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Modern Mom – September 2021

We have a simple solution for how to organize kids school papers and memorabilia… set up a k-12 kids’ keepsake bin! Also known as a ‘memory tote’, this organizing idea for sorting and storing kids’ school paperwork will tame the piles of school papers around your home. It also creates a way to store your kids’ memorabilia safely and easily.

If you’re a parent, I don’t have to tell you how overwhelming it can be to manage the massive volume of school papers that enter your home each week. These papers include parent “homework” (e.g., permission slips to sign), reference papers, completed assignments/ tests, homework papers…and the occasional keepsake papers that we set aside because we deem them worthy of saving for the long-term. If you’ve been searching for a system to organize your child’s school memorabilia, I’ve got you covered!


Begin the process by creating a set of guidelines you’ll use each year to decide what to keep
and what to toss. Here’s what I’ve decided are “Keepers” for my family:

    • school photos
    • report cards
    • artwork
    • special papers and interesting writing samples
    • awards and certificates
    • notes from the teacher
    • anything we wish to remember


My system for storing school memorabilia consists of creating a labeled hanging file folder for each school grade and storing papers within these folders. I then store all of the folders in a portable file box.

To set up this system for your home, you’ll need: A portable file box for each child (this 12-gallon Flip Top File Box works great!)
A box of hanging files/tabs

Designate a file folder for each school year (including Pre-K and Kindergarten) using file folder tabs to label each folder (this is where your label maker comes in handy!).

In addition, attach a label to the front of each folder that allows you to record some basic information about the school year. My labels include the calendar years, school name and teacher name for each particular grade.

You can choose to include other (non-school) keepsakes accumulated during the year as well, which is what I’ve chosen to do. For example, my son’s baseball accomplishments, theater playbills, and ticket stubs
are stored in these folders as well. Depending on how selective you are when it comes to keeping art work, you can choose to include a few key pieces of art in these folders as well.

The beauty of this system is that when your children graduate and head out into the world, you can give them their school memorabilia bin as a parting gift! In the meantime, store the bin in your child’s bedroom in an easily accessible location and they’ll enjoy looking through the contents and reminiscing from time to time.

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