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Every piece of paper your child ever touched...

When my son was young he brought so many things home from school. Artwork, assignments, name tags, or any interesting tidbit that he was sure should be kept forever. I saved a lot, but not everything. It can be hard to know what to keep and what to do with things, but if we don’t make some decisions, we’ll end up with 4 years-worth of papers scattered around the house which can be really overwhelming! The end of the school year is a great time to make sense of this stuff. Here are a few thoughts that might help you get started!

Some people like to save everything their children touched, and others save nothing. Either way is fine and most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Start with considering why you want to keep things. Is it for you to look at in the future and remember what your little one was like? Or is it for them to remember their experiences? What is most significant to remember about this time?

Once you identify what is important to you, and what will make you and your child smile when you look at it in 10 years, then you want to sort things. If your child draws pictures every day, you might not need to save all 300 of them. Pick out your favorites.

To give a deeper picture of who your child was this year, you might want to keep awards, certificates, sports photos, or other items of note with the schoolwork. That will paint a more rounded portrait of your child. I saved items from my son’s summer camps, sports participation, special cards, or invitations he received.

Next, consider how and where you will save them. I discourage cardboard boxes in the basement. I feel there is too much chance of bugs, dust, mold, or something worse getting into those boxes. If your basement doesn’t have any of this, then keep it that way by not giving bugs any reason to come in! (This is especially true with seed art.)

If you use plastic bins to save children’s memorabilia, which is a good idea, take an extra moment to label the box with the child’s name (if you have multiple children), grade, and the year. Down the road it can eliminate a lot of guesswork.

If you have time, it can be nice to put everything in a binder or scrapbook that can be paged through. Larger artwork can be photographed and printed so it can be included. The book could be very simple with just items in page sleeves and an inexpensive binder, or it could be a very fancy scrapbook. (Before you put hours and hours into this remember that your grown child might not be sentimental and may have no interest in keeping them – are you ok with that?)

Most importantly, have fun! And if this becomes stressful then either let it all go or throw it in a box and focus on spending quality time with your kids. That will build their character, strengthen their relationship with you, and create memories that will be more meaningful than a macaroni necklace.

Simple binder with child’s art and schoolwork in page sleeves.

Creative work added to a photo album or scrapbook.


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