School's out and that means your child came home with a backpack full of projects, assignments, journal entries and schoolwork. Sigh. Sentimental keepsakes are one of the hardest things to reasonably maintain and your child's masterpieces can be difficult to manage. Whether your child is just starting to scribble ("that's a drawing of the entire family!"), learning how to spell ("that says 'I love my mom!'") or learning math ("such a feat to add those apples and oranges!"), it's important to keep projects, drawing and sentimental items (like birthday cards, theatre brochures and precious clothing) in check. Creating a curated collection will leave you with something more special and convenient than boxes and boxes of keepsakes. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is for your child to have something to look back on and remind them of their youth. And if you hold on to everything, the whole collection will become less enticing and approachable. So think before you collect and make each item count!
Here are some tips for keeping sentimental items in check while ensuring that your little one feels like the artist and explorer they are:
1) Hang the latest drawings on a bulletin board.
As soon as your child hands you a drawing that they're proud of, show them how much you love it by hanging it up on a bulletin board. Give them a few days to feel great about what they made and then replace it with a newer drawing. Send the older pieces to the trash and appreciate the newer ones.
2) Create a binder to contain and display the best scribbles, drawings and notes.
Grab any three ring binder and fill it up with plastic sheet protectors. Choose only the best and most special items to hold on to and slowly watch the binder fill up. You'll be able to see your little artist's progress and create something that they're proud of and can flip through on their own. They can even decorate the cover on their own!
3) Photograph larger projects and create a photo book.
Since mobiles, dioramas and 3D projects can be cumbersome and tough to store, photographing them will make things a lot easier. Print out the photos yourself or order a photo book once you've accumulated enough pieces.
4) Store super-special keepsakes in a clear plastic container.
Buy a container for each child and properly label each one so things don't get mixed up. When you come across an item that you consider to be really special, place it in the box. Separate birthday cards, travel keepsakes and special notes by containing the various categories in plastic envelopes (properly labeled, of course!).
Most importantly, though, is to be mindful of what you hold on to and to avoid letting things get out of hand. If you're left with multiple boxes and binders down the line, you and your child will be less likely to look through any of them. Moderation is key!