I am so pleased to bring you a guest post written by reader and fellow-organizer Krystal of Sunny Sweet Days as a follow up to the Paper Clutter Series. Krystal is from sunny Florida and her blog is full of great tips on goals, organization, lots of recipes and parties and she has a free e-book download available on her site called “Clean & Organized. Simple solutions for spring cleaning all year.” Her post today is so relevant for many of us parents. Keeping track of our child’s paperwork and artwork and knowing what to keep can be a struggle. Krystal shares some actionable steps we can all use today to organize your child’s paperwork.
Beginning in preschool, kids can seem like a neverending factory of artwork and paperwork. As hard as it can sometimes be, you need to remind yourself that you don’t have to keep everything they bring home, and that when she is 25 years old, your daughter’s not going to want to inherit boxes of her creations. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it all. Here are a few suggestions for how to reign in the paper clutter.
Display papers in a revolving system. There are so many creative ideas on Pinterest for this very purpose. Use clothes pins, hang a row of clipboards, or a single, magnetic shadow box to change out your child’s artwork weekly or monthly. This allows the child to determine what she is proudest of. It also sets a limit for how many pieces are hung in the house, and keeps it organized in one place, instead of scattered all over the house.
Be picky about what you keep. This is an important step! Once the art is out of the display rotation, you’ll have to decide whether to keep it or toss it. Your child is going to create some priceless stuff, but he’s also going to just be processing and expressing himself some of the times. Art is a tool and not necessarily an end result. Did he literally scribble on a piece of paper? Recycle it.
Make a scrapbook or photo book. My favorite idea is to take photos of everything and create a photo book online, through a service like Shutterfly or Snapfish. What was once a messy pile is now a clean album, and best of all, it can capture 3D art in a 2D way. Then, you can hang a plate holder on the wall and display the book itself, put it on a shelf or coffee table, or file it away.
If you’re a sentimental type who just can’t part with the real thing, select your favorite pieces to glue into a scrapbook, or file into laminated sheets in a binder. This way, you can cut the artwork to fit the book, so you’re not losing all of it, but not keeping stacks of paper, either.
Create a file for each child. Just as you have a file in your cabinet for your child’s medical records and important documents, make one for his artwork and certificates as well. Only file away items you definitely want to keep. Pick things that represent where he is at this stage in his development and write his age or the year on the back, My mother used to also ask us to describe the artwork, and would write our response on the back. It was always a kick to look back and see what we had to say about it. Even with this system, you should go through periodically and see if there is anything you can get rid of when more time has passed and you are less attached to the item.
Thank you so much, Krystal!
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