week

Create an easy system to move those daily papers to a weekly (or monthly) space so they can be sorted and filed accordingly. Label file folders as ‘art to save’, ‘work to save’ and ‘miscellaneous’ for any catch-all items you may want to keep, such as special notes or awards.

File Folders to Sort Kids Homework

File Folders to Sort Kids Homework

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Weekly Set Up

Hang the weekly file folders in a central location where family members can easily access the system. You don’t need much space; here we used the back of a door to hang the three folders vertically. To make the folder holders, we used leather straps, craft rings and adhesive hooks. To keep it easy, a different color of strap was used for each child.

Make the Cut

At the end of every week, make it a point to have your kids edit their daily paperwork into the weekly folders. Encourage them to decide if something is worth keeping. Recycle or throw away anything that didn't make the grade.

Throwing Away Unwanted Paper

Throwing Away Unwanted Paper

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Annual Review

At the end of the school year, pare down all of that paperwork to only the most special and memorable pieces that you know you’ll want to keep. Start with a clear, lidded plastic file box with an interior lip for hanging file folders. Personalize the outside of the box for each child in your family. We added decorative washi tape to style it up.

Labeling Kids File Box for Schoolwork Papers

Labeling Kids File Box for Schoolwork Papers

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Level Up

Inside the file box, create a folder for each grade level. We suggest a colored folder for every academic year to make it easy to see and separate. Use the front of the grade level folders to display class photos, sports pictures and other mementos that represent that school year.

Attaching Child's Photo on a File Filled With Schoolwork

Attaching Child's Photo on a File Filled With Schoolwork

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Only the Essentials

Inside every school-year folder is where the real magic happens, with corresponding folders for art and schoolwork, plus dedicated spaces for report cards and awards. All those weekly papers that you have been editing along the way can now be neatly filed into the school year box, leaving only the most prized and precious memories.

File Folders of Child's Schoolwork

File Folders of Child's Schoolwork

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza Photography

Tomas Espinoza Photography

Next Up

Why the Design of This Iconic Backpack Is Timeless

The Fjällräven Kånken backpack has remained largely the same since 1978 but only continues to grow in popularity. We asked the brand what makes a design outlast short-lived fads and trends.

How to Make a Reusable First-Day-of-School Sign

Commemorate important milestones in your child's life with these easy-to-make chalkboard back-to-school signs.

How to Turn a Stuffed Toy Animal Into a Lap Desk

Learn how to MacGyver a custom lap desk using a stuffed animal, a cutting board and some elastic hairbands.

25 Back-to-School Organizing Essentials We Love

School will be back in session soon, and we're sharing 25 of our favorite products to help keep your home and life organized so your kids can focus on schoolwork.

Organizing Kids' Closets

Organizing kids' clothing — and keeping it that way — is possible with these 10 closet organizing tips.

How to Turn a Closet Into a Homeschool Workstation

Need a dedicated space for online learning or homeschooling? See how we turned a standard closet into a roomy, well-organized workstation.

How to Make a Fun Backseat Organizer for Kids

Getting ready for a road trip? Keep kids content in the car with this backseat organizer that holds all the basics, plus a whole lot more.

Take the Mess Out of Kids’ Bathrooms With These Clever Organizers

Get your little ones' bathroom in tip-top shape with these must-have products.

Project for Kids: Jarful of Imagination

Create a fun jar to hold knick-knacks and art supplies.

Caring for Board Games

Follow these 8 tips for storing and protecting your favorite pastimes.