From the Backpack to the Box: My Simple System for Not Being Buried Alive By All The Paper

“It is easier to keep up than to catch up.”These lines from a recent Happier podcast caught my attention. Gretchen was discussing the challenge of keeping school papers organized and I had a rare moment: I realized that I had to organize the crafts and essays from school now.  We are only a couple years into our kids journey through school but I had a strong sense that if I did not organize their papers soon it would be one more thing that felt overwhelming to me – a jumbled, frustrating mess that would someday take endless hours to sift through.

While  we have a good system in place for keeping up with bills, my system for organizing school papers we want to keep (like essays and artwork) has been quite lacking. It has consisted of a file in a drawer and a big, long box in storage (with things from specific grades rubber banded together).

I decided to make organizing the school papers my one thing for the day. So recently while shopping I snagged three plastic filing boxes and a couple boxes of hanging file folders. Very simple, basic supplies. IMG_0006.JPGI made labels for all three kids from 3’s preschool through 12th grade while the girls watched Finding Dory and Jackson had a piano lesson. It feels a little ambitious to use such small boxes, but I we can always expand to larger boxes later. For now it is enough that we have a place for All The Papers. IMG_0007.JPG

An hour later I was DONE (that alone felt slightly miraculous).

Only an hour for an investment that will hopefully save countless hours in the future. The biggest deterrent I have to decorating and organizing is feeling like it will take a huge chunk of my already-limited time. But it didn’t and that made me happy.


Everything is now in one place. I was able to weed through Jackson’s preschool crafts and keep only a few that were truly special. So many of my home organization ideas never materialize into action, so I’m happy this one did. It was $24 well spent.

What are your tips for organizing paper? I would love to hear your ideas!

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