Make a File Caddy

What You Need:

  • Sturdy plastic filing crate with ridges for hanging files—we recommend at least 12 inches wide—big enough to contain all extra papers from your child’s schoolwork, plus extra forms for summer, extracurricular, and religious activities and school work if need be
  • 7–10 hanging file pockets, multicolored (ideally up to 10 different shades, but if this is hard to find, try buying two 5-color packs)
  • Matching multicolored manila folders
  • File labels
  • Pen
  • 5" x 8” index card, colored pens or pencils

What You Do:

  1. This file crate is designed to hold all major school papers that otherwise would end up stuffed in the black hole of your child's backpack or room. Your mission: to make sure that this box isn't just an extension of that disaster!
  2. Start by having your child write his name and this school year's date in big bold letters on the 5" x 8” index card. Have him decorate his name with the colored markers, and then tape the card securely on the front of the filing crate.
  3. To start, have your child choose a colored sliding folder for each school subject, and write a clear label on the top of each file. Generally, kids will have at least four folders: one each for Math, Science, Social Studies, and English; but you may also want to create a folder for special subjects. Make as many as you need.
  4. Help your child create additional sliding files for extracurricular activities such as music, scouting, or church, and one for summer camp and activity information.
  5. Place color-coordinated manila folders (based on the color of each file folder, or you can simply place colored tabs on each manila folder) in each of the sliding folders. Once a week—Sunday evening is a good time for this—invite your child to open up his notebook and backpack, and pull out all the papers that he has completed and no longer needs in class. Working together, place each one in its correct folder.
  6. For many kids, the process of filing papers gives them a sense of order and satisfaction, but for some, the process may take some more time. Don't hesitate to help every week until your child has it down. And if your child needs some extra encouragement, try making a “beat the clock” game of filing: how fast can he file a stack of five papers? Ten?

Soon your child will not only be more on top of his school work and his schedule, but he'll have established some valuable organization habits that will last him a lifetime!

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