School’s out or almost out and you have dozens of papers, artwork pieces, and school supplies coming home. Backpacks are entering the threshold of your houses full each day from school. From pottery to math worksheets, you are getting to see your child’s work. It’s hard to keep up during the school year with all the incoming paper but even more difficult at the end of the year when teachers are emptying out their classrooms and we become the recipients of all that schoolwork. So, what do you do?
Do you save every masterpiece?
Do you hang up every test?
Do you display your child’s diorama?
Yes, to all the above. You might say, why in the world would I keep all of it? I thought this blog was going to help me let go. We are but before you do, please read more.
This is a great time to work alongside your child and help them through this process too. Take the opportunity to talk through it all with your child. Teach them, don’t just through things out without them knowing. Help them to let go and you’ll learn that it could help you too.
First, gather all the items from the school year. Second, categorize items 1 of 2 ways. 1 way is to separate by subject or to put it in piles of keep, trash, give to grandparents. The third step is to start making decisions. Some questions you might ask yourself and your child to help guide you are, will this matter in 1 year, do we need this for future schooling for reference, do I like it, would my grandparents enjoy this? Check out this blog post from July 2022 for a 4 step process.
You have gone through all the paperwork and projects and the keep is TOO big. Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes when you see that piece of art from kindergarten a few years later you may be ready to let it go and your kids will surprise you, they will probably be ready to let go too. Here are some ideas to help you address all the keep and remember with time you may be able to let go of more but don’t beat yourself up. It takes time and practice.
1. Find a place to hang your child’s creations. It can be the refrigerator, their bedroom, or a hallway with this cool set from Amazon - https://amzn.to/43gpjlY. Alternate what gets hung. Let your child take on the responsibility of putting new items on display. They will take ownership and maybe once they see the item has gotten recognition for a time, they will be ready to let go.
2. Make a book of your child’s pieces. You can go to this website, send your child’s artwork and they take photos and make a book for you, https://www.plumprint.com/. You can still have the memories but not all the clutter.
3. Take those handprints and/or footprints and put them on a mug or cup. Snap Fish is a great resource for this, www.snapfish.com. Grandparents enjoy gifts like this and now they have a memory they can enjoy more frequently without all the clutter.
4. Use your child’s own words and/or artwork and put it on a calendar. This is a nice gift for family that is long distance or that you don’t get to see often. www.Etsy.com is a great resource for this. They can enjoy their family member’s memories and you can enjoy it without all the clutter.
5. This one is probably my favorite, take all those t-shirts from sports, activities, and their younger years and put them in a blanket. This one your child can enjoy and reminisce about for years to come. Find someone local that can do this for you.
Finally, I’d like to say that letting go is hard and an important part of this process. Our kids are only with us for such a short time in comparison to their entire lives and we want to treasure all those memories. My hope is that you can do it well without all the clutter. You have got this and when you don’t, we at Cure the Clutter, have got you!
PS. There are some affiliate links in this blog.
PSS. Visit our 4 step plan to deal with paper here.