PROCESSING AND ORGANIZING 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.
CRAFTS AND ARTWORK
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.
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!”