Can you believe it’s August already? And time for back to school? Some of you may be celebrating the return of the big yellow buses 🙂 while for others it may be heart wrenching as your youngest climbs aboard for the first day ever! Whether you home school or your kids go off to school, organization during the school year is still important to keep chaos at bay.
For me, when school starts again (and we’ve gone through both public school and homeschool “back to school” scenarios) , it is almost a New Year feeling – time to get organized, break out the calendars and fancy pens to color code everything – it’s a fresh start.
One of the hardest things for me in having children has been parting with items they have made or drawn or created. I look at these items, and they make me smile and somewhere inside me, the mom guilt monster says “How could you even THINK of getting rid of this macaroni necklace they painted purple and green just for you?”
For the longest time, I had stacks and stacks of pictures, necklaces, flowers, cards, etc., etc., etc., until the filing cabinet and boxes in the attic were overflowing. I had to do SOMETHING before we were buried under the keepsakes. This came to me with startling clarity during one move when I realized I had TEN boxes labeled as “Kids’ Stuff” – TEN!!!
That day I set out to find a way to remember the stuff my kids made, without actually keeping the STUFF my kids made – make sense? LOL
With school starting, and knowing the mountain of paperwork that will be coming home daily with the kiddos, I wanted to share with you 7 ways to be a great mom and keep things your kids make without getting buried under the stuff – and keep the mom guilt monster away.
SEVEN BEST WAYS TO CONQUER
Take photos instead of keeping every item.
This is self explanatory – and simple. Take a picture of the artwork – or the necklace – or the tissue paper flower your kiddos make, and keep it instead of the item. You can even have your little Picasso pose with the masterpiece so you will know which child made what. With today’s technology, you can save the snaps to a USB or SD card – which leads to the next suggestion.
Scan items into your computer and save on an SD card.
How quickly we’ve moved into high tech – but this is one of the ways I saved some of my items. I purchased an SD card for each child, and then scanned in the artwork that would fit into the scanner, and saved to their SD card. I even used this for cards they gave me, notes they had written etc. Everything looks as big as life, but on a MUCH smaller scale.
Keep what is meaningful.
Knowing you can’t keep everything is obvious, but sometimes trying to figure out WHAT to keep is difficult. Some suggestions would be their first “A” from school. Maybe the first printed page or first cursive writing page. How about school programs with their name on it? Awards and ribbons won for athletics or academics? Report cards? School photos? All of these items, and others along the same lines are great to keep in original form.
Create a file folder for school papers.
I also do this with my kiddos. During the year, I put items in the folder and at the end of the school year, we would go through the folder together. They would help me choose what to keep, what to scan, what to toss, etc.
Display projects and make them functional.
For a while, my oldest was in art classes. As she would bring home her art pieces, we would have a revolving art gallery in our living room. This even allowed her to sell some pieces and made room for others she brought home. Consider doing something similar with the creations of your budding Van Goghs.
Rotate the artwork.
Similar to the suggestion above, this one can be put to use in other parts of the house – kitchen, hallways, kids’ rooms. Put up bulletin boards or magnetic boards to display art. Find a shadow box where you can rotate other items on display. Run strips of cork along the walls in the child’s room so they can display their favorite pieces and change them out as they make new ones.
Share artwork in creative ways.
The possibilities are endless here. Make pieces into Christmas ornaments to either keep for your tree or to give as gifts. Use random pieces as gift tags for Christmas gifts. Laminate large pieces of artwork to use as placemats for your table. Use special pieces as placemats for holiday get-togethers, or as decorations for parties. Frame art to give as gifts to grandparents, aunts or uncles who do not live close to your family. Use larger items as wrapping paper for gifts or one-of-a-kind stationery. Cut into bookmark size for use or for gifts. This list can go on – but are your creative juices flowing?
Hopefully, this will help you discover a myriad of ways to keep the spirit of your kids creativity without sacrificing space or fighting that mom guilt monster. Use these ideas to help face the piles of papers coming your way for this new school year with confidence.
Let me know in the comments below if you have other ideas for how to save your kids creations! I’d love to hear them.
Until next time,