My kids are only one and three years old, and already the school work they bring home is overwhelming. We bring it in from the car every day, ooohh and ahhhh over it appropriately, and then put it in a pile on our kitchen counter where it will sit for two or three weeks until I get tired of looking at it and throw the entire pile into the trash. Then, Chris will snap at me that I am not sentimental enough and that I’m trashing our children’s childhoods and I will take a flashlight and go out to the trashcan at the end of our driveway in my pajamas at 10:00 at night and try to dig out memories. Which will then be placed on the kitchen counter in a pile that I will throw out when I get tired of looking at it.
Those finger paintings are vicious instigators, I tell you.
A while ago on Pinterest, I found this nifty way to sort and keep paperwork your kids bring home. I pinned it, but never had the time or money to buy all the supplies to organize myself. And then, a co-worker gave me some office supplies they weren’t using and lo’ and behold! It was the exact stuff I needed for my little project!
Here’s what you need:
A crate or hanging file organizer
12 hanging files per child
Hanging file tabs
I forgot to take a picture of my hanging file crate, but here is one very similar from OfficeMax. Mine has wheels so that I can wheel it into our closet, but you could go with whatever you need.
Next, you label each hanging folder with a year in school. I started with ages because my kids are in daycare, so I have One Year Old, Two Years Old, Three Years Old, Four Years Old, and then I begin the years in school – kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, etc.
Because I have two kids, I have two sets of file folders in this crate. If I had the money and time, I would go out and buy pink hanging files and blue hanging files to color code the kids, but instead I just put their name on each folder to help me distinguish. All of Bean’s folders are in the front and all of Gracie’s are in the back.
On Friday afternoon while I was out of school and the kids were still in daycare, I sorted through the keepsake artwork that I had shoved into my jewelry box drawer over the past couple years. I put the artwork into the correct child and correct year. It was easy, quick, and when I was done, I had half a drawer freed up!
As for what I chose to keep, I am picky with what I hold onto. Anything that they just color, trace, or is pre-printed like a worksheet, I toss. If it is handmade by the kids, then I usually hold onto it if it’s in good quality. And anything with a finger, hand, or footprint is a definite keeper! I’m a sucker for my kiddos tiny body parts! I also keep most things that have an actual picture of the kids. Here are a few things I held aside for Gracie:
Her first Thanksgiving poem…
Her first Christmas ornament…
Bean had a few more items to save because he’s a little older and his artwork is actually made by him now. I saved this little rain cloud with his name spelled out because it was the first time he spelled his name out at school. Plus, I thought this was a really cute project!
And I saved this little construction paper duck because Bean Man made it all by himself – he even cut out the legs!
I also saved this finger painting because I thought it was super creative. Bean had to move his hands to the music they were listening to. So, sometimes he moved them around quickly, and sometimes slowly, and sometimes he tapped his fingers to the beat. Isn’t that clever?
My all-time favorite art project we’ve gotten, though, was before Gracie was even born. It was a finger print family that Bean made at his old daycare when he was a wee one. Isn’t it the sweetest? I got all teared up the day he brought it home because we were just about to have Gracie and I was so worried about Bean adjusting to her.
I also threw in some of their birthday cards from each year, along with notes from their teachers or ticket stubs to events that we went to as a family. I’m not crafty or patient enough to scrapbook, so these hanging folders work great for me. It gives me a place to put our family memories without having to put a whole lot of time into it. Super easy, super quick, super cheap. All three SUPER important to me!