I absolutely love all the work my kids bring home from school, or letters they write around the house...but holy moly there's so much of it. The first year our son was in preschool, I kept everything. EVERY-THING. Then year two, I still kept everything. At the start of year three, we were hit with an unexpected evacuation order due to a wildfire in our area (something that's now become a common occurrence...ugh). We had to pack up our most valuable possessions, and I realized the artwork, photos and memories that I cherish so much were scattered all over the house.
After we returned home, I decided one box. ONE box. If it warms my heart, it goes in the box. If it doesn't.....well it goes in the trash (after my kids go to bed, always). It's been revolutionary, and makes keeping our school papers way less stressful. I've also incorporated some of our end-of-the-school-year traditions, which has become such a special piece of the process.
Here's how it works:
Every year gets a folder. Throughout the year, this is where I store my favorite pieces of art, writing, awards, yearbooks, etc.
Every year also gets a plastic zipper pouch, where I keep all the kids school pictures, sports photos, etc. for that year (I have a habit of ordering the big packages, every time). This has been so helpful in keeping all the photos organized, and handy to pull when a family member stops by.
At the end of the school year, I interview the kids and use these printables as my guide. It's so fun to look back on these and see what the kids were into, who their friends were, etc. I keep each year's interview in the folder as well.
My favorite tradition is a total secret to my kids! I've been keeping a copy of Oh, the Places You'll Go! in the box (it's so special, it has it's own folder...king of the box, you could say). At the end of the year, or our time with a daycare provider/nanny, I ask them to write a letter on a page inside. I plan to give the book to them after they graduate high school, so they can look back on all the people that helped them get there, and hear what they were like as a student along the way (I saw this on the Today Show ages ago and always thought it was a brilliant idea!). I guess I'll have to delete this once they're old enough to find a blog post online....but for now, I absolutely cherish the book and what's written inside so far.
I'm sure at some point we'll outgrow the box, but for now it works for us! I'd eventually like to make a photo book with all the work inside, but for now, as long as it fits in the box I'm ok with it as is.
Do you have any traditions/keepsakes that you go through at the end of the school year?