Tame the Paper Clutter with Back to School Binders

This is my paper corner.  This is where every permission slip, information sheet, and printed schedule goes to die.  Every year, when school begins, I accumulate a pile of papers that just gets higher as the weeks go on.  I know what’s there, but I might forget about it until I actually need it.

Tame the paper clutter with back to school binders

This is no way to live, folks.  It’s time to get the paper clutter under control. A few years ago, I started using a new system to corral all my kids’ paperwork.  I have to say, it’s been life-changing!  Today, I’m sharing my magic system with you.  

All you need to know is one little word:

BINDERS.

Back to School Binders Free Printable

While you’re buying school supplies, pick up a cheap 1 1/2 inch binder for each of your kids.  You’ll also need the following:

  • 3 hole punch
  • Post-It Adhesive Divider Tabs 
  • Cardstock for printing

Set up Your Binder

Print out your dividers and attach a Post-It Divider Tab to each divider.  I’ve made up a set of free printables that can work for boys or girls for you to use in your binders. Click here to download them. If you have a special request for one I didn’t make, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I can whip something right up! 

Back to School Binders Free Printable

I organized my binders into the following sections:

    • Papers to Return to School – things like permission slips, order forms, or other communication that needs to go back within a week or two.
    • Weekly Newsletter and Communications – each child gets a weekly class newsletter that includes upcoming dates, important information, and what they are working on in class. I also get monthly newsletters from the school and the PTO, as well as other occasional communications that I want to keep safe for future reference.
    • Reading Lists and Book Reports –  this is a great place to keep instructions for long-term assignments and other helpful reference materials for class.  
    • Classroom Policies and Procedures – at the beginning of the year, we get a sheet from each classroom teacher, each “special area” teacher, and a large handbook from the school.  I like to keep these on hand for reference in case of any problems or questions.
    • Best Work and Report Cards If my child is really proud of a test or writes a great short story, I keep it here.  I also add in progress reports, standardized test scores, and quarter report cards here.

At the end of each school year, I move the things I want to keep to a file box I have for each child.  I also keep a favorite art project or two from each child.  I throw out the things I won’t need, and I am ready to start fresh for the next school year!

Now, I just need something similar for my ever-growing pile of mail…


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Valerie grew up Naperville, Illinois, and is a Midwestern girl at heart even though she spent 16 years in Phoenix. She moved to Marion in 2016 with her husband, daughter (14), and two sons (12 and 9). Valerie graduated from BYU with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She is a former band director, a current substitute teacher and accompanist, and an avid reader and crafter.