We moved homes right before school resumed, and during the chaos of all of the boxes, I was so proud of myself for tackling all the beloved take-homes from grades past of my daughter’s school projects and such down to one box.
Do you have a stash under a bed or in a closet somewhere of all the handprint turkeys from Thanksgiving art, stories about imaginary lands, and of course, the report cards? I had three shelves of Sterilite containers full of schoolwork, and we weren’t even done with the third grade when the guilt closed in on me….I want my shelves back, but I don’t want to be a bad mom and throw away all of the masterpieces.
I also did not want to be the mom who does keep 75 containers of memories and then dumps them on my adult child when we one-day turn her room into a craft room because they moved into their own house.
What to do?
Ok, so I sat down and took all the boxes and binders off the shelves and consolidated into one container that will now house everything from preschool through senior year. Gasp, how am I thinking about senior year when we just began fourth grade? Anyway, I digress.
If your kids are starting to come home with projects, as I hope they are because it really is a sign of joy and hope that they are creating again with their peers and teachers, try this simple idea to keep it all in order.
Build a curation of your child’s work….a highlight reel if you will. Starting this now also helps because I have a hard time sorting out what was done which year and I only have one child to keep up with! Sorting through the past works and keeping the things you love that they made for you or something they were really proud of, or if they wrote a funny story is a way to build a time capsule that shows who they are–a phonics worksheet, not so much.
Basically, the things that spark all the joy and will be the best memories of the school years.
Now that you have the ‘best of’ narrowed down, all you need to complete your project is a large file bin. I like this particular Sterilite one because it should be large enough for years to come. You will also need some hanging file folders with tabs that you can label a tab for each grade.
Once you’ve set up your file folders with the labels of each grade, you can fill the folder with the items you curated. Then, you can set up additional boxes for each child.
Our school sends home most of the projects and things I will want to keep at the end of the year, which I love because I can sort through all the items together with my daughter. But, if your school sends things home weekly or monthly, maybe you will want to go through the items once a month to edit down and put in the file box, and then at the end of the year, you might want to go through again to make sure what’s in there really is a representation of their best!
To me, setting up all the kid-files like this also makes it easier for you to go down memory lane in a fun way together with your child at any stage of life. And, when they are ready to spread their wings and move into a place of their own, you only have one box for them to pack up.