Kids bring home a lot of papers — from artwork to homework to awards to medical checkups and report cards. I know that parents have the best intensions with their kids papers, but life gets in the way and in a blink of an eye years go by and families are drowning in paper!
As a mother of two school-aged kids, I know the daily paper fight very well and I'm proud to say that after creating (and following) the 2-part system I share below, I have conquered kids paper in our house!
What makes this system work? Daily decisions + 2-part system + ongoing maintenance.
Make daily decisions
I get it. You're tired when you get home from work and the thought of going into the backpack to get all those papers out makes your stomach turn. Trust me, a little bit every day is key to your mountains of paper.
I recommend that as soon as the paper comes in the door you make a decision on whether you will keep or toss that paper.
Once you've made decisions on which paper needs to be kept or recycled from the back pack, immediately put the items you want to keep on display. You don't need to overthink this or design this. It's just about getting them somewhere that is NOT the kitchen counter.Some options for display include:
1. Twine + Clothepins | Skill Level: Low Simply hang the twine on the wall with some command hooks or hang the twine on a bulletin board (small for individual display or large a bunch of items to display). It really is as simple as hanging strings and putting clothes pins on it.
2. Magnets | Skill Level: Low Another option is using magnets, which I love because the options for this are endless. You can paint an entire wall and use that as your art display. You can purchase magnet strips and put them on the wall.
3. Clips | Skill Level: Intermediate Below is an example of a DIY art display I have in my house where I used a narrow and vertical wall in my home to create a display for the kids artwork and accomplishments. I cut down small strips of wood and hot glued clips to the wood. I hung the wood to the wall with command strips.
I've curated some of my favorite display options in my Amazon store here.
Keep it safe
When you start to see your display getting a bit too big, it's time to file those paper treasures! I recommend parents set up a system for their kids when they are babies show below. The system includes a keepsake bin that has hanging files set up for kids as they grow from baby – high school. Once they've been on display for long enough, you can simply file those treasures into the bin.
If you're inspired and would like your own bin, you can purchase a Neat Little Nest DIY keepsake kit that includes a custom name label and the hanging file tabs here. You can find the box and files to complete the box here.
If you want to take your paper organization up a notch, you can create a one-pager for each year in your child's bin. You can buy a simple downloadable file here
The key to this organizational system working is upkeep. Without taking a few minutes a day to look through and make decisions on what papers you want to keep and what should go into the recycling bin, you will find the papers piling up quickly.
A lot of it is mindset. Create the systems and then challenge yourself for a week to review the kids papers everyday. You will likely find, as I did, that the majority goes into the recycling bin and by managing the papers once, you will cut down on the counter clutter significantly!