Monday, November 29, 2010

279 School Paperwork Storage

Each and every day when my little ones hop off of the bus and come running in through the front door, they take off all their gear and give their mama some major hugs!  That's my favorite part.  And then they take out piles and piles of paperwork.  Piles.  And more piles.  It's like crazy amounts of papers each and every day.

Tackling these piles can quickly get overwhelming, since it seems never ending.  And if they don't get dealt with, the piles can create mass chaos.... I know, I have been there!

We typically go through all of their work, and file all the necessities in their personal bins.


This is always our "go to" place for all things related to the kid's schooling and activities.  However, to ensure the bin doesn't overflow with all the papers I can't part with, I had created this binder system to house all my favs.


I actually pre-made three binders that matched for all of my boys, even though Parker hadn't even started school yet.  Because I wanted them all to match.  And this crazy girl thought that she could get ALL of their elementary paperwork into one binder....

I tend to hold on to all their important tests, report cards, paperwork showing milestones being made, etc... and it ended up being more than I originally planned for.  And that's ok.  It is always one of my favorite ways to go down memory lane with the little ones... they really get a kick out of looking at their older papers as well.  So instead of pairing down even more, which tends to be my first reaction, I decided I needed a new storage approach.  One that will be manageable as they continue to learn and grow, yet is easy to maintain.

So I snagged three file boxes.  You can get them anywhere, office supply stores, Target and Walmart, Amazon...  They come in so many shapes and sizes and colors!


The goal was to place thirteen hanging files into each file box.  One file for each grade, Kindergarten through Twelfth.

Enter these labels {notice they look slightly different from my photos due to a recent formatting update to accommodate more users}:

{click here to download your FREE Microsoft WORD copy - Avery Address Labels 5160}

{click here to download your FREE Microsoft WORD copy - Avery File Labels 5366}

You can download them for free!  I just printed the labels out on standard address labels and popped them on each of the fourteen {times three boys} file folders.


The next goal was to add a little coversheet to each folder, giving a quick explanation of the contents and showcasing a fantastic school portrait of my little guy, for each current year.

Click Here to Download this School Paperwork Coversheet

You can download your own copy of these also!  Do you feel the love?


I just printed out a copy onto cardstock for each folder, for each year and popped them inside.  Doing this ahead of time will ensure a consistent look for all years down the line, and make it easier to keep up as the years come and go.

Then, just using a glue stick, I glued the year's school photo to each sheet, and filled out all the year's information in the blanks, which ended up making a perfect coversheet for each folder!


And although the file box looks like it is all filled up....

     

There is definitely plenty of room to grow!  Which is exactly what this proud mama needed!


I just pop the cover on and stow away on a nearby shelf.  Making this a really easy system to maintain.  Oh imagine the giddiness!!

School paperwork is always a hot topic that I have gotten oodles of emails about, so if there are any other storage ideas or solutions that are working well for you, we would all heart to know!


I apologize, however, at this time labels do not seem to be compatible with Mac computers.  I am looking into getting a set created that are Mac friendly.  Thank you!

279 comments:

  1. I love it! And the colors are appropriate for girl or boy, which makes it really nice. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. OMG! I love this!! I started scanning the papers into my computer and each child has a folder on there - but I love this so much I may change over!

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  3. this is a great idea! my girl isn't in school yet, but I'll be keeping this in my inspiration folder till then!

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  4. You're going to make having kids so ridiculously easy on me... all these tips are getting tucked away for my future ankle biters (as the hubs so dearly calls them) haha! <3 it!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn L @ Peas & Crayons

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  5. Great system. What do you do with the oversized art projects that you want to keep?

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    1. Yes! What do you do with the oversized projects?

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    2. Hi Friends!

      I just use a couple of inexpensive large paper boxes found at Ikea. One for each boy. I have to be fairly selective about what we keep. Most items go on display and get photographed and recycled. The best of the best gets to stay in their individual boxes.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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    3. Pizza boxes! We have a paper store where we can buy them but check your favorite pizzaria. I like the blank ones because we like to decorate the lids. Each summer we sort through the stack of oversize items and edit until we have the right amount to fit in the box. Then each kid decorates the lid. We also include their school pictures. We label the top and "spine" and stack them on a shelf in the basement

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    4. Where did you get the blue file box. I like it so much more than the regular file boxes for moving.

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  6. I SO needed this!!! Now... do you keep cards, invitations, etc???? I have a big box of this random stuff and no idea what to do with it. You always have the best ideas, so PLEASE share if you have a solution for this one, too.

    I LOVE your blog! Thanks for inspiring me to amp up the organizing.

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  7. jen@odbt,

    For artwork, I currently let the kid's display it in their room: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/03/march-featured-space-kids-where-art.html

    Then I either keep it in a bin in our storage room or take a photo of it and say goodbye. I am also looking into getting post bound books for each boy to display artwork within.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  8. You seriously rock with your badass organization skills. :)My mom could have used this post about 20 years ago! I think she's still got papers in drawers somewhere.

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  9. rhonda,

    I actually keep all photo invitations and holiday cards in a special photo box. Above and beyond those, I only keep ones that I plan to use for scrapbooking, and those remain within my scrapbook storage box. I also have a special photo box that I keep cards between the hubs and I stored in, that lives in his nightstand drawer. Above and beyond that, I don't keep many cards unless they have true special meaning or words that I want to remember and cherish forever. I would recommend using photo boxes, creating photo albums or scanning them in and recycling them.

    Hope that helps some!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  10. I LOVE this! Thanks so much for sharing the templates. I currently have 3 binders filled up with Chloe's artwork and she is only 4.5. I have thrown away so much too....

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    1. I recommend taking a photo of your child holding the artwork and dating the back of it with prevalent info. That way you have a lasting memory of the artwork and your child at the time she made it. Of course if there is something you really want to keep then you can store it in your file, but a lot of "cutsie" art can just be saved in a photo... and if you have your child holding it I think it really adds to the impact of her art.

      I'm not sure if this would interest anyone else... but if you like to keep blogs, you can upload the photos along with a paragraph or two of details as a living testament of your child. I keep mine private so no one else can see it unless I feel like sharing. You could do the same thing as a Word journal and just keep it on a disk.

