How to Create a School Memory Box {Easily Organize Papers and Memorabilia}

IN THIS POST: Learn how to create a school memory box that will make you feel like the most organized mom ever. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and believe me when I say it is THE easiest way to organize and store school papers and memorabilia!

top view of school memory box with text how to store school paperwork and memorabilia

When our little ones begin school, it seems like overnight we’re buried under an avalanche of stuff that comes home daily. Without a plan, figuring out how to store school memories and papers turns into an insurmountable task.

Making this memory box for school papers is the best way to set yourself up for success when it comes to keeping the ‘right’ papers and treasured memories for each of your children.

Tip: Do this NOW… and it doesn’t matter if your little one is in preschool or about to graduate from college. 

Also… don’t forget to set up a system to keep track of your other household paperwork with my paper organizing tool recommendations. (Because everyday papers are just as important as school memories.)

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The Purpose of a School Memory Box

First, let’s be brutally honest: You don’t HAVE to keep any of your child’s school papers or all those things to ‘help you remember.’ 

The only items your child actually needs are a high school transcript and diploma. Plus, the transcript is now usually delivered electronically to colleges, so keeping a paper copy is becoming more rare.

That said, we as parents usually feel better when we keep some of those papers and memorabilia. (Think high school graduation party!) Which means this school memory box is really for us, so keep that in mind.

Honestly, it’s a pretty safe bet that you will rarely look inside a memory box after your children graduate. But when you do, it’s so nice to have everything in one place!

Eventually, this box of stuff will probably become your child’s responsibility. Don’t be sad if your child isn’t as interested in those old school papers and childhood memory items as you are. 

That is also why we need to set a space limit. Don’t burden them with reams of papers and bins full of kindergarten art projects and baby clothes.

Keep this whole project small and easy.  

Materials You Need to Organize School Files and Memorabilia

Here’s what you need to create your school memory box:

  • Plastic hanging file box. One for each child. I like the letter/legal size, which is easy to store and holds enough ‘stuff’ — but not too much.
  • Letter-size hanging file folders. I like the 20-count white folders with built-in third-cut tabs. They look clean and pretty inside the file box.
  • File folder labels for printing grade years. These aren’t absolutely necessary, as you could write the years by hand, but they make for a neatly finished look.
  • Good heavy paper for printing annual information sheets. Inkjet printers produce better results on heavy matte presentation or photo paper.
  • Sticker paper to print name labels for the front of the bin. If you’re crafty, you can create name labels with a Cricut or other cutting machine instead of printing.
how to create a school memory box with letter legal file box white file folders and file labels

That’s it! You’re ready to get down to the work of organizing all those old school papers and childhood memories. 

Your Secret Weapon: The School Memories Storage Box

I know, I know… if you’re staring at a mountain of papers and art projects because your child is already a few years into school, this whole process doesn’t seem easy. But take heart, because it will go much faster than you think!

Here’s how to create a complete school memory box step by step:

how to create a school memory box with letter legal file box white file folders and file labels
white file folders and avery 8593 file folder labels ready to use to organize school paperwork

1. Set up your new box with folders.

Label folders with preschool through senior years. You could also do baby/toddler years and college if you want to keep more than just school memories.

printouts of grade level school memory pages and file folder labels to organize school paperwork

2. Print yearly information pages.

I used these free printable school year pages. They turned out so cute!

Because my children were both older when I made their memory boxes, I had to go back and fill out many years of information. I was surprised at what I had forgotten, which is why I recommend not waiting to create your own box!

bin of childhood memory items ready to organize in a memory box

3. Gather and sort all of your child’s school papers and memorabilia.

I happened to have quite a few of my son’s things in a large plastic bin. I also found a bunch of his school papers in the filing cabinet, which I transferred to the new plastic hanging file box.

white memory box with organized school papers in white files

4. Place papers in the correct file year.

You’ll notice that as your children get older, there are a LOT fewer papers 😉

5. Store memorabilia in the rear half of the file box.

This doesn’t have to be limited to school items. You can also store other keepsakes from your children in here… special baby outfit, baby blanket, etc.

6. Make a name label for the front of the bin.

I made a label in Canva with their free graphics and then printed it on sticker paper. A label that’s about 5.5″ x 4.25″ (one quarter of a U.S. regular piece of paper) works very well.

And….. you’re done! The image below is my older son’s completed memory box with all of his school papers, baby and toddler information, and a few memory items that I still need to keep. You know… because I’m a mom. 😉

side view of completed school memory box

How Do You Decide What School Memorabilia to Keep?

First, toss anything that you don’t remember why you saved or that’s extremely damaged.

If your children are quite young, you may feel like you should keep everything — but you really don’t need to.

Sort through their papers and projects each week and choose ONE item to keep. Place it in the school memory box.

Learn to cull the box annually. For each school year, keep the year-end report card and 3 or 4 special papers or projects from the year. 

Do NOT keep every progress report or the entire file of papers the teacher hands you at parent-teacher conferences.

Get a handle on all of that paper now, and you will make your life so much easier as the years progress!

More Organizing and Decluttering Help

Declutter Tips for When You’re Overwhelmed With Too Much Stuff

The Simple Refrigerator Command Center You’ll Actually Use

How to Organize a Small Master Closet

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white file box and file folders with text overlay easily organize childs memories and school papers

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