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Why on Earth do you still have that?
Let us know what you think! Should I love or lose the embroidered towels I received as a wedding gift. We don’t use them anymore, but aren’t they pretty? #loveitorloseit?
If you have children, you know how much paper they can produce. Schoolwork and craft projects can make the flow of paper feel endless!
Here is a visual of the steps I follow to decide if a paper is worth keeping for the long-term or if it can be tossed before it ends up as clutter.
Whether you skip a step or throw things away freely, a plan will help keep clutter away. Once you have a plan, make a place in your home for each step of the plan.
After I look over my kids’ schoolwork and we talk about what they did, we hang up any special papers on a “clothes line” type string in our hallway.
I avoid hanging papers on the fridge because it can make an already busy space, like a kitchen, feel visually cluttered. We have also used cork boards in the past.
After being displayed, if a paper is deemed a keepsake, it goes into our holding box. I use a holding box for 4 reasons:
- It keeps everything together until we are ready to make a new file for the school year.
- The file box, for school keepsakes, is too big and cumbersome to get down and file every time my kids brings home a keeper. It is much easier to throw it in a box.
- A holding box allows us to get a full picture of everything we have so we can choose the best of the best.
- I don’t delay over a decision. If I am unsure, I just throw it in the box. It will be sorted and purged later.
An Ikea document box serves as our easy to access holding box. We keep it in the kids’ closet right under their keepsake file boxes that come down once a year or so.
Sort and Purge
All during this schoolwork’s journey, papers are being reviewed and then thrown away if they are not truly keepsakes. However, the big end of the school year sort and purge is when real decisions are made about what we will keep in their file box.
The current projects shown in this picture was work that had just come home from school that I wanted to set aside to work on over the summer.
A file box is used for the long-term keepsakes. I purchased a heavy duty file box (it has to last 13+ years) and added a file for each grade. I recommend these extra capacity hanging files because each file can get rather thick.
You can get cutesy but I recommend keeping it simple and getting it done. If there is time later, you can go back and add to it but don’t let perfection stop you from organizing! I can promise you, your kids will enjoy it for years to come no matter what it looks like.
Other options for Keepsakes
I mentioned in the podcast, you can also take pictures or videos of projects you know won’t fit into your keepsake box. The bonus is you get to see their age and project all in one snapshot!
Current Projects and Homework
What about those papers they are still working on? Next to my action files, I have a letter tray from Ikea for the girls’ work. Each girl has two “mailboxes”, one for their homework and one for papers they are currently working on. There always seems to be a craft they are not finished with yet.
Keep in mind, these mailboxes have to be cleaned out often or they can quickly become a catch all!
We’d love to hear some of your kid paper strategies! Do you have a system or is it a free-for-all pile? Do you save everything or toss most of it?
You can leave your comments below, share on social media #atobpodcast, or send us an email Hello @ AtoBpodcast.com.
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