Organising school paper documents

Following on from my ideas about going paperless, here is how I organise all the many sheets of paper I receive daily at school in preparation for scanning or somehow making it electronic, a solution which I personally find it highly effective.

In brief

The system uses a single lever-arch file and a set (or two) of dividers. The folder is effectively split into two parts: the main section at the front which deals with preps, blank paper and paper miscellany; and the subject section, split into the different subjects that I’m doing.

1. The Main Section

‘Paper’ is fairly obviously where blank sheets of paper are stored – lined, graph and blank paper. The next bit is prep. The first tab, ‘Set’, is where I dump all the homework sheets that need doing. Once the preps are completed the question sheet and my answers get stapled together and moved into the ‘Done’ section. When a prep gets marked it goes into the ‘Returned’ section which is scanned upon arrival home. The paper then gets shredded, leaving me with a bunch of scanned files on my HDD rather than a huge folder full of paper. The ‘Unis’ section is anything I pick up about university choices / preparation / general future education.

2. The Subjects Section

This bit is devoted entirely to subjects. Each subject has its own divider, and this section is used as a temporary cache for everything that isn’t prep (classwork, handwritten notes etc.) pending scanning and shredding upon arrival home.

Extra bits

There are always some special documents which don’t fit into any category in the system. The front of the folder contains my timetable (as can be seen in the first photo) and the back a load of transparent A4 paper wallets for anything that can’t for any reason be hole-punched.

The entire one-folder solution is incredibly simple but I’ve found it immensely effective as a system for getting everything from paper to HDD, and I hope this helps someone out there.


4 Responses to Organising school paper documents

  1. Anthony Collins says:

    I’m sorry, but it seems mither that there are several problems with this system:
    1. Shredding and scanning returned preps upon arrival home is an unwise and potentially lethal strategy: what if you need to refer to marked work (as I’m sure you oft do) WHILE AT SCHOOL? You can’t! Whereas storing this work under subject headings means you can just flip through and find the right thing. This cannot be done virtually. It cannot.
    2. Similarly with handwritten notes, what if you need to refer to a specific point whilst doing work at school: you can’t! Was für eine Katastrophe!
    3. Storing ALL prep set in a specific section isn’t necessarily a foolproof stratagem: some prep set is from a textbook or involves research, and this cannot be stored in the “Set Prep” section, as there is no prep sheet in the equation (though there might be equations in the prep). ‘Twould be better to store prep sheets under separate subject headings and utilise a “Prep Diary” to note down what you have to do.

  2. Bryant Tan says:

    In response and in brief as time is not plentiful at my end:

    1&2. Actually I scan them and then place a copy on my memory stick of my entire school folder, including all the scans. Thus if I need to refer to notes, the only tools necessary are a laptop and a memory stick – much better than 7 huge lever arch files in my opinion.

    3. I do have a to do list separately for all preps and indeed any other to do item – it’s simply convenient to have all prep sheets that need doing in one place so I can just sit down and work through a stack of papers every weekend. The to do list contains details of both preps on sheets and those from textbooks, and as I tick off items I realise which ones require textbooks (all of which reside on my bookshelf at home which is why I am often observed requesting the services of a spare S1 book or something in the atrium at lunch) and act according to the specific demands of each prep.

  3. Ben Dory says:

    This must be the most ridiculous argument I have ever seen. Personally I don’t see how anybody would be interested in the complexities of Bryant’s filing system anyway, there’s nothing special about it. Was fur ein dummes Argument.

  4. Bryant Tan says:

    Ben, if it offends your eyes to be shown the ‘complexities of Bryant’s filing system’ then please feel free to avert them. All I wanted to do was demonstrate how a very simple system of organisation can actually be very effective…

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