You ever have a household chore you’ve been putting off forever because the idea of it sounds so, I don’t know, unappealing?
For me, that project is the piles and piles of my kids’ artwork and schoolwork that I’ve been collecting over the past, um, five or six years.
I am terrible at throwing their work away; chalk it up to mommy guilt. My heart breaks when I remember the time a 4-year-old Buddy pulled a random crayon scribbled picture from the garbage can, completely crestfallen, and held it up to me asking, “Mommy, why are you throwing my picture away?”
As a result, I have amassed a ridiculous amount of carton paintings, drawings, crafts and other creative projects, most of them from daycare. I just couldn’t bear to part with them. But at the same time, I also couldn’t bear to sit down and actually go through and organize them. It was much easier to go though their backpacks, pull out the sheets of construction paper and handprint snowmen and shove them into a plastic bin in the guest room.
But it finally got to the point where our guest room was starting to look like an episode of “Hoarders.” And since I took most of this week off to spend time with Buddy before he starts school next Tuesday, I knew I was out of excuses. So while Buddy played with some of the neighborhood kids, I got to work.
I already had one plastic file cabinet, so I grabbed another one when Buddy were out buying school supplies, along with some hanging files, manila folders and some printable address labels. I found these awesome printables on i Heart Organizing, so I went ahead and labeled a folder for each school year, including several for Daycare that I made following the template.
Once I had my system lined up, I dove headfirst into sorting. It was actually easier than I thought it would be – the “keepers” were all pretty obvious. I even came across a whole stack of photos of Buddy at daycare when he was Mimi’s age (and a little younger), making silly faces, placing with flour during sensory play, painting himself with finger paint. He was so little!
And I re-discovered some long-forgotten masterpieces.
It took about tw0 hours but I ended up with two storage boxes, divided into sections by grade. Okay, so I already filled close to half of Buddy’s box, but I know the pieces I decided to keep will be the ones I’ll go back to and wax nostalgic over as the kids get older.
And here’s what I ended up throwing away … an entire garbage bag, and then some.
Yes, I still feel guilty – and I probably will always feel guilty getting rid of something my babies’ hands worked on and created. But at the same time, keeping everything is just not realistic.
Now I just need to train myself to sort and file their projects on a weekly basis … and the start of a new school year is the perfect time to start!
Tell me: Do you have a system for keeping, filing or storing your kids’ artwork? What works for you?