Since it's currently summer break, and I've a bit more time than normal, I've been organizing my old notes. I seem to have an almost unwieldy amount of old handouts and tests from classes previously taught. I'm hesitant to get rid of these, as they may provide useful for some future course. Because I adjunct at a few different colleges, with slightly different course content, I find that a lot of these materials are useful for multiple classes. I've begun organizing them according to specific content, but I'm curious, does anyone have an organizational style that they have found useful?
While my data organizing problems are usually more related to research, they still often involve notes, papers, and sheets of data collection interview items that are much like handouts.
One solution that I have used (although I am still perfecting it) is to scan everything and get rid of the paper copies.
Once I have electronic copies of things, a number of organizational methods are possible. The most obvious is a hierarchical organization, which can be accomplished in any computer's file system folder structure. As a bonus, if you have some sort of cloud storage, store or mirror your file structure there so you can browse your scans any time.
The limitation of a hierarchical system is that you can only put a scan into one folder. That handout may have been useful for multiple projects or classes. So, a system that allows tagging is better if you need to be able to find one handout but you would like to remember that you used it in your most recent class (because you don't remember what class you first used it in).
Tags allow you to create a new tag for every use (or class). Then you can (and should) tag the handout for every use you have considered.
Example: lets say you decide to use Evernote to store all your scanned notes. It allows tagging. You have a handout you particularly like. You put it into Evernote and tag it with a subject matter tag. But then you also create a tag for the class you used it in. Finally, you add the "handout" tag that you give all your handouts. Now you can find the thing by scanning the list of handouts, or by remembering one of the classes you used it in, or by remembering the subject matter.
You can see that my main concern is finding stuff later. Information can pile up, and it's nice to have things like this easily retrievable.
Here's the getting started guide for Evernote. If you're going to scan your notes, that can be tedious. But you did say you had some time.
I find that the most efficient way to store things is to scan them in. You will hopefully find that the photocopier at your school can batch-scan and email the copies to you, or put them on a USB.
After that I give them very descriptive names according to a naming scheme, so that they easy to search for. By storing them in my dropbox or google-drive folders, they easy to access on my iPad etc. as well as my laptop.
I use schoology.com to keep my notes and such.
It's great because it goes where I go plus it's free for both students and teachers.