Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Save? Or Toss? Your Take on School Papers

If there is one thing I'm dreading about Back To School, it's this:


And if left unattended (meaning stacked in a pile and not sorted RIGHT AWAY), it somehow morphs into this giant, intimidating Mt. Vesuvi-Paper.

Am I right, Moms?

The good thing, though, is that I'm more of a Thrower-Awayer than a Keeper. I'm sooo not crazily sentimental about a goopy painted handprint that's going to get thrown in a drawer and then eventually tossed when I clean that drawer and think to myself, "What the hell did I save this for?"

Uh....wait. Is that cold-hearted of me? Or simply realistic?

I will have 3 boyz in school this year (2nd grade; full-day kindergarten; and morning preschool 4 days a week).

[Insert celebratory fist pump here.]

3 boyz in school means 3 backpacks.

3 backpacks mean triple the amount of STUFF: forms to fill out and return; permission slips; book orders; school lunch menus; and the ARTWORK. The MASTERPIECES. The CREATIONS.

I think what's making me anxious about this is that I don't have a System. A good way of organizing all the Stuff That Comes Home. Since Eldest started school, this has been my "system":

Yup, a drawer. Jam-packed. With just the papers I deemed "cute" or "original" or "awwwwwww". (Everything else got stealthily tossed in the darkness of night, with my children being none-the-wiser.)

But I also have this:
A cubby system (bought from here a few years ago- a cheap LLBean knockoff.) It is soooo not in back-to-school shape (as evidenced by the diaper wipes and the 237 ball caps being stored in it).

My dear readers, I need your help. How do you sort through the school crap stuff that comes home every day? What do you save? (What are you saving it for?) And what do I need to do/have/buy to GET ORGANIZED for this upcoming school year?



Pollyanna said...

My system is stack it all up for a week. Then, Monday night (after they're in bed), I toss coloring book or copied coloring pages in the recycling (Recycling is picked up Tuesday morning).

Actual "art" (glitter or 3 dimensional or a gift for Mommy or Daddy, etc.) goes in the art gallery - a wall dedicated to displaying their art projects.

If it isn't good enough for the art gallery, it isn't good enough to save. It's their decision what goes into the art gallery (basic coloring pages are not allowed) so they are the ones deciding what to keep not me. Relieves a lot of guilt.

As pieces get rotated out, they go into a drawer (24X18X10). I haven't had to go through the drawer yet and I've been getting this stuff for three years.

Ashley said...

I do the drawer thing too, but now I have double the papers so I've just started tossing things. I save really good stuff, but not daily work or misc. drawings.

Becky said...

Ok, now I've only been through one year of this, as my oldest is just going into first grade this year, so I'm a bit of a novice. But I got an accordian file folder and am trying to stick to just ONE slot per school year. When the next one starts school, he will get his own folder.

Another thing I've found is that when something is marginal (not quite cute enough to keep, but too cute to throw in the garbage) I fold it up and mail it to the grandparents. They live far away so are THRILLED to get that stuff in the mail!

La Belle Mere said...

Sling it! I'm the most unsentimental person on the planet. As soon as I got back from honeymoon I put my wedding dress on ebay. And I'm getting the impression you may be a fellow, cold-hearted realist!! What is the point of hanging on to lots and lots of old tat?

I'd say choose your favourite painting/piece of work from each year and store it in a scrapbook. The rest - bin it!

But that's just me. :-)

LBM xxxx

Rita Templeton said...

I'm so worried about what I'm going to do when my boys start school, because I'm already terrible about saving stuff. I honestly think it stems from - and I'm about to get a little morbid here, sorry - my niece Sarah, who was killed when she was two and a half. I think about how there'll never be anything else from her except the stuff she left, and it makes me want to save all my kids' stuff. You know?

Ugh, sorry for the downer, but it's true. I think by the time my kids start bringing home mounds of papers that I'll need professional help!

Lynn Kellan said...

I throw out a lot of stuff, but I do save 8.5 x 11 papers that are blank on the other side. I put them in my printer to print out drafts & stuff.

Shanna said...

Where did you get that cubby?!!? I need one!!

My eldest is just starting full day K4 so I am really about to experience this dilemma. I cringe when I throw everything away.. a guilt thing I have had since birth I think.
Momagenda.com has a neat little binder book I am thinking about getting.

confused homemaker said...

Right now we have bins that stuff is just tossed in. We are trying to go through it and figure out what to keep.

I'd like to come up with a digital scrapbook, take pictures of the items that are cute/first time and then put them into a scrapbook. Get rid of all the clutter & still keep the memories, along with a few special pieces that they can each look at. Each kid gets his/her own special bin with their stuff in it to have forever.

That's the goal anyway. Right now it looks more like total chaos than anything else.

I'm also jealous I want a cubby, but we have no space for one like that in this house. Unless I make them put it in their room...now that's an idea.

