Children’s Keepsakes


Most mothers consider themselves the family historian and memory-keeper. A large part of that job involves processing mountains of school papers, preschool and camp creations, artwork and the like. If you don’t have systems in place for how to handle these items as they come into your home, they will quickly pile up and become stacks you dread facing. Postponed decisions become clutter. The school year will soon be wrapping up and kids will be bringing home giant shopping bags stuffed full of workbooks, projects, notebooks, crafts and masterpieces created in art class.

Before we discuss how to organize what you keep, let’s first address what and how much you should keep. Ask yourself-Why am I saving it? Is it so you or your child can look back on his progress or enjoy that funny story your daughter wrote about her sister in 2nd grade?  Those are great reasons to archive keepsakes, but you do not have to save everything. Be picky about what you keep.  Only the best and most personal things should make the cut. Set a limit on the number of things you will keep from each school year. Five to ten items per year should be sufficient for reminiscing. When your children are old enough, invite them into the process and allow them to decide what to keep.

Here are a few suggestions for ways to organize and honor their keepsakes:


Set up a document box with hanging files labeled K-12. You can pick up everything you need at a discount retailer or office supply store.  This is the best place to put special projects, research papers, creative writing and report cards from each year. Keep the box in a place that is easily accessible.




If crafts and artwork are bulky and oversized they can be stored in a clear lidded plastic container labeled with your child’s name.  Be sure each piece indicates the child’s name and the year or grade when it was done.  You think it won’t happen, but contents of one child’s box have a way of getting mixed with that of a sibling. Children love seeing their artwork on display.  The internet is full of ideas for ways to creatively display their masterpieces so they can be enjoyed.

Flat pieces of artwork can also be kept in a portfolio. You can easily flip through and see each piece. Container Store offers various sizes that are perfect for items large and small.

container store art portfolio

Remember that the systems you set up should be easy to maintain. Hopefully they will also eliminate the anxiety you may feel when you see them hop off the bus with a big smile and a bag full of treasures!  Remember, “A place for everything, and everything it its place!”

Clutter Back Guarantee

Simplicity’s “Clutter Back Guarantee”

Really?  Yes, really.  This doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for a company dedicated to helping you organize your home and your life.  But here’s how it works.

Simplicity works alongside of you, teaching you how to build systems and structures.  They help you organize one space at a time.  Simplicity leaves you with a beautiful home-and everything is in its place.  All is good…and then life happens.

Months and years later…

The pantry that was perfectly organized to accommodate baby food isn’t so perfect for preschool snacks.

The matching hangers that held toddler clothes are way too small for your growing middle schooler.

The warranties and manuals notebook or container is crammed to overflowing with information that relates to appliances and equipment you no longer own.

The playroom cabinets labeled and organized for Legos and dress up clothes are totally wasted now that your “little one” has her driver’s license.

Voila!  Clutter Back, Guaranteed!

The solution is simple.  Organizing isn’t a one-time fix.   Staying organized is an on-going effort.  Maintenance is the key to organizing success.  Having systems in place facilitates that effort but only so long as the systems continue to make sense for where your family is in its life cycle.  Change is inevitable.  It is important to recognize that systems aren’t carved in stone.  Systems are created for what is important to your life right now.  When one has outlived its useful life, it’s time to move on to another one.  This is not a failure.  It’s life.

So, the only way you’ll ever cash in on Simplicity’s Clutter Back Guarantee is if you let yourself get stuck with an outgrown, outdated system.  Be open to new ways of organizing and utilizing your space and you’ll be clutter- free.  Guaranteed!

Need a real life example?? Graham Hill made millions when he sold his tech start-up, but eventually he felt his swanky lifestyle was wasteful and made a drastic change, moving into a 420-foot home and scrapping the excesses. Watch more at the link below.

 Living with Less-Tech Millionaire downsizes to 420 Square Feet

Rightsizing Your Life


Whether it’s time to downsize, upsize or simply reconfigure the way you live in your current house, it’s all about rightsizing.  How do you decide what to keep and what to purge?  How do you cope with not only the physical, but also the emotional and psychological aspects of this major life change?  And what are the processes that will help ensure that your new environment best suits your new life?  In short, how do you see the promise, not just the problems, in moving forward?

“Rightsizing is a conscious, practical, and psychological evolution in the way one lives one’s life, a process that enables people to create new surroundings that will profoundly impact the way they feel and behave.  It leads to simplifying, decluttering, perhaps even redesigning one’s environment.  It may even prompt a move- either to smaller, more practical quarters or to a home that could be larger, but more suited to your needs.  The transition will, if executed properly, liberate you from many real-life burdens and free you in ways you cannot now imagine.”

All of this will be discussed in Simplicity’s next Lunch and Learn on Thursday, April 18th.   This session will use Rightsizing Your Life, by Ciji Ware, as our springboard.  The book is full of thoughtful and practical information but you do not need to buy or read in advance.  While our focus will be overcoming the emotional obstacles to rightsizing, Simplicity will offer plenty of practical suggestions for weathering such a change.

Rightsizing requires a good deal of introspections and honesty.  Questions are hard and answers might not come easily:

-Have you accepted that the living arrangement that worked in the past might not best the best for the future?

-How does your family really need to live now?

-How invested in this change are your significant others (spouse, partner, children)?

-Are you ready to let go of possessions that no longer serve you and how exactly do you accomplish that in a rational and orderly fashion?

If you’ve pondered questions like these, and answers point to a need for change, you’re ready to rightsize. A great first step is to join Simplicity and others on the rightsizing path at our Lunch and Learn.