Friday, February 11, 2011

Daily Declutter Challenge #17 - What to do with all Your Kid's Art & School Stuff

My friend, Lisa, asked me what I do about kid's art projects.  With three kids in school and Sunday school, the amount of stuff that comes home is huge.  It  does lessen over the years though.

Here's a few things I do.

1.  I don't keep everything.
2.  I don't keep EVERYTHING.

I guess that was what I DON'T do.  Anyway, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's move on.

1.  I keep things that express love - like mother's day cards saying, "I love you because you make me cookies."  (I'll accept narcissistic, self-serving love.)

2.  I keep things that celebrate momentous occasions like "My First Day at Kindergarten".

3.  I keep things that really show their personality and heart.  So a lot of the generic art projects aren't kept because they were just doing what the teacher told them.  Ditto for getting 100% on a spelling or math test. A lot of their creative stories and journals are kept.

4.  I had a "genius" moment with report cards while I was decluttering their school stuff.  I cut out the teacher comments and keep those.  I always tell my kids the things that matter most to me are when the teacher says, "Faith is a kind, and encouraging student to all her classmates."  or "Jaira uses wonderful expression in storytelling."  Those sort of things make this momma's heart smile.  Will we really care whether or not they got a 1, 2, or 3 in shape concepts 17 years down the road?

5.  If you love a piece of your child's art - frame it!  I loved this peaceful, watercolour that my daughter did when she was 8.

So with my daughters' help, we went through all their school stuff that was haphazardly lying in a basket, and we had a great time with it.  I simply filled a big manila envelope for each of them following the guidelines that I mentioned above.  But if you are SUPER organized, and keep way more papers than I do, here's a post showing what one mom did.  (I am not this kind of Mom, but you might be!)

If you've got great ideas about how to decide what to keep & how to store it - I'd love to hear about them.


  1. Nice.
    I like the link idea - the crates with file folders....
    So far, I've taken pictures of my semi-favorites and kept the real favorites. Adrianna's art is starting to look like art - so it's kinda fun. Not totally sure what to do with all the pics...
    I'm sure there's somewhere online I can post them. Or maybe print them and make little photo albums.
    Gah. Art. I just filled an entire recycle bit with "art" - and my kids aren't even school age yet! And that is with never keeping any of the Sunday School/preschool teacher-forced "art".

  2. Hey - that's a great idea! You could take a picture of them holding their art & then you capture both the art & the moment in time! I did this at Disney when we went to the animation studio. Everyone drew such great pictures of Grumpy, so I simply took a pic of them holding their cartoon, rather than taking those big sheets of paper home. Turned out really cute!