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    2. I forgot to mention... if your child is in school/preschool etc. you can take the photos when you pick her up. I sometimes like the classroom background along with her friends. For my little ones... i often point to aspects of the picture and have them verbalize to me what they have drawn so that I can include it in my art description (I may think I'm looking at something totally different than what she drew or made).

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  11. Cute idea! Wish I had this when I was growing up! :)

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  12. This is such a gret idea... I love it. I have 3 kids and school papers are all over the place. Now I'm out to get some pretty folders and file boxes... Thanks so much.

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  13. This is a great idea! I have 4 kids, and I REALLY needed a system like this! Can't wait to get started! Thanks for the free downloads. I heart your blog!!!!!!!

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  14. This is a great idea! I might make some as gifts for my friends who have kids. :)

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  15. Love this post! I am going to buy some file boxes asap. I have been using a draw from our huge ugly main file cabinet, but i love this idea so much better! And you are awesome for free downloads! Thanks again.

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  16. Great idea! I do pare down a lot and just keep favorite artwork and special papers/tests in flat portfolio boxes. I do a similar thing to your cover sheet in their school scrapbooks but I let them write the info in themselves, it's a great memory of their handwriting at the time, they also add their friend's names and favorite subjects.

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  17. Great minds think alike! I use this system and blogged about it a few months ago and "I'm an Organizing Junkie" picked it up and featured it as part of her 'link love'. But I LOVE your labels! I think I will be printing them off!
    Angie xo

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  18. Oh this is SUCH a great idea : ) My oldest is starting Kindy next year and I was wondering what I was going to do with the paperwork once the binder was full as I am using the same binder system : ) Thanks so much for sharing

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  19. what is that bin or thing on the wall? where did you get it and how many bins does it have? thanks for the post!

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  20. great idea. i currently have a binder for my kindergartner and it's getting full quickly. i did one for her preschool and placed everything in clear sleeves and it worked out but your idea seems so much more compact!

    while we're on this subject of organization, how did you organize their baby stuff? i am way overdue with that stuff and haven't even filled out their baby books. but that's because i dont' know if it's just simpler to make a scrapbook and just include all the baby book stuff and photos as well. not a scrapbooker but it just seems to make more sense than having a separate baby book AND photo album. you get me?? obviously this is a task i've held out on for sometime and i have photos piled up and scraps of paper with milestones written on them with no where to go!!! thanks!!!!

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  21. Thats such a great system. last month I utilized your school binder system and will be sharing it on my blog soon. I will feature you on my new blog too! Come visit. Its an organinzing and cleaning blog. Im very new so would love to have company. :) abowlfulloflemons.blogspot.com

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  22. Willwerth family: Here is a blog post regarding the bins on the wall: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/08/you-asked-whats-memo.html


    And Anonymous... I actually have taken the easy route on the kid's items growing up. I scrapbooked pages for each of them with important photos and memories, and as for the rest, I have a memory bin for each of them that I utilize to keep all of their items and memories in, along with the scrapbook pages. Things like their hospital bracelets, outfits, newspaper from the day they were born, first haircut, etc... it's all there. The rest of their pictures are in regular albums, and I also keep a book for each of them in which I write down my favorite moments with them and funny/cute things they say.

    Hope that helps some!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  23. thanks! I just have to learn to scrapbook so i can start adding stuff.

    also do you just use a journal to write down things or one of those memory keepsake books?

    thanks again! you rock:)

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  24. I actually just use a regular lined journal notebook. Nothing too fancy at the moment, I can always transfer information someday.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  25. Do you place a manilla file folder inside the hanging folder?
    Thanks so much!

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  26. I do place the manila file folder inside the hanging folder. That way the hanging can stay stationary and I can pull the manila if necessary.

    Thanks!!

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  27. Great idea! I am a first grade teacher, so I plan to link this to my blog and share this with my student's parents as well! Thanks, Jen!!

    http://nicolescraftingadventure.blogspot.com/

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  28. I love this idea and so need it with 3 children and the paperwork that comes home! I have purchased bins, hanging folders, manila folders and cardstock... I cannot print the coversheet. Do I need to pay for this???
    Thank you for your help and great ideas!!

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  29. Hi Anonymous!

    I am looking into a new way to host my free documents, I am unsure why Docstoc is giving individuals a hard time and asking for payment. Just shoot me an email and I will send you the free document.

    Thanks and sorry!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  30. Thanks so much for this idea, it works like a charm! I used the same Walmart storage boxes that you featured in the January paper post. I hope to eventually have a bookcase to put them in but now they sit next to my desk. It's so much easier to just pop the kids' stuff in each day. Thanks!

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  31. I dont know where to start i am currently at work (i am the boss/owner) and can't wait to go home and tackle this project too. I think that i better stop reading your blog till this task is done or else i will want to tackle something else too. I have ADHD so i struggle with sticking to something till it's done. I would also love the free labels. I am not sure how to post my comment where it says comment as (I am a newbie) so i am signing as anonymous -Tracie at doubletroubletwice@blogspot.com

    Thanks SOOOOOOO much

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  32. This is awesome!!!! I have a system for my son's school papers, but it's getting pretty crowded, and I think that this would work a lot better. I need one of those boxes!

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  33. I love this idea and downloaded the label template. When I try to print it out (6 times now) the labels don't line up with my labels. I have the standard 1" X 2 5/8" labels. Any ideas?

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  34. Hi Emily!

    The free template is meant to be downloaded and printed with Avery 48860 labels.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks!

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  35. As far as storing the other items goes.. what type of bin do you use for the memory bins? Is it all just strewn about inside the bin!? My kids are still young.. 6, 2, and waiting to be born this summer... but I am trying to get a handle on the already growing pile of things I have all over my house in "save" piles, whether it be artwork, swimming lessons or preschool diplomas, pictures, hospital bracelets, down to a fortune from a fortune cookie while I was pregnant with my 2 year old that I carried around the entire time that read "Good things come in small packages.. one is coming to you."

    HELP! :)

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  36. Hi Alison!

