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Old 09-04-2012, 08:58 AM   #1
CMW0021
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OT: Kids artwork/schoolwork etc organization!

Off topic but I figured this would be a great place to ask. I spent the weekend organizing closets, paperwork, etc. Exciting I know! One area that I can't get a good system with is my kids' artwork and school work. Right now, I have an 18 gallon bin in both of their closets that are filled to the top and they are only 7 and 5! I would love to hear suggestions on what others have done to tackle this problem. I'm not sure what to keep, what to toss or how else to preserve it. My one friend takes pictures and then makes herself a book of all the artwork. Doesn't seem like a bad option but good get expensive quickly. The school work is an equally challenging task as well. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:05 AM   #2
tcufrog
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I've become ruthless about purging the kids' artwork ever since I got a huge bin of childhood artwork and papers from my mom. Getting it felt overwhelming in a bad way and I don't remember any of it and have no idea what to do with it. I don't want to burden my kids in the same way I felt burdened.

I have a large display board in the playroom for artwork and when it gets full I go through it. I only keep the most special papers and artwork. Even kid has an 18 gallon bin. When it gets full I go through it and get rid of stuff. My goal is for each kid to have the same bin until they go off to college and to only keep as many mementos as will fit in that bin. I'm also keeping special t-shirts and plan to have a t-shirt quilt made out of them for each of them as a high school graduation gift.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:45 AM   #3
dragonfly08
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I used to save so much more than I do now. The truth is, as much as I love their artwork, I realized I wasn't really ever looking at it. It was just taking over our entire playroom! So now I'm pretty ruthless.

I keep a cardboard magazine holder for each girl in one of my guest room closets. If it's an important or unique piece of artwork, a special assignment or test, or anything else I might want to keep, I toss it in there. At the end of each quarter when report cards come home I pull out the holders and go through them. Everything gets organized and I make hard decisions about what I *really* think should stay. That pile goes into a folder so the holder is empty for the next quarter. I add to the folder each quarter, and at the end of the year I do one final look through to pare things down. Then I rubber band the folder, mark it with the school year, dates, and teacher's name, then file that away in a milk crate. I do allow the girls to keep some of the things they like that I've decided against, if they want, but they also have limits on what can be in their rooms...if their bins, drawers, etc. get full they're required to clean them out knowing they either make room or they can't keep any new projects.

My girls are in 1st and 4th grades, and everything I've saved fits into the two milk crates I have in the closet with room for at least another couple of years' worth. And I haven't yet regretted losing anything I've tossed, so the system is working so far.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:44 PM   #4
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We use some of our DD's artwork as wrapping paper. I think it's a cute and personal touch to a gift. And then she doesn't think I'm throwing anything out.
You can even ask your child to go Into the bin themselves and pick it out.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:19 PM   #5
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I keep a handful of stuff each year - projects that took some work, tests with good grades, awards, etc. but most things are looked at and tossed. The kids both know we don't have space to keep everything. Some things are hung on the fridge for a few days before they are tossed. I have a book for each with a page and pocket for each year - report cards, awards and those 5-10 items I kept goes in the pocket.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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I used to keep everything in underbed storage bins, but it was getting out of control and my girls are only in 3rd grade and kindergarten. I saw on pinterest an idea where someone took one of those file boxes/bins with the hanging file folders to organize school work, so I am trying that out.

I went through the old stuff and kept artwork that I thought was special. As for legit schoolwork, I went through everything and kept all tests and any creative writing assignments. So far, it seems to be working. My original issue with this method of organization was that a lot of my DD's artwork was bigger than 8.5 by 11 and I didn't want to fold it. I got over it Having two small bins is preferable to 4 underbed storage boxes.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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I do what your friend does: take a photo of good artwork and make an end of year book. But I actually give it to grandparents as an xmas gift. And the beauty of that is, during the holidays websites like Snapfish always have specials like buy two books get one free, or once there was even buy one get two identical books free. So both grandmothers got a book and I got a free one - all for the price of one book. Since it's a gift I don't mind spending the money and my mom loves it. I certainly don't use every bit of art though. If it's schoolwork or a coloring page I toss it. It has to be pretty unique to photograph. Frankly though, just photographing the art and keeping it on file (or burned to a disk) would be ok. I personally don't print many family pictures but have loads of files.

For other art my daughter has a clothesline in her bedroom. She's allowed to keep whatever she wants hung on the clothesline, but once all of the clips are used she has to decide what to toss and what to keep. This gives her a chance to think hard and edit what is important to her. I'm fascinated by what she wants to keep!
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:47 PM   #8
princessbride6205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heather13 View Post
I do what your friend does: take a photo of good artwork and make an end of year book. But I actually give it to grandparents as an xmas gift. And the beauty of that is, during the holidays websites like Snapfish always have specials like buy two books get one free, or once there was even buy one get two identical books free. So both grandmothers got a book and I got a free one - all for the price of one book. Since it's a gift I don't mind spending the money and my mom loves it. I certainly don't use every bit of art though. If it's schoolwork or a coloring page I toss it. It has to be pretty unique to photograph. Frankly though, just photographing the art and keeping it on file (or burned to a disk) would be ok. I personally don't print many family pictures but have loads of files.

For other art my daughter has a clothesline in her bedroom. She's allowed to keep whatever she wants hung on the clothesline, but once all of the clips are used she has to decide what to toss and what to keep. This gives her a chance to think hard and edit what is important to her. I'm fascinated by what she wants to keep!
Love all of this! I may have to try the clothesline idea. I haven't done the artwork photo books, but I have taken photos - especially of the odd sized projects.

During free time at the last two years of preschool/daycare, my daughter often chose to color. So we have tons of unidentifiable artwork. The other issue is sometimes she and her friends would color pictures for each other. I really don't need to save some other kid's artwork! I bought one smallish bin (12Wx14Lx8H?). I only immediately toss/recycle a few items, most get put right in the bin. And every few months I prune it. Once I'm staring at 12 different rainbow house drawings, it's a lot easier to toss 11 of them!

Like the clothesline example above, I think my daughter would be good about choosing favorites to put on display, but I try not to involve her in the disposal process. She's too attached to EVERYTHING. As an exercise in decluttering and organizing I do occasionally have her help me, but for the efficient day-to-day pruning needs, it's a lot easier to do it myself.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
CMW0021
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the ideas! I need to go through the items and start purging. Especially the day care stuff, i know at that age they weren't making the crafts. I really like the idea to use as wrapping paper, very cute. The milk crate and the books are good ideas as well and propably could do both once the quantity is paired down. I would love to find a book/folder for each grade to hold their report card and a very few special items. Thanks again for all the ideas!
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:02 PM   #10
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I put my daughter's drawings in a photo scrapbook along with the ribbons she won for them from our county fair. I could never throw them out and when it gets to be too many I put two or three of the ones that aren't as special on one page.
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