Mommy said...

The benefits of school falling during the cooler months of the year... WOODSTOVE! There's no second guessing "Oh, maybe I should have saved that?" Once it's in, ITS GONE! I only save absolutely necessary things... Handmade Christmas Ornaments, Mothers & Fathers day gifts, or things that are VERY special like a drawing my son did of our family once that touched my heart... Everything else is GONE!

Sincerely Iowa said...

Unless they have specifically made something FOR ME, or FOR MY HUSBAND, I throw it out. I keep a tub for each child, and some very sentimental things get put in there, but I certainly don't have the time or space to save every worksheet or spelling test. Sometimes we put a couple things up on the fridge for a week, and then they got tossed after that.

Vodka Logic said...

I am less sentimental than I used to be. I had a box for each kid and sifted thru i over time. I also hang a lot in the downstairs bathroom. lol...

As they get older you get less stuff to save


Monnik said...

My system is oh-so-organized.

I have one of those plastic tubs with the lids for each kid with the initial of their first name written in a black jumbo sharpie on the side.

During the week, the papers stack up in the wicker basket on the counter. On the weekend, I sort through the papers and throw them in the plastic tubs.

In the summer, between grades, I sort through a years worth of crap and thrown 99% of it away. I then put a large piece of posterboard over that year's stuff so that I can begin piling on the next school year's junk.

It's not perfect, but it works.

Jen said...

I can't help you b/c I am terrible at this and can't through away any of my kids art. Its terrible and I am drowning in art work.

Judy said...

I'm the anal-retentive mom - I keep EVERYTHING and keep it in chronological order and by subject until the monumental parent-teacher conference. Then I recycle it. :-)

I also choose a piece each year to frame - we have a wall de arte in the house for just these things!

Jeanette said...

I don't like clutter. So this is what I do.

I have each child sit with me while I go through their stuff for the day.

If they get excited about something, I say, "Is this a keeper". If it is important to them, it goes on the fridge for the day.

When we put up the new stuff, the old stuff comes down.

If it's something they are really proud of, I keep it.

I have two adult children and three still in school. What was really important to the adult children, I framed and put on the wall in the kitchen. I think I have three to five things for each child on the wall at this point.

Everything else gets trashed. If it's not important to them...off it goes.

Manic Mommy said...

I've got a medium sized bin for each kid for each year. I save nearly everything. And the bins clutter up my dining room. It's a great system.

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

I am always open for suggestions too... we have way too much coming home from school.... the dumpster is a good idea! Shhhhh

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

I am always open for suggestions too... we have way too much coming home from school.... the dumpster is a good idea! Shhhhh

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

I read on a blog (I think it was Chasing Cheerios) about photographing the artworks, shrinking the photos and printing them onto magnet sheets.

Or photograph the artworks and have the photos made into a photobook.


Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

I pitch 99% of school stuff, I keep really outstanding reports, videos,and artwork that gets saved in a rubbermaid tub. The older the boys get, the smaller the pile.

Laurie said...

I throw out a lot, have a full/messy drawer much like yours and I really dislike all the paper chaos associated with school. My oldest had a great kindergarten teacher who emailed a lot of stuff - loved that!!

Serenityville said...

I have great respect for your ability to throw things away...pls pass on when I see you again! I LOVE the things my dad kept from my childhood - silly paintings, one he even framed (titled "alligator with glasses") you should see it, it's genius. It feels good that he kept things, and it's so fun looking at what I did when i was young. He kept them in a filing cabinet.
When I moved recently I came across old high school and college papers - and loved reading them too.

Mary Ellen said...

I'm sorry on behalf of all school teachers. I taught 3rd grade before I became a mom, and was always stuffing my student's backpacks with the CRAP that I didn't want in my classroom: corrected papers, tests, "artwork", homework, etc. Now that I'm a mom, I'm dreading the day I have to empty the backpacks. My suggestion is toss most, save a few pieces each year that are really special. (you know the kind... mother's day poem, Valentines Day project, etc.) Good Luck!

Michele R said...

OK, so the folders come home on a Friday and that night (I lead a dull social life) I go thru them and read the newsletter, maybe put a few dates on the calendar and look at every piece of work and throw them all out unless it involves writing something keepable. And that is only a few times a year. Then I put it on the stairs and when I go up to their room I put it in a big accordian folder (not labeled anywhere though). Things to return like paying for a yearbook or whatever get put on the fridge and then Sun night I get anything like that together for their backpacks.

Lorie Shewbridge said...

I had the same filing system as you! :-) But I only had 2 boys and they each had a drawer... It got cleaned out once a year prior to the new year and I usually kept 1 or 2 pieces from each year (which I still have ~ and they are 18 & 21) and put it in a folder in a book case that eventually went into a scrapbook.
Good luck!!


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