How To Organize Your Childrens’ Schoolwork and Art

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Open photo book with colorful children's schoolwork and art displayed

When your children are little, they create A LOT. They make art at home, they make art at daycare/school, they bring home all sorts of papers from school…more and more papers. It took me a bit, but I now have my process down. I use to let it pile up and just have bins and bins full of unorganized stuff (above). I now have a way to control all of this without having to physically KEEP everything. Who has room for all of that? Want to keep your sanity, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE every single art project and drawing they bring home from daycare and school…but I can’t keep it all. They even bring back 3D artwork and that takes up even more space! 

Follow my step-by-step process on how to control and organize your childrens’ schoolwork and art.

1. Get yourself a good wall storage system

Side by side photos of a wall storage rack. Left is empty and the right is filled with children's schoolwork and art.

This one works GREAT for us. Three kids, 3 slots. There is also a 2 slot version and some other great options like the ones below. There are plenty of options out there just make sure whatever you pick allows for a good amount of papers or you’ll be doing the next step more often because it will fill up faster. 😉

Every day when the kids come home we empty their backpacks and folders and sort through what needs to go back to school and what stays home. It is important to note the “we”. It’s great to have your kids involved in the process to not only give them important organizational skills but to also help clear the clutter from your countertops!

The schoolwork & various art projects etc get put in the front of their slot. At this point I don’t do any sorting, it all gets added.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Every day we add it to the front of their slot. This way as it starts to fill up you aren’t trying to jam it in the back. It also helps you see how much space you have left. 

This next part I do when either: the slots can’t hold anymore papers, I have some extra time (spare time…ha, what’s that?!) or if there’s a holiday break in school. 

2. Sort & Photograph

You’ll need to get piece of poster board. I always pick up mine at my local Dollar Tree. You could use white or black but my preference is white.

Take the first stack out and find a space in your home that has natural light- better yet if it has more than one window. You’ll want to play around and find a spot that won’t give you too many shadows. 

Lay your poster board on the ground and put one of your child’s pieces in the middle. Stand or kneel above it to test it out. I use my iPhone for photos. Phones these days have great cameras. 

Once you find a spot that won’t give shadows over the work you can get started. 

A floor with papers scattered everywhere with a child's art on a white posterboard ready for taking photos.

Whenever I do my little photo session I always start by writing on a piece of paper: “Childs name, and approx dates (Jan – Mar 2023)”. I set that down on my board and take a quick photo of that. That gives me clear idea of when these things were created and since I don’t always do my books right away (end result), this helps me keep track later on. 

Start photographing. I tend to start at the back of the stack to stay in semi chronological order but you don’t have to. Some things it isn’t necessary to take a photo. If I know I don’t want to document it or keep it it goes straight to my trash or recycle pile. Once I have a photo of something I decide whether I keep it or not. For regular school papers I keep a few here and there. Same for artwork/drawings. Remember…less is more. You have a photo – narrow it down and keep your favorites.

Here’s an example of my phone camera role on a photo day.

Screenshot of a phones photo gallery showing photos taken of children's artwork and schoolwork

After I’m done with that stack I take that original piece of paper with the name and dates on it, put a check through it and then snap another photo. Now when I’m scrolling through my many photos on my phone, I know the start and end of that childs work.

3. The fun part (for me at least)…clear the paper clutter!

Now that the stacks are separated I toss the discard pile at ease (knowing that I have taken my photos) & put the “keep” stack in their individual bins.

I have 3 separate plastic file bins with each of their names on front. In each are file folders labeled. They start with a “Birth” folder that contains a lot of their keepsake papers. All of the files after that are by year or grade level. I like to put their school photos for that year in the front of each. 🙂

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For the larger artwork that I want to keep but not display I have 3 storage tubes from IKEA. I don’t think they carry them anymore, but they are like the ones below. Whatever is too big for the file folder gets rolled up and put inside for that child. I’ll write the date on the back of these so I know approx. when they were created.

4. Create books of their masterpieces

Open photo book with colorful children's schoolwork and art displayed

I did say step 3 was fun, but this is way better. Getting everything together to create books of their artwork to be able to physically look at and flip through. The kids love looking through each others books and their own. I do too!

To do this, I use Mixbook. I’ve mentioned in another post that this is how we also do our family yearbooks. It’s SO easy! Watch for another post on my exact process for my books.

If you’re new to Mixbook and use this link you’ll get $25 off!

In the end, the best organization system is what works for you and your family. I hope this gave you a few good tips on how to control and organize your childrens’ schoolwork and art. Good luck!

Need tips on documenting all of the moments and memories when your children are little? Check out this post.

How to organize your childrens' schoolwork and art

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