It is back to school time. Most kids have started their first few weeks by now. When I think about back to school I am reminded of my treasured art work and school papers I brought home from school. A few vividly stick out in my mind.
A memory of mine dates back to when I was nine years old. My mom used to save all of our school paperwork, art work, awards and memorabilia. Her system was to throw everything into a box. We had 6-8 cardboard boxes of varying sizes in the basement filled with the kids school work. It was not stored in an organized fashion but just thrown in. the box. These boxes were the medium and large moving boxes.
One year my mother and I started the process of sorting through the paperwork. We picked out only the very best pieces for each child. We didn't always choose product, what the final out come looked like. We also based our selections on humor, process, and what type of memory it brought about.
As we were sorting through the paperwork my moms diamond fell out of her wedding ring. We searched and searched but to no avail we could not find it. The diamond in her ring was gone. My dad replaced it .
Years later again my mom and I were sorting through our school work. As we finally fished the last piece of paper out of the bottom of a box, there in the corner, something glittered something reflected the light. My mom reached down and low and behold there was her diamond, the one that came loose from her wedding ring years earlier.
She had that diamond made into a necklace with a nice story to go along with it.
My mom died before I got married. When I did get married I gave that necklace to my than fiance. He took the diamond and had it made into a engagement ring for me. Now every time I look at my ring I think of this memory, the experience of sorting through all of those childhood memories with my mom, the laughter we shared. To me this is priceless.
Even though this experience of sorting through paper work created some great memories, It is not an ideal method of storing your children's paperwork. Not all outcomes will result in finding a diamond at the end.
Here are a few tips to help you figure out what stays and what goes. Everyone might have a slightly different system. Use what works for you and your family so it is functional for you.
Throw away anything that is torn, or stained.
For your child's most treasured works, find a place to showcase them. Kitchen Cabinets, the refrigerator, frame some pieces and hang them on the wall.
If the work is to large to store, take a photo of the art work.
Rotate art work out seasonally so you can put up new ones.
At the end of the summer we take all of the art work down off the kitchen cabinets right before the new school year starts. Making room for the new pieces to come home.
Choose one bin and only one bin to store your child's work. You need to put a limit on allowable space.
Every piece of work is precious to your child. They will not want to throw anything away. You need to be the executive decision maker. At times your child can be part of the decision making process and at other times you need to step in and set limits.
A good way to help your child navigate through the paper clutter is help them by giving them specific guidelines. For every 5 pieces of art work that comes home, your child is allowed to save two. This is just an example. Tweak it to meet your needs.
Things to save:
Non School Keepsakes-My kids were in a play. I saved my ticket stub and the program.