Monday, August 5, 2013

Back to School Paper Organizer

It's August - which means that school will be starting soon for most people. For most parents, I think it's a bittersweet time. After spending all day, every day with them during the summer, they're ready for a break. They're tired of the fighting and bickering. But, I think most parents also want to just keep their kids home with them and not see them grow up. One thing that I love about the Back to School "season" is the new school supplies and the organization. Call me crazy, but as a child, I loved going through my new supplies, writing my name on them, and organizing them in my backpack. This went on even through high school and college!
Now, as a parent, I don't have to do that for my own supplies, but I do still get into organizing mode during the back to school time. My son was in preschool last year and I was overwhelmed with the amount of papers he brought home. They were all his creations and I felt terrible that I didn't have room to store them all. So when Michaels contacted me to participate in their Back to School Adventure, I jumped at the chance to add some much needed organization to our school papers.
I wandered around Michaels looking for some inspiration for paper organization. I had quite a few ideas pop into my head as I wandered, but then the best idea hit me. This is what I came up with.
I saw a large, rectangular box with hanging folders inside of it, and I knew it was exactly what I needed. I had seen smaller boxes and thought about using those, but they didn't have the hanging files. I also wanted something a little oversized, because the papers that my son brings home aren't always the normal 8.5"x11" size papers. This box is made by Iris and is about 9"x18"x14". It also includes 3 hanging folders, but Michaels sells additional packs of folders.
To made this cool paper organizer, here's what I used:
-Iris Hanging File Scrapbook Case (approx. $16.99 - but use a coupon!)
-Hanging File Refills (they come in sets of 3, however my Michaels was currently out of the refills)
- Vinyl in your chosen color and cut in your chosen design
-Transfer Tape
-Label Maker
-All the school papers that are taking over your house
First off, use the label maker to make your grade labels. I started with preschool, since I still have papers from preschool.
I only made labels for preschool through 6th grade. First of all, I don't have all the necessary hanging files to create one for every grade yet. Plus, I can't remember if I was still bringing home (and if my mom was saving) papers from middle school/junior high. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. The great thing is that I can always add more files to this!
Add the labels to the top of the hanging files.
Then add the vinyl to the front of the container.
Put the papers into the appropriate years and now you're all organized!!
To help cut down on the paper clutter, before implementing this system, I was using my camera and scanner to keep images of all the papers my son brought home. If I didn't want to keep the hard copy, I would throw it away. However, I made sure to save the hard copy of the really special and important ones. This let me avoid the mom guilt of throwing his hard work away, but helps me keep my sanity because my fridge and counter aren't overrun with paper clutter. My idea is to then use those images to document each school year using pictures from school and the images of his work. I can use sites like Shutterfly or Snapfish to create a photo book and then we can easily see his work in review.
Looking for more Back to School inspiration? Michaels has a Back to School Lookbook to help get those creative wheels turning. You can also check out our Back to School Categorically Crafting Party for more projects and ideas.

(I received compensation for the products in this review in the form of a gift card provided by Michaels. All opinions expressed in this review are my own).

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