>> Requested topic Paperwork is by far the most complex system to handle in the world of organizing. I have other posts on paperwork here and here. But for kid specific paperwork it can get complicated because these are not just papers. They are memories and important milestones for your children. And when all of the paperwork and artwork is covering you house, you might be left thinking, what are you supposed to do with all of this stuff? These gems are difficult to purge and can easily take over your whole home. Over the years I have developed a system that works pretty well for me. Although I only have on child, you can duplicate this for each child or really how ever it works best for you.
1 >> Consider your storage space. Your physical space might dictate what you save and what you get rid of. But in reality, you can't keep every scrap of paper your child brings home, even if you live in a larger house. So with that in mind, you'll need to get rid of some of it. When they are younger, it is easier because most of it is artwork. You can keep the really good stuff and then maybe get rid of the scribbles that don't have as much meaning. But as they get older, there are report cards, work sheets, certificates and immunization records. I created a three ring binder with a thicker 2-3" spine for each year. One for 1st grade, one for 2nd grade and so on. Using divider pages, I divided everything out into separate sections: artwork, worksheets, special cards, certificates, report cards and immunizations. I then keep only the best of the best artwork, the worksheets with the most improvement or 100% and the class projects they put the most time into. The page dividers will make it easier to find things in the future. Keep the immunization records in the front, as you will likely refers to these more often with camp and school registration. Don't forget to use the front and back pockets for things that can't get 3-hole punched or don't fit in a plastic sleeve. Think of this as a holding cell. At the end of the year, re-edit and then put your binder away in long-term storage.
2 >> Photos. Take photos of things that don't fit in the binder. Photos make a fun milestone because you can take one of your child holding the art piece, giving them a proud moment and you a smaller piece to archive (just the photo). Once you are sure you have the piece documented and it isn't the star of the house, quietly throw it out and make sure they don't see it in the garbage or they could get upset. Trust me, this is your house and your sanity. You are not doing anything wrong.
3 >> Let's be realistic. Every time my daughter comes home with all of her paperwork, some years more than others, I don't run to the binder and load / punch all of the pages and keep it organized on a daily basis. Instead I have a basket (and sometimes a drawer depending on the year and what my house looks like) dedicated to all of her paperwork. Yes, it's my trusty basket again. I think I've talked about this on two other posts about paperwork and organization already, ha! (see links at the beginning of this post). The only initial paperwork edit I will do is to look to see if something needs attention right away, like a signature for a field trip. Otherwise, I will put the papers in the basket and not think about them until later. As long as you have a temporary spot for the items you want to potentially save, where they aren't getting damaged or cluttering up surfaces, you are fine to keep them there until you have time to go through them. Or until the basket it full.