Organizing School Keepsakes

School Memories

If you have kids in school, you are all too familiar with the loads of paperwork your busy little students bring home. Starting with preschool and throughout elementary, the piles of papers, art, crafts and cute projects seem endless. {But really, how many turkey projects can they make?}  Now that I have a high schooler and a middle schooler, the paperwork has lessened to nearly zero (so there’s hope for you mamas of littles). However, we still have things like school photos, certificates and special projects or papers that we want to keep. Here’s how I organize my kids’ school keepsakes.

I have a large plastic filing bin for each of my kids. (I found these totes at Office Depot.) I labeled them with chalk labels. You can also easily create custom names on my website here. (Click Customize, then Text and Graphic Expressions.)

School Keepsake Bins

Inside, I’ve hung 13 file folders labeled Preschool through 12th Grade. I place anything that I want to keep for that year, including school and sports photos, special art projects or papers, notes, doodles, letters to Santa, report cards and certificates. Some items, such as team photos, are labeled only with the team name and year, so I created a little cheat sheet that I clipped to the front of the first file, which helps me when I put them in their respective years. When they graduate, they’ll have a nice box containing their most precious school memorabilia.

Files and year reference

School Keepsake Files

Now, if you are a hoarder of your child’s things {c’mon, I know you’re out there!}, and can’t throw any art project or paper that comes home, I have a couple of solutions for you. First, I created a couple of art galleries in our home (one in the mudroom and one in our playroom) to showcase my children’s favorites. To do this, I added picture hanging wire to eye hooks, which are screwed into the wall. (This is an inexpensive way to create a fun gallery on the wall!) Then, when a special art project comes home, we take a clothespin and hang it in the art gallery.

mudroom art gallery playroom

For other projects, get an extra bin and label it for that year or years, for example “Morgan’s preschool keepsakes.” Then put all the art and craft projects in the bin. At the end of the year (or a couple of years down the road), it is much easier to go through the pile of “everything” and really choose the favorites to put in the final keepsake file. Ask yourself, “Will my grown daughter want to see this feathered turkey in 10 years?” If the answer is no, toss it. Seriously, it’s ok. Take photos of the art projects or papers before you toss them if you want to preserve the memories. Photos take up a lot less space than bins of old art projects!

I remember keeping every birthday card I ever received growing up. When that box of cards eventually found their way into my home as a newlywed, I no longer held a love for them and it was much easier to declutter.

Happy organizing!

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