You’ve probably heard of the KonMari method of decluttering.
In KonMari, you decide what to keep and what to toss based on whether something “sparks joy” for you.
But what about kids artwork and school papers?
Thanks bunches to Keepy for sponsoring this post! Affiliate links are present.
There’s something irresistable about all those adorable handprint crafts.
The way they write their names in kindergarten.
The preschool modern art produced in great quantities.
The paragraphs and essays from third grade.
The progress you see in the high school artwork.
It all sparks joy, doesn’t it?
After all, these papers are a snapshot of who your child was on a particular day.
They give you a glimpse of her frozen in time.
Kids grow up way too quickly (although sometimes much too slowly!)
And for some parents, holding on to their children’s papers is one way to freeze time.
But all these papers begin to pile up.
By the middle of second grade, you’ve got a river of sparkly construction paper, math worksheets and spelling tests that flows out of boxes, across bulletin boards and over kitchen counters.
And it’s not sparking joy any more.
But surely you can’t throw even one of these masterpieces away, can you?
They’re much to precious for that.
It’s a dilemma for sure.
Being mom to four boys, I’ve discovered a few guidelines that help me decide which school papers to keep and what can be appreciated and then recycled.
Here’s how I handle my kids’ school papers:
School notices and announcements are usually dealt with right away after school.
This might mean adding something to the calendar, posting a paper on the fridge, or signing and returning papers to folders to go back to school.
I accept that not every piece of paper can be kept.
When everything is special, nothing ends up being special. I want to highlight the very best things my kids are doing.
I keep a variety of papers.
If I’ve already got one handwriting sample from 4th grade, the next one that comes home can be appreciated and then recycled. And if you can’t bear to recycle, I’ve got another solution – keep reading!
I hang up most artwork (but only temporarily).
I’ve got artwork hung up on a door in our kitchen. (Here are some other fun ways to display kids’ artwork).
But I limit the amount of artwork that’s displayed; when something new comes home, that’s the trigger to take down something from the display.
Put together a book with the best work
At the end of the school year, I take about 20 pages from each child to Staples to be bound into a softcover book. It makes a fun keepsake for the year.
I’ve been using a new app called Keepy to help me keep a lot more of my kids papers without the paper piles.
Keepy lets you snap photos of schoolwork, artwork, or whatever you like. Then you can tag them with your child’s name, record an audio clip, or just a text note.
You can share with your friends and relatives on Facebook or on Keepy’s own network.
One of my favorite parts, though, is that you can have your kids’ schoolwork preserved on a mug, a t-shirt, a keychain or a lot of other things!
Talk about special!
Here’s an adorable keychain made with one of my son’s kindergarten worksheets. And it’s just 4 dollars – such a steal for something so precious!
Here’s a coffee mug with one of our crafts.
Don’t you think this would make the best Mother’s Day present for grandma?
Turning art into photo gifts preserves them way beyond their normal lifespan.
I’ve started having my kids save their own work to Keepy.
It’s fun for them and saves me time, too. And it makes it a little easier to recycle most of the paper that comes home every day.
You can find Keepy here online:
Keepy is free to download for 5 memories a month and you can upgrade it to Unlimited for only $9.99 a year to store all the artwork you like!
I also “keepy” lots of the ordinary worksheets like math papers and vocabulary worksheets.
Because even a math paper can spark joy to a mom 🙂