I’m a single mom of four kids and have an organizational question for you . . . I’m like your husband Dave and crave neatness and no clutter… Just wondering what you do about school work/memorabilia that you want to keep, and how you limit it and organize it. It’s the end of the school year here (year-round school) and I’m dealing with the inevitable bring-it-all-home syndrome. They’re proud of their “stuff” and want to keep everything and I either throw things away when they’re not looking (and reap the tearful consequences later) or stash it to deal with later (which never comes). Thus, I am beginning to have a nice little collection and piles of paintings, essays, piano recital programs, etc., etc. Figured you had dealt with this and just wondered what your system is.
I thought this was a good question for today since we spent all weekend organizing our filing system around here. My kids brought things like this home from school on the last day:
Yeah, ummmm, you seriously carried that bag around all year, Elle?
My Dad will be pleased as punch to see that he carried this around for the last month or so of school:Anyway, all this junk in backpacks used to overwhelm me until my friend Nichole gave me my filing idea. (Thanks, Nichole!)
Now I LOVE to go through their stuff because I know what to do with it.
First of all, through the year whenever the kids bring something great home from school I stash it in my file drawer in my desk: I don’t know if you can tell from that picture but there’s a hanging folder titled “Kids’ School” and inside it I have a manilla folder for each child. I put sports stuff in there and ticket stubs too…whatever fun things they may love to look back on and reminisce some day.
At the end of the year I meet with each child individually and we gather their folder from my drawer as well as their backpacks which are plumb-full of “stuff” and we go through it all together. The toughest thing is to find enough time to set aside to do this but it is some serious quality time. I LOVE finding the notes and journals they’ve kept and getting to peek into that “other world” that separates them from me so much of the year. And they love having the one-on-one school-wrap-up-attention.
Oh man does that bring back the good old Jr. High memories or what? I LOVE getting that glimpse into school.
We pull down each child’s file folder box (they each have their own that we keep hidden away in top shelves of closets during the year) and file the stuff they deem “valuable” to keep. They only get one hanging folder for each year up to 12th grade so they really can’t keep a whole ton.
See that one that says “Kindergarten” below? There are folders like that for every grade.
Here’s a better look at Max’s:
When they come home with something too big to keep that they love we just take a picture of it:
That makes them feel like we really are “keeping” it without filling up their boxes…especially if I post that picture on this blog 🙂
Hope that helps!