I have merged ideas from several different people to come up with the best way to keep my kids' school work well organized. Since it's the end of the school year, and I just finished the 5-step process, I'll show you how I do it.
1) The "Special Place"
Throughout the year, I have ONE place for each kid that I keep all of their school work. This keeps me from having to decide on a daily basis what to keep and what to toss; I just take the work out of their backpack, maybe remove something really special to hang on the fridge, and put the rest in the "special place". In our house right now, I have enough drawers to give each kid their own, so the "special place" is currently "The Drawer".
2) The Sorting
At the end of the year, I go through The Drawer and sort out the things I want to keep. It's much easier to trash stuff when I can see that there are 15 similar pieces of work-I don't feel so attached to each one. I try to choose things that show the child's development during the year. My favorite pieces, I scan so that I will always have a copy, and so I can include them in their yearly digital scrapbooks. Sometimes, if I'm in psycho-organizing mood, I laminate all of the stuff, but this year I'm out of the lamination materials, so that will have to be a project for another day.
3) The Beloved Box
It's a hand-dandy plastic box that are made for legal-size hanging folders. Each kid gets his or her own box.
4) The Folder and Labels
Each school year gets a folder. On the label, I put the grade, the school year (2008-09), where we are living at the time, and the teacher's name. Sure, I may be able to remember this stuff for a few years, but over time, with 4 different kids and numerous different schools and teachers, I am sure I will forget. I put the school work in the folder along with report cards and class pictures and any other odds and ends from the year.
5) The Big Folder
Over-sized art stuff goes into one of these babies (each kid has his or her own), making sure everything is labeled with a name and date.
And I'm happy to report I now have empty drawers again, ready for the next school year! (And yes, Janice, this makes me so happy, it deserves an exclamation point. :) )
Have a great weekend.
(One week from right now I'll be in Colorado, drinking milk. Maybe in Target. No, drinking milk in Target would be weird. Maybe I'll be drinking Dr. Pepper in Target, that would make more sense since I will have just gotten off of an all-night flight. Ahhhhhhh, I can't wait.)