Happy Halloween parents!!! Anyone else noticing that spooky growing pile of back-from-school paperwork??
Yep, we’ve made it a whole two months in our area and my kids’ paper piles are looking more like a mountain. We just had a kindergartner start this year so it’s extra, extra (and so freaking cute). I knew going into this year something needed to change. We have four kids in three different schools and a whopping 1500 sq ft house. The previous system I had wasn't working, it consisted of individual storage bins for each year but times four. Seriously, that’s a lot of space that I don’t have.
After perusing Pinterest, years ago, I came across a file box folder system and it got the wheels turning. The idea is great for organizing and keeping down clutter. You have one box with files to fit from Pre-K to 12th grade and each folder is their own year. Throughout the year you add to it, keeping it centralized is key. I used to wait till the end of the year and chuck it all into those bins without really judging whether something was really “save-worthy”.
So what would be “save-worthy” you may ask? Well that truly depends on what you value in your own child’s work, but here are some things to consider:
Artwork - I feel like this is given, but kids’ artwork is awesome. Not only do you get to see your childs’ creativity but it’s incredible to see their progression of skills if you decide artwork is something you want to keep.
Stories/Poetry - It’s such a pleasure to read something that your child wrote. I love the things they write when being challenged to think about something enough to put it down into words. It’s another great way to get a snapshot into your child’s creative mind.
Letters - I love the candidness of the letters that kids produce. It’s almost like a bit of journaling and you can really see the progression of communication skills.
Handwriting Practice - Again, it’s all about showing your kids the progression of their skills. I think sometimes we tend to forget how much practice goes into the things we do daily and take it for granted. Learning to write whether print or cursive is challenging.
Tests - If your kid struggles in a certain area, let's say math, and they score 100 % on that multiplication quiz it might be worth holding on ot. I like keeping one test from the beginning of the year and one towards the end of the year. It’s a good tangible reminder to show that their hard work and dedication really does pay off!
Awards/ Certificates/ Ribbons - Something to celebrate and a great memory!
Anything That Shows Off Your Kid’s Personality - Really, I don’t keep workbook pages, unless my kid wrote some hilarious commentary or doodled something really insightful. The goal is to gift this to your child someday and show them how much you valued their hard work, their personality, and to give them a moment with those fun memories!
You’ll get more into the hang of how to be judicious for your own kid’s stuff as you get into the habit of sorting. For me it feels freeing not to keep every scrap of paper. I hope for them, they’ll not feel like they have to tediously go through it someday and it’ll be a joy.
There are other systems that I have considered and tried, such as a binder but then I had to buy those plastic sleeves for the important papers and it got to be hundreds of them. Without the sleeves, the papers would run the risk of being damaged depending on the space that you have to store them. However I have had people use this method and it was a great success for them.
Another system I just learned about recently was an App called Keepy - from the description “Keepy allows you to curate your family’s photos, videos, artwork and more in one safe space. You can privately share your memories with loved ones” Which is an amazing option for sharing with grandparents who live far away. You also have the flexibility to be able to print your memories as photo gifts directly from the app or the web.
No one is lying to us when they say “it goes by fast”. I know it almost seems cliché we hear it so much but trying to capture and save those memories can feel overwhelming with trying to keep up all the daily tasks that parents are constantly doing. Hopefully with a little bit of time and investment, it can become a manageable system that you won’t even have to think twice about.
What have you found to be most helpful in managing school papers and memorabilia??
-Amy Perry Owner of SnoofyBee LLC