    I actually have an old photo box which has ultrasound pics and bracelets and locks of hair. Then, I have a large rubbermaid bin that has tiny outfits, blankets, hats, etc.... Not my favorite system at the moment, but that's where I am at! I also have a notebook for each kiddo where I write down funny things they say or things I don't want to forget.

    Hope that helps some!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  37. This might be one of the best things i have ever come across! Thank you so much, from this momma of twin boys in Atlanta!

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  38. For the projects that are two big or contain glued on items that will fall off...I take a picture of the project and print it off. Then They are saved without taking up a ton of space.

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  39. Jen you have blown me away again! I was just asking my friends about what they do with all their kids stuff and no one had a great solution - except you!! I'm forwarding your blog to everyone I know with kids! And the ideas of how to keep meaningful cards...genius!!

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  40. I'm getting ready to tackle 6 years of my daughters drawings and schoolwork and 4 years for my son! Thank you so much, these will go well with the manila envelopes I'm going to use!

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  41. I use this system, although just one year has taken over the whole crate. I guess I need to figure out how to say no to certain things. The printables will be a nice addition!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  42. I love it! I have struggled with a good place to put it all and THIS IS IT!
    I was able to download the labels, but for some reason I only got a blank link when I tried to download the coversheet. Any thoughts?
    Pam

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  43. Hi Pam!

    Because the coversheet is a PDF, you have to click the blank document link and it should download/open.

    Let me know if you have any additional trouble. Thanks so much!

    Jen

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  44. You completely inspired me too! I have set up a system using expandable briefcase file boxes. Do drop over and take a peek, if you'd like. I gave you credit on my post as well.
    http://delightfulorder.blogspot.com/2011/05/organizing-childrens-school-papers.html
    DaNita

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  45. Hi Jen :-)
    DaNita, from the blog 'Delightful Order' did her own posting about school files today, and stated that she was inspired for hers by this posting of yours. I was curious what yours was like, so came to have a look-see.

    As I told DaNita, I too am a file user. Big time! And I too once posted about files to use for your kids.

    Here is the link to my "life files" posting - http://thehousethatlovebuilt.xanga.com/700405438/my-gifts-for-the-baby-shower/

    and here is the link for the system I used (which included a file) for keeping track of school and life events, etc. - http://thehousethatlovebuilt.xanga.com/718661389/2-calenders--a-file-box/

    Yes, I have also posted about other types of files... the best way to find them would be under my 'hopefully useful tips' sections.

    I see by the pictures in your side bar that you have three young sons. We had four boys in six years time. They are now all in their twenties. And I still enjoy their antics!

    It was fun visiting you today ;-)

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  46. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  47. I absolutely love this idea! We started making a binder last year for my son when he was in Kindergarten and did the same thing this year but it is so bulky. :( I like you idea better.

    I was hoping you could tell me where you got the awesome boxes!

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  48. Where did you find the file box? Its my favorite I've seen, and have yet to find one like it to buy.

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  49. Never mind that last post- just reread and found your link! I guess I was just too excited the first time!

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  50. This is such an invaluable post.
    In two weeks, my second oldest will be graduating from high school and I have been scouring boxes and misc. folders for school pictures and fun items to display.
    My hope has been to get a bit more organized this summer for our youngest who will be finishing first grade...thanks for the help and inspiration...it will make his graduation in the future a bit more of a breeze!

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  51. Wow! You are such an inspiration for me. I have recently started to organize my home. One room at a time. I have a large pile of my daughters school work I didn't know what to do with until now. Thank you so much for all of your helpful and inspirational information. My life may never be the same!

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  52. LOVE the ideas, I ALSO heart organization and found a great way to cut down on the ARTWORK from my kiddos...I scan it(the bigger items I take a picture of) I make a digital storybook with their face on the cover, it takes me about 30 minutes and they are so exited when this 8x8 book arrives in the mail and THEY are the star of it! I use Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 from Creative Memories and LOVE the options/ease of use. It's a desktop program so I don't time out if I walk away!

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  53. How wonderful. Thanks for the great idea, and the printables too!

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  54. Hi! I LOVE your site!!!! Do you have any inexpensive resources for the file box itself? Amazon has the Cargo Naturals at about $34 each. Any suggestions? Can't wait to work on this project for my 4th grader!!! :)
    Thanks! Richelle

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  55. I love this!!! I found your blog about a week ago and have been drooling ever since! ;-P I had the same system in mind for my kids, using a milk crate type box. My oldest started Kindergarten this year and since the year is over it's time to go through the box I've been stuffing things into all year and get it organized. I downloaded the labels and the cover sheet-LOVE THEM! Thank you sooo much! I'm a new follower!

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  56. OMG! I'm not sure how I found you, but I"m glad I did! Your blog is the best thing that has ever happened to me and my home!! I"m trying to download you labels, but they print out a blank page. Maybe because I'm using a MAC? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!!

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  57. This is genius bc like you I thought I could get all of my kids elementary school art/paper work in one binder and now that I have a soon to be 3rd grader and 1st grader, I know that is impossible! Awesome idea, thank you!!! Love, love, love your blog!!!!

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  58. @Anonymous. I can send you a PDF file you can use to open with your Mac. Just pop over an email to iheartorganizing@gmail.com to request it.


    Thanks so much!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  59. @Richelle, I would check out both Target and Walmart in the office supply section. Both typically offer pretty inexpensive file totes/bins.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  60. I love it. I was wondering if you could add a label for preschool. My oldest started Kinder in 6 weeks but I am already drowning in paperwork and would love a folder for preschool that matches.

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  61. @Christy - I do have that template as well but I am having a hard time sharing it via Windows Live so just pop over an email to iheartorganizing@gmail.com and I will get the template with the P back to you!

    Thank you!
    Jen

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  62. I LOVE your blog!! A recent discovery and I'm all over it lately. Just wanted to comment that this idea is super cute but I use a different system. I bought a really great pre-made book which covers K-6 for each kiddo on Amazon (they had to match even tho I have a 9 month old, know you can relate) and they fill in an info page about their school year, each year gets harder and is age-appropriate. Then there is a photos page for each year and a pocket for favorite projects from that year. This pocket requires me to choose around 10 or less papers per year, which is badly needed motivation. So I have a similar system in a book instead of a file box for K-6.

