How organised are you with your kids school paperwork and art? What do you do with their reports, certificates, photos and yearbooks? How about their creative writing work? Does it get shoved into a box or cupboard, in the hope that you might deal with it one day? If this sounds like you, this blog post is for you! If you don’t have a place and more importantly a SYSTEM for these items, they will build up and potentially be forgotten or even lost.
The system I am about to share with you is easy to set up and will give your child’s work a place to live and the value it deserves. Even better, when they leave home and want to share their childhood memories with their own children one day, you will be able to pass it on to them easily. So go and grab a cuppa and settle in for a good read, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
To start, you will need to purchase a plastic suspension file box (one per child), suspension files and plastic tabs that clip onto the files. You can get the boxes in different colours which is great if you have more than one child. You will also need an art folder. It also helps if you have a label maker but it’s not absolutely necessary. You can get one for around $25 these days and they are a great investment.
The box is for school paper work, ie: reports, yearbooks, certificates, photo’s, special workbooks, exam results – you will decide what categories will work the best for you. The art folder is for those special pieces of art that you don’t want to get creased.
Set aside some time to put everything together, maybe once you have dropped the kids at school or in the evening when they are all tucked up in bed. Put the plastic tabs on the suspension files and place the files into the box. Get your label maker out if you have one. There are several ways in which you can do this.
1: Each label has it’s own year (Early Years, Year 1, Year 2 etc)
2: You can lump years together (Years 1 – 3, Years 4 – 6 etc)
3: You can either have separate files for photos, certificates etc, but the easiest way to do it is to put everything that relates to that year in that year file. You decide.
It can be a good idea to put exam results and other items that you might need to get your hands on quickly in separate files of their own in the box. Like I say, it really is up to you how you organise each box, but the framework is there for you to work with.
And which items do you keep? Kids bring SO much paper home during their school years, I think it’s a good idea to just keep the special/important items, such as: reports, certificates, year books, class photos, creative writing books, special letters of importance and exam/competition results. Feel free to add any that I might have missed! When these items come in during the year, once you have your boxes set up, you will have a place for them to go! Cool aye!
If you either have no system for your children’s school papers or you are going to switch to this system, once you have set up your box you will need to make some time to slot in the “Keepers” that you may already have. You might like to get a helping hand from your children with this. Label each box with your child’s name using your label maker – if you don’t have one you can create one online or even use a piece of your child’s art (laminating it means it will last longer.)
Now, where to store these boxes? It is a good idea to have them in a place that is easy to access so that you can slot items in when you need to. If they are stored somewhere like the garage, you are very unlikely to use them. You could pop them onto the top shelf of each child’s wardrobe, in a spare room cupboard or an office space.
The special paintings/drawings that come through your door, can be displayed on the fridge, in the playroom, or wherever you like to display them when they arrive at home. Then you can decide together which ones are to go into the art folder, before the new pieces go up. You don’t need to keep every single one! Keep just the ones that you love and/or they love.
To finish, I recommend having a “Memory” or “Sentimental” box for every member in your family – including you! These are for those really special items, like medals, 3D art, cards – those items which are really special to each individual. This box can be one you already have or you might need to go and purchase one. I’m a big lover of sentimental items and to be honest, have more than one box in my home! Some people like to hold onto sentimental items more than others, and this is definitely my weak spot
So go and have some fun with it! I would love to hear how you get on with this project and what you found worked for you – feel free to share any ideas you came up with during the process!
Written by Natalie Jane
Founder of Be Organised and organisational expert on TV Three's series Sort Your Life Out NZ
*This post has been shared with permission by Natalie. If you would like more information about her services and how she can help you, visit Be Organised HERE. The image used in the cover of this post can be found HERE.