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End of the School Year–What to Keep What to Toss

Hooray!! School is out! Did your kids come home from school with a stack of papers and notebooks? A backpack overflowing with stuff? What do you keep and what do you toss? We have some suggestions for you!

If you have kids in school you know that at the end of the school year you have masses of paper coming your way. Your kids will be bringing home backpacks, folders, and binders full of papers, artwork, certificates, books, projects and more. It can be overwhelming. So what do you do with all this stuff? Well, the first thing is to realize you can’t possibly keep it all. Check out these tips for the end of the school year–what to keep what to toss!

How to Organize Your Kids End of School Stuff

homework notebooks

What to Toss

There are likely many treasures in your child’s school papers. But it isn’t all gold. The easiest place to start sorting is with the obvious toss-outs. Take a quick pass through your kids’ end of the school year papers and projects and throw out the things you definitely don’t need.

Examples of things you can throw out without a second thought include all duplicates, things you will never use again, worksheets, quizzes, tests, notes, and anything that isn’t special in any particular way. Just throw this stuff away. You’re not going to wish you kept your child’s spelling test from third grade.

Also make sure to throw out old-school calendars, newsletters, lunch menus, PTA meeting reminders and anything that was time specific and is now in the past.

What to Keep

The best criteria I’ve come across for which papers to keep comes from Organize365. Check out the complete post here. But the actual criteria for what to keep is simple. Plan to keep artwork, stories, anything with a handprint, and important certificates.

child artwork

Be Selective

The list of things to things to hold on to is helpful but it doesn’t solve everything when deciding what to keep at the end of the school year. Depending on your child’s age and school there can be a mountain of artwork, not all of which you need to keep.

It’s best to look at each art project individually. My oldest daughter loves to draw. I keep art that is particularly unique or impressive. Or things I know she worked hard on and is proud of. But I don’t keep all 3,000 sketches of dinosaurs she did this school year.

Even anything with a handprint can be too much. One class my daughter was in did handprint crafts at least once a week. I kept the cutest and most fun. But some were generic and I felt ok to let go of them.

Your kids should also have a say in which papers and projects make it into the “keeper” pile. Ask them if there is anything they are particularly proud of. Anything they want to keep for their own reasons that you might not have thought of.

Your kids might also be able to help you decide what school stuff to toss. Especially older kids. They may have no attachment at all to their perfect attendance certificate or their big project on Morocco. It may be that they can help YOU let go of some of the things that can be tossed.

school books

Organize What You Keep

No matter how much of your children’s school papers and projects you decide to keep, you’ll want to make it organized. There are a number of ways to go about this.

Some families use binders or storage bins. I like this post describing how to create memory boxes to store school papers.

However, you decide to organize, get started at the beginning of your summer. There is no sense in having a pile of papers hanging around for three months or longer. With these simple criteria, you can cut down the end of school clutter in no time.

Parenting--End of the School Year--What to Keep, What to Toss--The Organized Mom

About the author

Elizabeth Voyles

Elizabeth Voyles (@evoyleswrites) is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in parenting and organization topics. In between writing gigs, Elizabeth loves hanging out with her husband and their two young daughters, binge watching shows on Netflix and reading trashy romance novels.

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