Now that my girls are in school and bringing home art projects on a regular basis, I decided it was time to put a system in place for organizing and protecting all of these projects.
To create a Memory Tote we used:
- 18 Gal. Storage Totes – (I picked these up at Wal-Mart for $5.50 each) You will want one for each child.
- Legal Size File Jackets – (These are file folders with enclosed sides. I found these at Staples for $12.49 for a 12 pack) You will use one folder per year per child.
- Small bin with lid – (Wal-Mart had for $1.00) This is to hold non-paper arts & crafts.
- 12X12 box for the inbox – (Also found at Staples on the clearance table for $3.99) This will serve as your designated arts & crafts inbox.
I let my girls pick out the color of the totes and small bins and we even found matching makers to label everything!
Step 1: Get all arts & crafts into the new designated inbox. To keep them from getting mixed in with our regular inbox “stuff” I have designated a separate inbox for their projects and the girls are in charge of placing their crafts in the inbox as soon as they walk into the house with it.
Step 2: Once the inbox is full, the girls and I go through the inbox together to decide what to do with each project. My girls are only 3 so we do not have an overwhelming amount of arts & crafts just yet but I know it is only beginning so how to decide what to keep, what to give away and what to (gasp!) throw away!
Some questions I ask myself when deciding what to do with a particular project:
1. Is it unique to my child? Does it show her personality off?
2. Does it show a stage of her writing or drawing capabilities and skills?
3. Does it represent a certain memory that is special to my child?
Step 3: Process each paper/project…
To keep – for those projects that have been deemed worthy of keeping file into the appropriate folder. We used one folder per kid per year. When this folder is full we made it a rule that we cannot keep anymore projects, unless the folder is purged and room is made for the new project.
To give-away – the girls’ grandparents LOVE receiving art & craft projects from the girls in the mail. We do not have family close-by so this is something the girls can do special for the grandparents and aunts & uncles.
To throw-away – unfortunately it is not possible to keep every sheet of paper that the girls color. So, if the girls and I together decide to throw an item out we always take a picture of the project before tossing. That way we can look back over all their creations without contributing to any clutter!
Seasonal art – fall is my favorite season and last fall the girls made this really cool project with trees and leaves at Sunday School. In our living room we have frames that hold art projects. So, instead of filing these away I have stored them with the fall decorations so that this fall I can put them in the frames and enjoy them all over again.
For items that are not flat/paper, place in the small bin….
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Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer
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