Back to school time is in full swing in our lil ole homestead. I have the house all to myself so I've been cleaning, organizing and being ever so productive. Bling! (this is to show the sparkly part of my gleaming smile) OK. so maybe there has been a nap or two involved, some extended lounging in the kiddie pool (hey, I have to, it's my job to make sure that bugs don't take up permanent residence in it), and staring off into space for inordinate amounts of time, drool sliding out of the corner of my mouth. The boys, on the other hand, have been seeing to it that they add to my already accumulating list of things to do (see previous post). In two weeks this is already the fruits of their young school life labor.
Holy Cow! Does this seem a little excessive to anyone else? I mean didn't we all agree a few years ago that we needed to use less paper, save trees, things like that? I've heard that doing work on computers has become all the rage for most folks, but no sirree, not in school. In elementary you hand write everything and allow your zealous-with-a-paper-and-pen six-year-old make drawing after drawing of the same. thing. Over and over again during their "free time" (what the heck is that? --giving a six-year-old free time is just plain scary). Needless to say the pile can get out of hand pretty fast so in years past I have found some handy dandy ways of dealing with the school paper onslaught that comes in every week. No I don't have a ritual paper burning every week, but I tell you it gets more and more tempting each year.
My problem is that I am a memory hoarder. "Hello everyone, my name is Jennifer and I save every tiny little item that has borne any semblance of a mark that my baby's have made." Hey, you never know, they might become famous some day and this stuff could become $1000 items on eBay. This is my retirement plan. For now. Plus, I was damaged and left with childhood scars because, when I was young, my mom would tear through my shared room with my sister every few months with hurricane force and clean out anything that was not well concealed in a stealth-like hiding place. I called them cleaning terrors and I have been known to have a few of those of my own in my day. Super Rock Star is still searching for a favorite shirt of his that I'm pretty sure was snatched away in one of my fits of becoming a cleaner and more organized wife. Sorry Babe. Anyway, my mom accidentally tossed a box of birthday cards I had been saving for all of my 8 years at the time. I was devastated, but thanks to time and a good amount of therapy, I'm mostly okay now. Sort of. But now, like I said, I pretty much save every.tiny. little. thing. I'm sure there's therapy for that too.
My system is pretty simple and works if you save everything like me or if just a few choice things like I probably should. I buy a bunch of these folders when they go on sale for a penny during back-to-school supply sales.
Each month, I select one for each child and write their name, grade, the month and year.
All throughout the month each school day, when the papers come home, I look at them, select some good ones for the refrigerator and the rest go in the folder. At the end of the month, I clean off the refrigerator and put those in the folders too--otherwise my entire refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and probably my entire house would be wallpapered with the art of my young Picasso's. I have a file cabinet I keep hidden deep in the recesses of our home in a closet --out of sight out of sight, right? I put the full files in there at the end of every month. At the end of the school year, I move those files to a storage box like this one:
Someday I will have to spend an entire year going through and purging these. Either that or I'll just have a big ole bonfire and light em up---therefore scaring my boys for life and therapy required and the mad cycle continues. I admit, I need to purge and someday I will.
But, just look at the darling necklace Grayson made for me and the adorable Valentine's Day box Morgan created:
So, this is my mad method, my brilliant, solve the world's problems plan--how about you all? I would love to hear how you handle the tidal wave of papers coming in. Please share AND for those who write a response you will be entered into a drawing to win a 16GB flash drive.
I'm pretty sure this would be the smarter and more space efficient way to handle the memories--you know take photos of the favorites and then store them on a data stick. But, hey, like I said--it's a process.