As I promised in my last post, I’d like to share about how I store my children’s school papers and artwork that I want to keep for years to come! As each child’s bin in the mudroom gets full, I transfer papers to 12×12 scrapbook cases from Michael’s. I end up transferring papers & projects 3-4 times per year – not that time consuming. I’ll do a quick sort of papers one more time before placing them in these boxes, getting rid of any random drawings or things that I know none of us will miss in the long run. If you no longer remember what something was by the middle of the school year – I promise you won’t miss it in 2 years when you reminisce and look through your child’s box!
We all have different ideas about how much we can let go of, and how much we need to keep. Jen at IHeartOrganizing (she is awesome!) keeps a small plastic file box with the papers that she saves for her boys each year – one hanging file per year. I love that system, but I just can’t fit everything I want to keep in that small of a box! Now, if you are keeping a full-size Rubbermaid tote for each year of your kids papers – that is too much! 🙂 I use one, 12×12 scrapbook case per year. I think this is a reasonable boundary for most of us, and I like these bins for a few more reasons:
-They are plastic. This protects the papers from moisture and other icky things!
-They have two clasps that click to securely close the case. The Recollections brand from Michael’s closes more securely than some other brands widely sold in stores.
-They are semitransparent. They don’t visually take up a lot of space when stored, but mask what is in them.
-They are 12″x12″x3″. The 12×12 size allows for art and items that are not on standard 8.5 x 11 paper. The 3″ depth is a good boundary to save quiet a few papers, without letting them take over your storage space.
-The size also allows for papers to fit pretty snug, which keeps them from shifting and getting destroyed. I don’t have to carefully store each page – I just stack them in the box and they are good to go!
-As always, shop when Michael’s craft storage is on sale or use a coupon and you can get them for $4.49 or less.
I also bought a package of school-themed scrapbook paper ($10 with 50% coupon from Michael’s) to use as a “cover” for the boxes. The paper pack is enough paper for all three of my kids through middle school – so it was a pretty cheap way of making them cute!
The paper pack I used also has some papers already labeled with each grade level. There were two sheets per grade: Pr-K to 6th.
I then made some personalized labels for each child with their name and their teacher, school, grade and year date so it’s easy to remember what bin has what papers. You can download blank copies of these labels here: School Labels I simply cut them out in a 5×5 square and attached them to my scrapbook papers using double-sided tape.
These bins are stored on the top shelf of my kids closets, which I am lucky they have good closet space. They could also be stored under their beds or in the basement. I would probably put multiple cases in a larger plastic tote to store then in a non-temperature controlled space like the garage.
My hope with our storage boxes is that at the end of my children’s elementary years I will take out their boxes and go through them with my kids. At that time, I think we will be able to sort the papers from their elementary years into 3 boxes and then reuse the others for middle & high school. There is so much I can’t let go of yet, but I suspect after a few years have passed (and so much more is collected!) my kids & I will be better prepared to reminisce one last time and then let some things go.
One last note, as I shared not too long ago, I also have 2 pieces of art per child framed and displayed in our hall on the second floor of our home. The kids get to help me pick artwork for those frames. As I work to pull together our home office space, I hope to develop another area that my kids & I can enjoy more of their creations on display. I have been dreaming of painting and decorating our office for about 4 years, so hopefully that will be project that I can slowly chip away at, and share with you of course!