Clutter Cutters & The Paper Academy

Cut the Back to School Paper Chaos with this Simple Paper Organizing Trick!

With school starting again soon, I wanted to share this trick that I learned and implemented in our home. It saved me so much stress, de cluttered the school work, and gave structure to all of the school papers that came into the house. 

When my boys were younger, they would come home with all this graded and completed schoolwork and newsletters. We would go through their backpack, look at what they had, complete whatever forms needed completed, and then… I learned early on that I needed to have a specific location for all these papers or else they were going to drive me crazy.  

So my solution:

  1. I got a box or basket that was large enough for papers to lay flat in and placed all the school papers and art inside this box. This worked pretty well until my second son started school and then it just became a jumbled mess.
  2. I realized that I needed each child to have their own box/basket and that helped a lot.  
  3. I labeled each child’s box/basket.

But then…the boxes started to overflow – so I created another solution:

  1. At the end of each grading period (quarters or semesters) my boys and I would go through and choose our favorite art pieces and really great school work. We each limited our choices to 10-20 per person – these were going to be the keepers.
  2. We then recycled everything but the keepers.
  3. Then we created a permanent home for the keeper papers.
  4. It was really helpful to have a predetermined day and time that I could tell the boys (then they knew what to expect and it kept the grumbling to a minimum).

We took 1-inch 3-ring binders and placed the keeper papers in sheet protectors and then labeled the outside of the binder. I now have a binder for each child’s school year, and not only do I enjoy looking at all the past binders, they would also bring out the binders and show the best art/school work off to our family when they came over. 

Here are some of the surprising things that I discovered by doing this:

  1. I had a place to reference all the past school newsletters, so if I had a question I knew where to look to find the answer.
  2. There are a lot of papers that come home, especially through the elementary and part of the junior high time frames.
  3. If there was ever a time when the teacher thought that my boys hadn’t turned in their homework, we knew exactly where to go to find the graded paper and show them it had been graded, it just hadn’t made it into the gradebook. 
  4. This helps your child see a hierarchy of items and teaches them the skill of editing. 
  5. My boys have enjoyed going back and looking at how much they have learned and how far their art has advanced. I enjoy having them all in one place that I can easily look at and it brings wonderful memories.

So if you are tired of having all these random school papers all throughout the house, grab a small basket or box that the papers will lay flat in, place each child’s name on it, and then they will know exactly where the papers go after you’ve looked at them. Then both of you can go through and pick out what’s going to transfer over to the memory book at the end of the quarter or semester.

Are you interested in implementing paper systems like the one above, but don’t feel like you have the time or motivation to get started? 

Consider joining my LIVE Support and Accountability Group Class! 

When you join, you’ll receive: 

  1. Virtual Group Paper Organizing: We meet for one hour each Wednesday from 10am to 11am PST. 
  2. Live Group Support & Accountability: I’ll be there with you on the video call to provide support, encouragement, and guidance. I check in weekly to see how you are doing, what you would like to work on next, and help you set obtainable goals.
  3. A Safe and Welcoming Group Environment: The groups are always supportive, safe, and non-judgemental. No matter your situation or progress, all of us will be cheering you on. Groups are limited to 8 people to keep class sizes small and ensure everyone gets the opportunity for individualized support along the way. 

When you sign up, you will receive access to the group for one month. From there, you can choose to keep your subscription going for months to come, so you can set aside dedicated time to achieve all of your paper goals!

Click here to learn more and sign up for the fall session! 

Read More Blogs

Terina Bainter

I started my professional organizing business, Clutter Cutters, in 2012 to help others reach their potential by decluttering and organizing their homes. Having someone support you and teach you how to break each decluttering task into a step-by-step process makes any overwhelming project doable. Helping my clients create and maintain streamlined systems of organization is so rewarding! 

Through my work as a professional organizer, I have learned that the number one thing that clutters people’s homes and stresses them out is paper! That is why I founded The Paper Academy, to help my clients learn how to sort their mail, process their important papers, and create filing systems that keeps them on top of their paperwork. 

Ultimately, my goal is to help you improve your life and save you money by reducing the anxiety, time, and expense that your cluttered environment causes. Learning the skills to manage your items and your paperwork is the perfect place to begin your organizing journey!

Everyone deserves to feel empowered in their home and confident with their paperwork – including YOU!