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  63. Can I ask where you got your storage box and same colored file folders :)
    Thx.

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  64. I love your site. I have been battling "paper clutter" for more years that I remember and it has caused me so much stress. The gathering and throwing in boxes when guests would come over, just to have to sort through everything for those important papers that I needed but never got around to filing because I hated our filing system. Paper Piles... they were ALL. OVER. MY. HOUSE! I found your website via a link on pinterest, and was so inspired, that I compiled a Household Binder, made 4 kids school file boxes, and sorted through and organized all the "paper" in the house. My husband laughed at me, but I was so excited to find a system(s) that worked for (and inspired) me! (I have a tried a few, but nothing really worked for us). I also made binders for our home projects (because we have many with many additional still looming in my head), A "kitchen" binder with your ideas for kitchen, fridge inventories, meal planning, couponing, and recipes. And a craft binder for all of my patterns, and craft project stuff. Thanks for the inspiration. I feel about 20 pounds lighter today and am excited to keep my home organized and free of paper! :)

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  65. WOW, just WOW.....right now everything is just dumped in a rubbermaid bin with three years of my sons work, and one of my daughters work, this is AWESOME, thanks for sharing!

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  66. Thanks so much for the downloads and a way to keep from getting overwhelmed with the kids stuff. What I was using before has overgrown after it broke and kids started looking at everything and taking them all over the house.

    Love the site.

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  67. This is a FAB idea, and I want to copy it!! :-) I was able to download the labels but not the cover sheet. Any suggestions?

    Thank you so much!!! :-)

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  68. I love your ideas! Thanks! I need all the help I can get because I am not naturally organized, but want to maintain a sense of order. Go figure. Anyway, I was wondering. Do you use the binders and the storage boxes now or do you solely use the storage boxes? I have 2 boys and am totally overwhelmed by all their papers, but want to keep some special things

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  69. The file boxes are from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cargo-Naturals-10-25-Hx12-5-BLUESTONE/dp/B002F7VAX2/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1312405971&sr=8-8

    The file folders were just standard Pendaflex hanging files w/manilla folders.

    @Albus: I just use the boxes now, the binders are no longer in use :)

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  70. I am a future teacher, and have all of the art projects that my mom saved while I was growing up in resource files for future use. For the oversized projects that I don't want to part with, I use mailing tubes like what you would send blue prints or posters in. They work very well and can be labeled and stored in a fancy waste basket.
    Hope this is helpful!
    -Janet

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  71. @Janet! That sounds AMAZING! I would love to see a picture of that if you ever get a second - iheartorganizing@gmail.com.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  72. I use the binder system you talked about. And yes I have had to keep buying bigger binders :) Good idea although I think the storage seems too much.

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  73. To bad there isn't a preschool tab as well :( But I love your idea and just might have to steal it. Thanks

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  74. Wow... Love this. I use those photo boxes to store artwork, but the bins are perfect. We're always having to deal with the overflow and I feel like we just live among piles of paper during the school year!

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  75. Love the Idea and will get started on it soon for my two kiddos, I like to keep my sons books he brings home, the vocabulary or math stuff but Its so bulky that Its crowding his bookcase and I have no idea what to do with them, for now they filled up the black crate I have. Any ideas?
    Jacki

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  76. The link for the cover letter isn't working. Do you have another link for it??? Super adorable! Thank you!

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  77. Just found your blog - I'm getting ready to tackle last school year's work for each of my three girls. I like your ideas - I use a similar system, but I put their work in an accordion binder for each year, then store those in a Rubbermaid tote to keep them safe. I used to hang on to EVERY piece of paper they brought in, but that became ridiculous. Now, as they have gotten older, I have them pick out a few pieces from each subject they'd like to keep. I hang on to milestone pieces, like a sample of cursive handwriting work from the beginning and end of a school year (so I can see their progress...) and I still keep a LOT of their artwork, but having them help me pare down their 'keepsake' work helps a great deal. Another thing I'm trying this year - I bought one of those calendars with filefolders attached. As we get birthday cards or school programs, etc., I've been filing them in the appropriate month's folder; sometimes I'll write a little note about a trip or event from that month and stick it in there, too. In December, I'll likely put in a copy of a Christmas letter, if I write one (a handy summary of the year's events), and voila! - a compact file, complete with notations! I am a great admirer of anyone who's naturally organized, so I appreciate tips like those on your blog!

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  78. I love this idea, thanks for sharing! I'm years away from my kids being in school, but I will remember this for sure!!!!

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  79. Absolutely love this! Trying to get school stuff organized for my 2 boys. I've downloaded most of your templates, but when I try to open the cover sheet for the folders, it opens one of the school label templates. Is there some other way to get the School Paperwork Cover Sheet?

    Thx,
    Kim

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  80. Thanks for coming to my rescue!! I am so happy I found your blog and I love this idea! Posted a link: http://ificould-ificould.blogspot.com/2011/08/school-paper-organizing-with-free.html

    Thanks for sharing!
    Missy & Kimi
    if I could...

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  81. I homeschool our three kids and this is a GREAT way to keep all of that organized! Thanks for continuing to share your fabulous ideas with us!

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  82. This is AWESOME!!! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  83. L-O-V-E! Thanks so much for creating and sharing your system with us!! Can't wait to use it on all my four kiddos works of art. Filed at thecraftersfilebox.com.

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  84. Greatest idea ever. Just out of curiosity, what are your plans for the boxes once the kids are grown? Wondering if the kids will want the boxes? Maybe scrapbook at that point? - jenn

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  85. @Jenn,

    Not sure yet, I may just want to hold on to them forever! :)

    Otherwise, I can pass them along, but only after I scan it all in to make a book for me.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  86. LOVE, LOVE it! I just read an article yesterday on ways to organize my boys schoolwork. It was a good idea, but like you I keep a lot of stuff. This is the perfect solution! Thank you so much for the printouts! I am giving a shout out to you on my blog www.twosweetdiscoveries.com. Everyone should read your blog. Thank you again for all the great ideas. I heart organizing too :)

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  87. Thanks so much for sharing this!!~

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  88. Spent an hour today printing the lovely labels and cover sheets and putting together this project for my 4 kids. I ADORE this system, and thank you for sharing it!! Yes! Feeling the love!!!!!

