Our Five Ring Circus: The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year

The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year

When my first child started school, I was amazed by the amount of important school papers that came home each week. I just tossed them in a basket, and hoped for the best. Eventually, I spent so much time looking for the papers that I needed, that I knew I had to figure out a better system. A $1 - yes ONE DOLLAR - expanding file folder from the Target Dollar Spot was the perfect solution!

Using that inexpensive expanding file folder kept all the important school papers organized in one spot. I perfected my method over the course of the years, and now I use just one folder for all four of my children. I briefly attempted a file folder for each child, but it ended up being more work. There were more folders to organize and sort through, and it didn't make sense for my son who was in junior high, because most of his papers were sent by email or found online. I've been using the super easy one file folder method for two years now, and it works beautifully!

Today, I'm sharing my tips and tricks to make the system flow seamlessly, and the little extras I keep in the folder that I always seem to need. I highly recomment this super easy method for anybody who has a child in school!

The Basics

Let's get started! The first step is to choose an expandable file folder that will work perfectly for your family. I have 4 kids, so the 4 pocket folder works great for us! Target frequently has these in the Target Dollar Spot for $1, and I pick up several when I see them. I actually use these folders for so many things - IEP paperwork, bills, important documents, etc.

The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year

Perhaps you have more kids than I do, or would prefer more pockets. That's up to you to decide. I prefer the one pocket per child method. If you want something with more pockets, Amazon seems to have the best prices. They may not be $1, but they are still inexpensive!

The Setup

Now that you have your expandable file folder, it's time to set it up for use! Most expandable file folders come with stickers to place on the tabs. I prefer to set up my tabs oldest child to youngest child, and I also assign each child their own color. It makes it really easy for me to find exactly what I'm looking for as quickly as possible!

The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year

  1. Decide on how you want to set up your expandable file folder.
  2. Place the stickers on each tab.
  3. Assign each child their own color (optional). 
  4. Label the tabs.

The Extras

Over the years, I noticed that I frequently needed a few simple items while organizing, so I placed them in the front of the expandable file folder. Having them in a convenient location makes my life easier! I hate when I have to stop working to search for something I need!

Back To School Organization

  • Note paper to write notes to teachers or school excuses, and to jot down things to do.
  • A pen to write those notes, and to sign assignment books each night.
  • A pencil because my kids are always looking for a pencil for last minute homework fixes!

The Method

Once your expandable file folder is set up and ready to go, keeping all the important school papers organized will be so easy! It's just a matter of developing your method, and sticking with the routine. I keep my folder in a convenient location, and as soon as the kids get home from school each day, I go through their backpacks and immediately toss, fill out, or file away the papers that came home with them.

School Papers Organization

In the front of the folder, along with the note paper, pencil and pen, I place any paperwork pertaining to the entire school district. I organize each child's pocket in the folder the same way. At the very back of the pocket, is the paperwork that will be needed for reference the entire year. (Think school handbooks, class overviews, a class syllabus, etc.) I keep study materials in front of the permanent papers - flashcards, measurement conversion charts, sight words, math fact sheets, and reference guides. All dated papers (school picture order forms, fundraisers, upcoming event information, projects, weekly class memos) get filed in front of the study materials.

How To Organize School Papers

I keep my planner nearby, so as I go through the school papers to file them away, I can mark any important dates on the calendar immediately. After everything is filed away each day, I quickly flip through each section to see if there are any upcoming events or paperwork that needs to be sent into school.  And at the end of every week, I go through each pocket, and throw away any papers that are no longer needed.

School Organization Ideas

Organizing Tips

  • Keep your expandable file folder in a convenient location in your home. My kids keep their backpacks in our living room during the school week, so I keep our folder in a basket next to the couch. 
  • Go through the papers in their backpacks every night. I make separate piles as I sort through the papers: Toss, Artwork/Keepsakes, papers to sign and return now, dates to record in my planner, and papers to file away for later use. Then, I immediately put all the papers where they need to go, so clutter doesn't build up.
  • Keep your planner or a calendar with your folder so you can record those important dates right away!
  • Quickly glance at your calendar and through the dated papers in your folder each night to make sure you aren't forgetting about any upcoming events/due dates.
  • At the end of each week, throw away the dated papers that are no longer needed. (Weekly memos, events that have passed, information on projects that have been completed.)
  • At the end of the school year, clear out the folder completely so it's ready for the upcoming year!
  • IF you happen to have a child who has special needs, it might be beneficial to keep a separate expandable file folder for IEP's, policies, and all signed forms. I quickly found out that the amount of paperwork that comes home regarding Liam's education is intense. I do keep a second folder for those papers, because it's easier to just grab it and go when I need it for meetings. It isn't a folder that I access daily or even weekly, but it's helpful to have all that important information in one place!
Back To School Organization

Staying organized doesn't have to cost a lot of money, and takes very little time! The trick is to just devote a few minutes each day to staying organized. Juggling all the school papers that come home with four kids can be overwhelming, but using the expandable file folder system was a game changer! I may not be in control of the chaos at all times, but I can easily control the paperwork!

Back To School Ideas

The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year! #organization #backtoschool #kids #schoolpapers #motherhood

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  1. This is such a great idea, and I like that everything is in one folder so it makes it even easier to keep track of instead of juggling more than one folder and getting confused, etc.


  2. This is so smart! I feel overwhelmed with two kids in school... I don't know how you're getting through it with four. The paperwork I have to constantly fill out is unbelievable!!

  3. Looks like a great way to keep your papers organized! I have a magnetic hanging folder for each kid where I keep their math unit info, etc!

  4. I need to get better w/ organizing Lewie's papers. I have a three-ring binder, but I like your idea much better. If you can do it with four backpacks worth of stuff (I bet I can guess which one belongs to whom), I can certainly do it with one. (By the way, I LOVE that unicorn backpack!)

  5. This is great! I'm sure it helps to have it all together in one place when you have multiple children. I'm going to do this!


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