Are you looking for a solution to organizing all of the school pictures and papers that your kids have accumulated during their school years? I’m sharing a simplified and beautiful way to preserve some of the best school memories with a School Memory Book!
I am SO excited to share my latest organization project with you today. Do you have something on your to-do list that is always hanging over your head. That thing that even when you feel like you are organized, the project is still looming in the back of your mind. For me, that thing is all of the kids’ school papers, pictures and artwork. Every summer I am reminded that I have boxes of school mementos that need to be organized.
The kids finished up school a few weeks ago and the school papers have piled up. I do my best to declutter and organize everything the kids bring home from school. But inevitably, at the end of the school year, we have piles and piles of school mementos that need to be organized. We do have a few storage solutions for our school papers and artwork, which I talked about in this post. But, I have been wanting a way to display some of the school highlights in a way that we can easily look through.
Recently, my mom came over with all of my school years scrapbooks. I had three huge scrapbooks filled to the brim with 1st day of school pictures, report cards, programs and awards. The kids had SO MUCH FUN going through my old books. There were a lot of laughs:)
I realized, that I wanted to capture some of the same school memories in some type of album for my kids. Unfortunately, the scrapbooks have not held up well over time. Plus, my scrap booking days are LONG over and I wanted to keep things as simple as possible.
With three kids, I wanted a process that would allow me to add pictures and mementos very easily. Also, I wanted a storage solution that could handle the test of time.
How to Organize School Papers
I’ve talked before about some ways we organize school papers. We use these large school portfolios to hold some of the best artwork and papers from each year. Plus, my kids each have a memory box that they fill with some of their extracurricular activity mementos. This can be ribbons, team pictures, programs to shows they went to or had a part in. Once the memory box gets full, we look through it and get rid of anything that doesn’t hold special meaning anymore.
I really try to encourage the kids to only keep very special and memorable things. I know from firsthand experience, when my mom brings over my old boxes, that I feel overwhelmed about more stuff I need to manage! Declutter and organize your kid’s mementos now so that you do not have to do it in 20 years! The reason we avoid decluttering is because we do not want to have to make decisions now. It seems easier to hang on to something than to decide if you should keep it and where you should keep it! Save yourself from those decisions down the line and take care of it now!
With all that being said, I want the stuff we do keep to be displayed and organized nicely!
I really appreciated how my mom made scrapbooks for my school memories. It was nice to be able to flip through the pages and take a trip down memory lane. That is why I went looking for a good way to display school memories!
I loved the way the first two portfolios came out that I bought two more! I am even using one to reorganize all of my old school stuff. These portfolios are available in a few different sizes but I like the standard 8.5 X 11 size. The perfect size for displaying on a shelf.
What to include in a School Memory Book
I was able to fit an entire grade school career in my daughter’s portfolio. There are 48 pages and I filled them with grades preschool through 6th grade! This took a lot of paring down, but I stuck to the same few keepsakes for each year.
I like having the consistency because you can really see how the child progresses over the years!
Here is what I included in the school memory album:
- 1st Day of School Picture
- Class Picture
- 4th quarter report card (there is no need to include every report card of the year–just the last one of the school year!)
- Last Day of School Picture
- Writing Sample
- Art Sample
- Awards and Commendations
- Team or club photos (optional as this could take up an entire book for some kids)
Capture a snapshot of what your child was like for that particular school year! It will be awesome to look back and see how they have changed and what is still similar about their personalities!
Be really selective in what you include. It is rewarding to pick out the TOP items and create a beautiful memory book! You do not need to include every award, every certificate and every accolade. Just pick the favorites!
Also, you don’t have to only include the positives. Be sure to share those not so perfect moments too! It is great to add funny items as well! My kids loved reading that my teacher said my handwriting was bad! I think it made them realize I was once just a kid too!
How to Assemble the School Memory Book
I’m being honest, this project was not quick! I recommend gathering up all the items you want to include in the book BEFORE you get started. You will probably realize that you are missing a few things. I found out that I had not printed out all of the kids’ first day of school pictures!
You will want to layer each page with a few things. If you use an entire page for just one item, you will fill up the book rather quickly!
You could even adhere all of the items to a piece of stock paper that you then slide into the sleeve. I decided not to do that extra step for now as I was trying to keep it so simple.
Instead of labeling anything inside the book, I used the first day of school pictures to transition to the next grade. It is pretty easy to recognize what grade is being displayed on each page. Again, keep it simple!
Since I got all black books, I did use my label maker (currently on sale) to put a label on the outside of everyone’s book. I don’t know what took me so long to own a label maker. I use this label maker almost every day for some sort of labeling need (in the kitchen, office, kids, etc!).
While the process does take time, I can assure you that it is SO REWARDING.
Now that I am all caught up, next year I just have to add in the items from their most recent grades. The bonus of this project is that I am already on track for a nice display at the kids’ graduation parties! Think of how fun it will for guests to scroll through these school memory books!
What to do with the rest of your child’s school papers?
So, you may be wondering what to do with the rest of your child’s school memories once you have narrowed down what goes in the memory book.
First, you need to take a good look at what is left. Certainly, there many be some items you still want to hang on to.
Ask the question, “Will this specific paper/memento hold meaning to my child or me in 20 years?”
I think it helped that I had just looked through my own school memory books. I was VERY comfortable with letting go of a lot of the kid’s school stuff. It is nice to have a “snapshot” of different stages of life, but honestly, you don’t need boxes and bins of past memories! Do you need a program from every school concert you were in? How about hanging on to every ribbon your child has every received?
Do not burden yourself (or your child) with holding on to all the STUFF!
Each of the kids still has a ONE memory bin (that I talked about in this post). The memory bin holds some special ribbons, notes from teachers and other items that do not fit in the memory book. When this memory bin gets full, we go through all of it and pare down the keepsakes. I really let the kids decide what to keep in the memory bin because it something they will take when they move out of the house.
Limit yourself to one storage box or bin for each child. When it gets full, go through it and get rid of anything you are willing to let go of. I still use these school portfolios for each of the kids. These contain school test results, other special art or writing samples, personal notes from teachers, etc.
Next, I am working on organizing the kids’ artwork. I put a few art pieces in their memory portfolio, but I do still have a bin of stuff per child. So, I’ve got a fun idea to organize their art that I will be sharing soon!
How to you organize your kid’s school memories?
Looking for more ideas on how to organize kids’ stuff? Check out these posts:
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