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  89. I just love your blog. I have already spent hours looking through and finding lots of great tips. I gave you a shout-out on my blog (http://nkmphotos.dataprep.com/2011/09/back-to-school-yay.html). I used your folder template and modified it to make a spine for my binders. I would like to share this file, but since the original is yours, I wanted to ask your permission first. Thanks for all your great tips, I'll be visiting you regularly. :D

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  90. Ok, I am having a TERRIBLE time trying to print the labels. I've tried both the file folder and the address labels, and they are printing all off... what labels did you use? I'm using Avery 8160 for the return address... what am I doing wrong???

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  91. @Jennifer -

    I used Avery 5160. I will update the post with that information.

    Thank you!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  92. Awww; thanks so much. I am trying so hard to get all my daughter's stuff organized. Now I'm trying to print the 5366 labels and they are still off. I print labels all the time - I don't know what is happening. I think I'm just going to have to print it on regular paper and then stick it to the labels.

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  93. I too am having such a hard time printing the new labels. I printed the old ones perfectly and now the new ones are off. I haven't done the project yet and would rather have the new ones since they are more girly for my daughter. Thank you.

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  94. Right... ? They are a bit too big it looks like?

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  95. I just found your blog so I am coming late to the party! Your bins look adorable! I too love organizing and have trouble throwing away my girls school papers, which was quickly becoming overwhelming and out of control. What has worked for me is taking all the school papers up to Office Depot to have them bound into a book, one for each school year! I find the paper that I want for the cover sheet and have it laminated, buy the plastic back cover and have all of it bound with a spiral edging. I also do the same with their artwork that they create at home. They love to sit and look through what they have done and it takes up so much less room in my closet. It costs about $5 a book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you should post a picture of that on pinterest you've got me totally interested in this book idea!

      Delete
    2. Good idea, I'm curious to see how it looks too!

      Delete
  96. I love this, my only problem is I have JK and SK and Nursery School, wish I could figure out how to make some nice labels so I could add those grades in.

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  97. So I have printed the labels twice and they line up for the first 2 rows of labels and then they are gradually off (too close together) till they are split between the labels. I am using Avery 48366 (Eco Friendly File Labels), which say to use Avery template 5366. Not sure what to do? any ideas?

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  98. This is such a great idea! With my oldest just starting Kindergarden, I was starting to wonder how I would maintain a good system. This is perfect. I took it one step further and personalized their boxes just for fun! http://my-happy-nest.blogspot.com/2011/09/personalized-school-work-boxes-part-one.html Thank you for posting this and I love your blog!

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  99. Thank you so much!!! My daughter is in second grade and my son is in kindergarten and the papers are out of control! Your downloads made this so easy.
    http://thekingsoftheroad.blogspot.com/2011/09/another-item-checked-off-of-pinterest.html
    Thanks again. Love love love your blog. <3

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  100. I absolutely love this. I finally completed this project this week and it is SO handy. I did not realize how much paperwork comes home with a kindergartener. LOL Just this morning I had to refer to one of the notices for a homework assignment. I am going to personalize the file box a bit more...and I just got back her class photo today!

    Your site has given me so many ideas. I thank you for sharing!

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  101. I heart that I found you!!! Hallelujah!!!

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  102. Love the color of the hanging files but can't find them. They are a light green, right?
    Thanks,
    Jen

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  103. Love this idea! Thanks so much!! I too am having a terrible time printing the labels. I have used 8160 and 5160 and the last column is off.

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  104. I am a wanna be organizing superstar and you have officially become my idol! I happened upon your blog while perusing another great blog and boy am I glad I found you! I widdled down my daughter's Pre-K artwork from last year and now I have it just piled in a cupboard because I hadn't yet had a brilliant idea on how I wanted to go about storing it, NOW I KNOW! I can tell I am going to be spending a lot of time here...

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  105. Thank you SoooOOOOooo much for sharing this amazing idea! I am addicted to organizing, and having been racking my brain for ideas for organizing my kids' school work. Anyway, I love LOVE love this concept, but I am having a hard time printing the lables... They are off just a bit. I am printing on the Avery 5160. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated! :)

    Thank you!

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  106. Hi Friends - I used the template right from the Avery website and I am not sure why it's not lining up for you all at home. You can try to download this word version and see if that works? http://www.box.net/shared/a05huh7vogivqjhx2n0q

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  107. I LOVE your blog. It is so helpful, and common sense - -than you!

    I love the idea of the binder and folder for the boys. Now that my oldest is in 2nd Grade this is a much easier task to perform. I have a question though - - what do you do with all the ART from their pre-school year the art that is done on HUGE paper and also with bulky materials - - some people take pictures and ditch - I just can't seem to do this. I did find a VERY oversized portfolio but that is too heavy to take out an look at. Any help or advise you can offer is MUCH appreciated. I want to get their art organized before they go to college :) Thanks again I have SO enjoyed your blog.
    Sarah

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  108. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  109. The MS Word Doc Link: http://www.box.net/shared/a05huh7vogivqjhx2n0q
    works beautifully! When you convert a document to PDF the sizing is altered. Thanks so much! I will link to this from my new website: Tiny Reminders http://www.tinyreminders.com. Thanks for these adorable templates!

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  110. Oh my gosh! I've been filing away my kids' work into our filing cabinet (three drawers, one for our stuff at the bottom and one drawer for each child but wanted it to look a little less industrial). I was just trying to create cover sheets, and file stickers and thought - someone must have already done this so took a look on Pinterest where I found you. Thank you a thousand times over...definitely felt the love with your freebies here!

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  111. Great idea! 2 kids age 7 and 10 and currently their paperwork lives in boxes the size of a priority mail box. One per year. It seemed like a great idea for a couple of years and then it became clear that I was never going to have enough space for 12 years of those boxes x 2! I like the file box idea because it helps limit the mementos. My kids can generate a stack of papers in one day with all their creations. Need to weed some out. The memory bin is great too - I have 2 of those as well. Off to organize. Thanks!

