Thursday, June 16, 2016

Organizing Your Kids' School Memories

Is there anyone else out there relieved that it's summer, simply because it means that your kids are not bringing home 1,046 pieces of classwork & artwork each day?! (It's ok to raise your hand.)
Now, don't get me wrong. I want to know what they are learning each day. I want to see if they did well on their homework. I want to see what masterpieces they create at school. And oh, how I love anything with handprints!!!
{But seriously, the amount of paper they bring home can be overwhelming.}
Because this is by far the #1 thing my friends & clients ask me my opinion on, I'm going to let you in on a little secret:

I throw away most of it.

Now, you can judge me if you want. Or call me a bad mom. Or say, "oh, my kids would have a fit if I did that!" But, I'm here to tell you that I learned early on (my kids are 6 and 8 now) that it is not humanely possible to keep every.single.piece.of.paper my kids bring home. It's just not. Unless you want to fill up a storage unit with their paperwork & artwork from Pre-K up until they graduate high school!

Now, my system may not be for everyone. But, for those interested,  I wanted to share the system that I've found to work the best...
Everyday after school, I put the contents of their folders into a hanging file on the wall. Each kid = own folder. See below; this is the "command center" in my house:
 Then, at the end of each week, I go through the folders and only pull out only a few pieces to keep. A painting they were really proud of, a math test that we studied really hard for, etc. And the keepers go into tubs (pictured below).
*More on that later*
Let's back up for a moment. Because I realize that most of you are probably sitting on a few hundred pieces of paperwork/artwork from your kids' most recent school year right now. You didn't whittle it down during the year, and now you're staring at a huge pile and you're completely overwhelmed. Maybe you have 5 years of school memories staring at you! Well, I'm here to tell you that NOW is the time to get a handle on it.
For one hour a day, while your kids are in summer camp, or maybe even after they go to bed..... set a timer for one hour. Look through each pile to narrow down the pieces you really want to keep. If you have 27 pieces of artwork that have a cute little handprint on them and you can't bear to let one go, you must. Keep a piece or two from the beginning of the year, some from the middle of the year, and one or two from the end of the year. It's that simple! Same with pieces with their cute little handwriting....keep a few pieces throughout the year to show their progress. And then I am giving you permission.
Once that timer goes off, walk away from the piles. Because yes, you will be creating a lot of piles here! Do this for one hour a day for maybe a week, and I guarantee you will make huge progress and not be so overwhelmed!!!
Now for the fun part......Once you're finally down to the paperwork you want to keep, it's time to create a system. I got these plastic tubs at Office Max but really you can find similar ones anywhere. Click here to find the link to mine.
But the real key to my system is the folders. Get 2" expandable hanging folders like these.
Designate one folder per grade level, starting at PK-3. And I have mine going up to grade 12.
I made some simple labels in Microsoft Word, and voila!
You have a school memory box for your child.

 photo 123-sig_zpsfaf346b8.jpg

1 comment:

  1. I throw most of it away, too, but the stuff I have left is still too much.... I like this idea!!