How to Organize Kids’ School Papers at Home: School Memory Box

How to organize your kids’ school papers at home, avoid paper clutter, and create a school memory box. Easy to make and to maintain!

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When school is in session, it means that a plethora of papers come home with my kids. Many of these are “treasures”–artwork, papers, pictures, and other keepsakes from their school years that I want to keep forever. They can pile up really fast, and but I love this system to organize and store all of their papers long-term. I’ve used for many years to organize all those special papers, and create a school memory box for each of them.

Organization is really the glue that helps keep our house running. Kids have a lot of stuff, and it can easily start piling up. Creating a place for everything has been key for me, and finding easy ways to store things–like organizing winter hats & gloves and toys and playroom storage.

School papers are unique in that they come home every day, in every child’s backpack. Some get returned to school, but there are often papers that I want to keep long term. I created a system when my oldest was in elementary school, and it works. It’s super easy. Easy to put together, and easy to maintain, which are both important, and vital to success.

School Papers Storage |

You may be thinking that the box is small for ALL those papers. Well–I’m here to tell you that it will most likely be plenty of room. With my oldest son, I kept EVERYTHING. Seriously, everything. I think I had two totes for kindergarten alone, lol.  That’s really saying something, because that’s not what I do–I’m usually a throw it away kind of girl, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of anything.

When he was in second grade, as the totes were piling high (and that was only with one child), I went back through them to clean them out. I realized that I had kept way too much. Going through it, I chose the things that I loved best, or that he loved best. I was able to condense it all into one file folder, and still feel like I had kept the treasures. This filing system, and have never looked back, 5 more kids later!


To create a school memory box, you’ll need:

  • File folder labels (download below)

You can find the plastic totes in some stores, and online. The following options come with multiple totes. If you don’t need 6, it would be great to share with a family member or friend who also wants to make them. Consider making them for baby gifts! It’s never too soon to start saving things.

TIP: If you’re at the store, look in the office supply section AND the plastic container section for the plastic totes–it can be in either one.

(Oh, and if you like them all to be matching like I do, you may want to buy some for future children.)

How to make

Once you have all of your supplies, it doesn’t take long at all to put a school memory box together.

  1. Download and print the file folder labels. (Printing info below.)
  2. Adhere the labels to the tabs on the file folders.
  3. Place a file folder inside a hanging file.
  4. Put the hanging files in the tote box in grade order.
  5. Add a custom name label to the front of the box if desired.

Now all I have to do is slide in papers I want to keep inside the coordinating file folder! I love these totes because they have a lid, which makes it easy to store, and keeps the papers safe from dirt and dust.  They can stack in a closet, on shelves, and they don’t take up much space, which is another huge bonus.

Artwork storage

Now…what about artwork?  It’s a good question, because you probably have had giant artwork come home, and have put it proudly on display. But then what? How do you store it long-term?

 I take a picture of the art I want to “keep” then save it onto my computer in a file labeled with that child’s name, i.e., “______ Artwork”. Sub-folders with each grade help me easily locate it, and know when the art was created. I get the pictures developed once a year, then file them in that year’s folders. You can even print them at home if you have the ability.

It’s an easy way to keep the art, but without it stacking up.  A few of the originals I have saved–those that are small enough to fit in the tote, but it seems like when they are in the younger grades (at least for my kids), the art has been over-sized.

School Papers Storage |

Download file labels

Included are two color schemes, so you have your choice. I can’t include the name labels because they are personalized, but you can create your own in Photoshop or online at Canva.

You can also purchase the matching personalized name labels from my Etsy shop. USE THE CODE OLDSALTFARM20 FOR 20% OFF!

How to print

Print the file labels on to Avery 8593 file folder labels.

If you make your own labels, print them on to full sheet white labels, 8.5 x 11, then cut in half.  There are also now half sheet white labels!


Where did you find your plastic totes?

This is one of the main questions I’m asked! They do carry them at some stores, such as Walmart and Target. If they aren’t in your store, you can get them online at several different places. I’ve included links in the “supplies” section to help you locate them. I love the ones with handles the best–they work well for long-term storage.

Do you have the name labels for the front?

Because they’re personalized, I can’t offer them here on this post. You can make your own, or I do have custom labels for sale on Etsy. You an find the link and a coupon code in the “download” section of this post.

School Papers Storage |

More organization ideas

Easy Kitchen Pantry Organization
Playroom Organization and Toy Storage Ideas

This storage system has worked so well for me, for multiple kids, and over many years! Happy to be able to share it with all of you.


*Originally posted 2014.

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