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  112. i have scanned in all my kids artwork and papers to my computer. i make a photobook each year and add all the artwork to the book too. i keep the holiday art to display each year. i love the file idea. i think i will get a plastic one that snaps just to keep them extra safe.

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  113. LOVE this idea! One question: Is the coversheet attached (glued) to the front of each folder or is it just the first page loose in each folder? Probably up to me but I was just curious as to what you did?
    Thanks, Liz

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  114. This is such a neat idea. I would have never thought to do anything like this. I will definately be making my own and can;t to put all of my sons school creations in it.

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  115. I am so glad that I found your Blog!!! This is such an amazing idea and I can't wait to put it to work in our home! I can't print out the labels for 5160 though :( They are printing, but not aligned right. I am just wondering if anyone else has had this problem before? It is set to print on 5160, but it's shadowing the label outline that is showing on the computer screen and then printing off the label itself. :(

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  116. @MsSedg,

    You can try to downloand the Microsoft Word version instead of the PDF:http://www.box.com/shared/a05huh7vogivqjhx2n0q

    For some reason formatting may shifted a bit when it transfered to a PDF file. The Microsoft Word version is straight from the Avery website so it should work correctly.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  117. This is so fantastic! I have so many papers from my 3 kids...will be hard to go back and figure out which year, but it will be a great way to keep them organized going forward and my little one is just in 1st grade, so she will be easier to keep totally accurate. Thanks so much for sharing all your fabulous ideas ☺

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  118. I love this idea and I am going to this because like you I have three kiddos and tons of papers to find a home. I have actually looks fro the boxes that you have used here for my daily house files and can't find them. Please can you tell me where you got yours? I would be so grateful. email me @ luckiee29@gmail.com.

    You are truly and inspiration in organization.
    Thanks from a mom of three!!
    Lesley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lesley! They were from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cargo-Naturals-Dual-Graphite-2-Inch/dp/B0019LX91G?ie=UTF8&tag=iheaorga-20&link_code=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969

      xoxo!
      jen

      Delete
  119. Love all the help here! The comments from others are great!

    I thought I would also add something that may be helpful. This is what I do with these files about once every year to 2 years:

    http://cathyzielske.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/08/updating-school-albums-for-another-year.html

    I have filed my kids' school stuff away for several years and it has worked really well but it has always bugged me a little that my kids can't really enjoy their old school accomplishments and pictures in a file box. However, being a mom of 4 kids--WHO HAS THE TIME TO SCRAPBOOK?? I discovered this method a few years ago and it has been great to learn a super-easy and simple way to accomplish a way to display things for kids. I hope this helps and doesn't overwhelm :)

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  120. Love this idea! Just did this with my kids paperwork today. It was totally taking over our family filing cabinet. Thanks for the adorable printable!

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  121. I have also tried putting school papers in a binder, and you are right... it is not working! What a great idea! Thanks!

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  122. Thank you so much for showing me a new way vs. binders and photo boxes. This is just what I needed, with 4 girls, 3 in school, I am overwhelmed with the amount of paper I have saved for them. I just gathered all my supplies and like others, am having a problem printing the 5160 stickers. The PDF is off and prints the gray border and the word doc. isn't the right size labels. Is there a way to change the format in word so they will print on a 5160?

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  123. So I completed this project this weekend and just have to tell you.. I'm in love! I can't figure out why it took me so long to get around to it - the printables make it such a quick and easy project to do. I couldn't find file boxes like you used in stores and didn't want to spend that much for the Amazon ones, so picked up some plastic ones from Office Depot that were on their 100% back with rewards program... they aren't as pretty but worked perfectly! Anyway, thank you so, so much for all your ingenious ideas.. half of my 2012 projects were inspired by you! :-)

    P.S. I pinned this post on Pinterest and it had over 300 repins... apparently I'm not the only one who thinks it's genius! :-)

    Here's the link on my blog to see how my turned out:
    http://joshandmalissa.blogspot.com/2012/01/project-1-complete-organizing-school.html

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  124. Love the idea and am trying to replicate here. I am using the 8160 labels (which are supposed to be compatible with the 5160) but it is not lining up (even the first row). Do you have the word version of that as well? The only word version I see in the post or in the comments is for the file labels, not the address labels.

    Thanks so much for sharing your time and talent. I just found your blog a few weeks ago and have been pouring through your archives!!! LOVE it all.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Just joined pinterest and this was one of my first pins! Love this idea and put it together this weekend. I also went with the plastic file boxes since we move a lot (military family) and they can be replaced easily. I'm going to try to create a fabric covered sleeve to slide into the box to hide the contents...if I figure out an easy way to do it, I'll let you know so you can post it for your followers.

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  126. I LOVE this idea and featured it today on my Getting Organized Monday series. Check it out www.dirtandboogers.blogspot.com Thanks for your fantastic blog!

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  127. I actually did somewhat this same idea a couple years ago. We had our third child, and was home with her and decided it was time to get all the boys' school papers organized. Did the hanging file folders per year. However mine is not as pretty as yours!! Definately going to get the cuteness going soon. Thanks for the wonderful idea. Love the school picture on the front, Mine was just set within the folder for that grade. Thanks again

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  128. Hi Jen! I just stumbled across this idea on Pinterest which led me to this blog. I want to do something similar to this, but use it just to house the professional pictures/school pictures we get! My son is in Pre-K and I'd love to go all the way to 12, but I'm unsure how to preserve the photos that long? Not to mention there are so many sizes that come with the packages. Any ideas? I'm terrible at organizing, which I believe will lead me to visiting this blog again and again! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about scanning them in just "in case". Also, anything acid free is what you will want to look for when searching out photo storage options. I love photo boxes.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  129. For those having any troubles with the labels - both files have been updated to be linked directly the the Microsoft Word version, which is editable. They were also templates straight from the Avery website. Hopefully that helps, the PDF versions must have been causing some formatting issues. It may also be printer settings.

    Thanks so much!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  130. Jen -- Thanks so much for posting the Word version! I've printed them off and they look great.

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  131. Came across this idea on Pinterest! I have been trying to figure out what to do with all my daughters school papers because I just can't seem to throw away anything. Thanks so much for this great idea! I got mine all done this evening! Thanks Again!

