First Q&A from reader! What do I do with all of that school stuff at end of year?!

Last week I received an organizing question from a friend + reader {actually, I consider ALL of my readers friends – am so very thankful for each you : ) and I thought it’d be neat to share with you how I handle, and then get ideas from YOU!

{Kristen’s} QUESTION:  Now that school is out (YEAH!), I need to go through all the work and books, which seem to be growing!  What do you actually keep each year regarding the work and books?  Any tips on organizing what is kept?

{my} ANSWER:   That’s a great question, and one that I know tons of us with kids are dealing with this time of year, including me.  SO, I’ll take you on a picture tour of what I personally do:

1.  Throughout the school year, we receive the bulk of  stuff {classwork, tests, flyers} at end of week in Friday folders. That weekend, I’ll:

  • Go through folder together which each child
  • Put in my kitchen in-box anything that needs to be noted in calendar or to-do list
  • Save anything I characterize as “savable” {see #2}
  • Toss {recycle bin typically} everything else

2.  What I consider “savable” {most artwork, stories they’ve written, projects – reports, etc. – that were really well done, anything else memorable / funny / cute} goes into a long plastic bin under their bed (lid OFF – one less step!}

By the end of year, it looks like this:

The bins belong to each child {keep under bed}; the stuff behind bins are all the things they came home with the last week of school!

3.  After the crazy-ness of end of school is over, I pull out the bins and things they’ve brought home that last week. Quickly I toss at least 3/4 of stuff:

  • ALL workbooks
  • reports / projects {except the most stellar!}
  • binders + other supplies that have barely made to end of year

This is all of the stuff that was tossed! {This pic really doesn't do it justice - more in the room that's not showing up!!!}

What I keep:

  • Journals {I treasure!!!}
  • Final report card
  • Most art work {they bring these home at end of year – are just amazing what their art teacher teaches them!  We display some in family room}
  • Sample something to help remember what each did in that grade – and maybe the class schedule, welcome letter from teacher…
  • *****Extra-special things that make THEM feel special: for example, throughout 1st grade, one of our teachers had the students write something special about another classmate when he or she saw them doing something good.  And another time, each student wrote a journal page about the star student of the week and the kids received a bound copy at end of year with all of the wonderfully sweet things said about them.  LOVE LOVE LOVE – have a special place for these things for boys to look through when they need a little lift : )  *****
  • Supplies that are still usable

We keep all supplies that are still in good condition

While I did give the boys the option to go through with me, they opted out and so I did myself – MUCH faster! : )  This is what we end up with:

These are what the bins look like after clean out.

NOTE: These bins {above} also includes the keepers from past years. Since almost full, I’ll be devising a new system – may get rid of more. Having a limited space that you allow for keeping things such as this makes you prioritize / pare down. A good thing!


  • For 3-D projects, I’ll take a picture of child with project – and then toss project.
  • For 2-D stuff, I’ve considering scanning and then tossing originals. But for me, there’s something about the actual paper – may have a change of heart …
  • When deciding what to keep, think back to the stuff you have from when little and what you cherish most.

Would LOVE to hear ways YOU do it – and if it’s working great or needs improvement.  Please share below in comment section!

And, if you have any other organizing challenge, send my way. Looking for some more Q’s I can A on future posts!  

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