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  132. Hi Jen, Your printables are awesome! Thanks so much for sharing -- I'm actually motivated to get through the school papers for my two boys due to your post! I also shared your idea with my readers at Scraplifters.com: http://www.scraplifters.com/free-printables-for-organizing-school-pictures-and-papers.html. I can't wait to get started - thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  133. Oh my goodness...I have been going crazy trying to keep up with my 3 kiddos and all of their awesome school projects, awards, etc. Thanks SO much for sharing this. Sounds like file boxes are exactly what I have been needing! Also, thanks for the printables. :)

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  134. Jen, love this idea! I'm sure it will help you (and others, too). I did something similar with papers when my girls were little, then when I had more time, I put it all in scrapbooks.

    Just remember that once they hit 5th or 6th grade, they will have more than one teacher per year (different teachers for each subject) so you may need to revise your cover sheets accordingly.

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  135. Wow. I LOVE this idea! I have bins of papers that could use some organizing, and with one in kindergarten and one in 3rd grade, I'm not that far behind...

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  136. I am wondering what supplies you used. Do you put the work inside the manila file folder and the in the hanging folder, or do you just use a manila folder as the front cover inside the file folder? It looks like the grade sticker closes it together.

    I love this idea and am working on it now! Thank you for your excellent ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used a hanging folder and then popped a manilla folder inside of that. The sticker is actually on the manilla folder tab. The folders were designed so you could select which tab you wanted to use and pop the other tabs down. I don't recommend them, they drive me a little nuts.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  137. Fantastic - just bought folders and labels today for this. The new Martha Stewart labels at Staples, of course. :) I don't have a color printer so I'll use my label maker to fill in the pretty labels.

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  138. Can you tell the dimensions on your box? I found one at Wal-mart, plastic with a 'locking' lid. I like the plastic to help keep any moisture out but am wondering if it'll be too small come 11th or 12th grade.

    Loving all your ideas and thank you so much for sharing all your hard work. As a mom of 4, 5 and under, I wouldn't be able to do it on my own!
    ~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here are the dimensions:
      10-3/4 by 15-1/2 by 12-1/2

      They are pretty deep, lots of room to grow!

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
    2. Great. thanks. I found some larger ones at Staples today, buy 2 get 1 free... I need four, so getting two for free is O.K. with me- I'm sure I can find SOMETHING to do with the extra totes :)

      Delete
  139. Just made these tonight(x3) for my 3 kids. Thank you so much!! Excited to begin filling them with treasures! :)

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  140. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Love this school paper organizing system...I have set it up and its awesome!

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  141. Thank you so very much for sharing. I wondered what to do with all the papers. i love your organizational skills. Thank you for sharing!

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  142. Jen, you're an organizing diva :) I featured this idea today on my blog! http://www.imperfecthomemaking.com/2012/02/storing-and-organizing-childrens.html

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  143. I love, love, love this idea. Also love how the file box is decorative so, it doesn't need to be shoved into a closet. Only problem is...having a difficult time finding something similar (at least here in Canada). Any suggestions on online sources?

    Thanks!
    Jenn

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  144. What program do you use to open the cover sheet? I've tried Adobe, preview and word. The square is either to small or the cute little blocks are cut off :( Is that a 5x7 picture on the cover? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  145. Hi Jennifer!

    You have to click this link: http://www.box.com/shared/h7svq0jztc249kvqc6iy and download the PDF file. Then, any PDF program {like ADOBE} can open it.

    Thanks!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  146. hi Jen 0

    I have a similar system, and definitely upgrading to your prettyneat format!

    I have 6 children, so I keep just ONE file box handy for all 6 for the current year. I use one (or two) hanging folder per child each holding 5 manilla folders: one manilla folder per quarter & one for report cards/IEP/school info. I sift through it during Christmas Break & again in June. Then in June I transfer their selected items into their own banker box (again, will upgrade to your prettier version soon, but this works for now.)and also set up their next school year's folders in the one "group" box.

    Looks like my summer project will be re-setting my system up to work better & look adorable - thanks!!
    :)Renee

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  147. I also started with the binder and it got messy too. Thanks for the printables and the idea! Great job!

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  148. Love this idea! I've been looking for a way to organize the girls schoolwork for a long time.

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  149. Yes, this is a great idea! Does anyone know how I could change the colors of the cover sheet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there!

      Unfortunately, the freebies are not customizable.

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  150. Hi Jen, where did you find those file boxes and who makes them? those look very sturdy and i love the color.
    thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there!

      They are from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cargo-Naturals-Dual-Graphite-2-Inch/dp/B0019LX91G?ie=UTF8&tag=iheaorga-20&link_code=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969

      They are great, still look like new!

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  151. Did you adjust your folders to fit inside the hanging folders? I just put my file box all together and the lid does not fit... love this idea and can't wait to fill it up with keepsakes for my 3 kids! Thanks - I LOVE your blog and have shared it with my friends!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, I didn't have to adjust anything. Everything fit just right. Wish I could be there to problem solve with you.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  152. Just found this idea. And it seems to be made jut for our family. It even has the right name on it! We're just in 1st grade and already have an overwhelming amout of schoolwork. Thank you for the great idea.

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  153. WOW! this looks like it could really work for me and my family! I'm going to add you to my blog!

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  154. Great idea! Where do you usually store the filing boxes?

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    Replies
    1. I store the filing boxes in our closet office in the guest room. They are a bit bulky for most shelves and cupboards so we had to keep them in a deeper closet.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  155. Thank you so much for your printables and this idea! I just bought rubbermaid hanging boxes because we are miltitary and bankers boxes have a tendency to get crushed with all the moves. You just saved my basement floor from all the mounds of schoolwork! :) Very grateful for the share!

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  156. Love your ideas! I am making a box now for my 3-year-old who starts preschool in a month. Looking forward to seeing it fill with precious memories! Suggestion: on the back of the cover page for each folder, copy a questionnaire for the child to complete each year. Examples include: friends, favorite field trip, etc.

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  157. Absolutely love this idea, and really need to do it! Thanks so much for the inspiration :)

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  158. As 40+ yr high school teacher, I like this idea.However, you need to adjust for multiple teachers/subjects from grade 6 onward.. What about clubs/organizations/activities for each of those years and earlier?? They become such an important part of the growing up years. Almost forgot-summer; swim lessons, camp, etc.

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  159. I love love love this idea and have already started on both of my children's boxes!! I'm wondering if you have ever thought of creating a "landscape" version of your cover sheet. That way maybe you could tape it to the front of the folder and it would be upright?? My boxes are clear, and that way I could see it through the box. Also, I'm wanting to do the same thing for my children from birth til school. Could you create new avery tabs for (say) 0-1yr, 2yr and 3yr?? Both of my children started school at 3. Thanks so much either way for sharing your wonderful idea!!

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  160. you are seriously GENIOUS! Oh how I wish I could get to this point! at times it just seems to overwhelming, and that EVERY room is a 911 .. I just can't seem to keep on top of it! just brilliant - thank you for these ideas!

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  161. Question for you...hard to tell from the picture but are the coversheets with their photos attached on the outside of the manilla folders or do you use it as the first page within each folder but not attach it?

    Thanks! Kelly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly!

      You could do either, I just slide it in the front of the folder to keep it a bit more protected.

      xo!
      Jen

      Delete
  162. I love this idea!!!! Thanks for sharing. My daughter is starting school next month and I'm going to use this filing method for all of her paperwork from Kindergarten to high school.

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  163. Thanks so much for the beautiful printables and such a great organizing solution! My daughter is in her second week of Kindergarten and already I have a huge mound of papers! On top of that I have a basket overflowing of preschool papers that I had every intention of organizing over the summer, but didn't:) Hopefully this will be the solution to my paper woes!

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  164. I have been using binders to keep track of my 5 kids (almost 6) school work but I haven't seen room for growth. I am going to try this system and see if I like it better. Thanks for the printsbles. I hope they work for me.

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  165. I LOVE this!! I'm having trouble with the info sheet that goes in each folder...it's not printing the entire thing. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for getting me organized!!

    jill

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  166. I just completed this project! Thanks so much for the idea and the free printable!

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  167. Hi there! Was trying to print the labels and it keeps shutting Word down (I'd already downloaded it the labels). Any ideas? Thanks! I bookmarked this page too long ago and am finally getting my kids papers organized!

    Jill
    jillmchaffie@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  168. I love this idea!! I had to edit your labels to make a preschool 1 and preschool 2 since my kids started preschool when they were 2. I'm so excited to put these boxes together!!

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  169. I'm also having trouble with the labels - when I print, the labels come out blank? I've tried to copy to a new sheet of labels and still have the same problem. Any ideas?

    Lisa

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  170. I know that this is not a new post, but I just found your blog and really love it! Our little boy has just started Kindergarten, and already we are seeing that the papers that are coming home on a daily basis can be a little overwhelming. This is a great, creative solution. Thank you!

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  171. I had a couple thoughts here...I plan to use this, but on the coversheet it says "teachers name" and as they get older they could have 8 teachers in one school year. Another thing was that once their in high school they don't exactly bring home art anymore. Or anything for that matter! You were lucky to get me to even carry a bookbag at school.
    I do think that this would be a great wedding gift to your child. I would say it should be a 'secret' as they're growing up but can you imagine their shock when they get home and open the box?thought about the same idea with the cards they receive over the holidays throughout their life. Sorry if any of this has been mentioned it would have took me a really long time to read all the comments.

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  172. I can't wait to look for some great boxes to do this for my three g's

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  173. I have been all over town looking for the storage boxes that don't cost $40 like on Amazon. All I can find are plastic ones at Office Depot but am concerned about moisture damaging the papers and school work. Have you run into that problem before?

    I have been to Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Office Depot, Staples, Target, Home Depot, Michael's. Wal-Mart had a nice black one but it was wide enough across but only half as long.

    Thank so much for sharing your great tips and ideas AWESOME!. I have sorted all the photos from my 2 girls (1 is 10 and 1 is 6) but still need to do some serious paring down. Preschool and Pre-K alone would take up one box :)

    ReplyDelete
  174. I have been struggling with this myself now that my daughter has started pre K. I don't want to part with anything so I started a couple of years ago when she began coloring to scan my favorites to a disk / or drive . then I have been putting all her "creations with glue" etc in sheet protectors for her binder. This way I can include the CD with the binder. My mother did something similar to your file system for us K - 12 and she handed them over to us once we were married. it was fun to show my husband my grades and creations in grade school.

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  175. I love this idea. I found it on Pinterest and I did it. It is wonderful. I also used my finished product for my blog oc-delightful.blogspot.com and raved about how great your blog and ideas are. Thank you.

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  176. This idea was a revelation to me and I love your blog. I wish you could come to my house and organize my entire life for me... that would be awesome...

    How are your boxes holding up after 2 years? have you had to replace them?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel!

      They are still holding up great and look like new. I now keep them in our guest bedroom closet up on a shelf, so they are in a very low traffic area, but they are good quality and I am very happy with them. :)

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  177. Great and wonderful idea! Thanks a million times! I also want to recommend taking pictures of the artwork that may be bulky or awkward to keep. Add Age grade & year to the picture and easily recall that egg carton bird nest they made in preschool in a snap!

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  178. I love this!! my kids are only 3 and almost 2... but I've already saved all these documents to my computer and will be making these boxes!! Such a great idea!!

    ReplyDelete
  179. I love this idea! But, now I feel just awful. I have 3 kids, 9, 5, & 2. I started out trying to keep all of my oldest child's papers but didn't organize them. Then, I became a SAHM 4 years ago, so my middle child did not go to preschool. My husband sees no point hanging not their papers. We've recently relocated & are renting a smaller place til we can buy and have NO storage space. So, I feel awful because I've thrown out pretty much all of my daughters papers with the exception of just a few from Prek. My middle is in K and b/c of our current living situation I've been tossing his sweet K papers. :( I love the idea of your system. Please help this sad momma! Now what? I could start for my boys, but my daughter is in 3 rd grade & I don't have papers for K-2! Please advise

    ReplyDelete

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