How Parents Can Help Their Children Get Organized and Learn to Be Productive Part 4

Organizing Children’s Keepsakes

One of the common complaints I hear from parents is about all the stuff that comes home from school.  Where do you put all those great art projects, mementos, and clay handprints you just have to keep?

Create a treasure box for each child. When each of my children was born, I wanted to save all the little things from the hospital: the nametags on their cribs, the bracelets from their wrists, their “going home” outfits, and all those things. Add to that their first pair of shoes, their favorite (now cast-away) blanket or stuffed animal, their first lost tooth—what a bunch of stuff! So I got three of those sturdy plastic bins with a lid and designated one for each child. I keep each treasure box on the shelves in their closets and add to them as I come across a “must save” keepsake.

Collect your children’s art projects. Get a three-drawer rolling storage cart, cardboard chest of drawers, or large plastic storage bin to store your child’s art projects and schoolwork.  Each of my children has one of these craft chests in his/her closet. The trick is to make sure you’re only keeping the most special papers: original creations, “firsts,” and items that weren’t mostly created with the help of an adult. Or you can use an art portfolio, which stores flat and can only hold so much. Just remember that you can only keep as much as the chest, bin, or portfolio can hold. When you run out of room, you have to purge. Fawn over your child’s projects as you should, but then secretly throw most of them out when your child isn’t looking. I have a single large envelope of very special art projects I created as a child that my mother saved; as an adult, I wouldn’t want to own any more than those. Remember, you’re saving for your children, so don’t burden them with unnecessary clutter.

Set up a baby book for each child. Ideally, you would have started each child’s book upon becoming pregnant, kept up with it as the child reached milestones, and completed it before you forgot everything that happened. If you didn’t, don’t despair. It’s not too late to get a baby book, fill in the blanks, and gather as much information as you can. For me, my baby book is a real treasure. I love feeling the lock of my baby hair and looking at the little bracelet that had been placed on my wrist at birth. Your kids will certainly love to know the details of their births, as they get older, especially when it’s time for them to have kids of their own.

Create a school memories book for each child. I found an excellent school memories book from Lillian Vernon. It has two pages for each grade K through 12. In addition to giving lines to record activities, signature, friends, dreams, and vital statistics, the book has a pocket for each grade to store the most important documents: report cards, photos, letters to Santa, and small samples of artwork. To keep up, I wait until the school pictures come in from that school year. I paste the photo, fill in some of the blanks, and (the trick) give it to my child to fill out the rest. I keep them handy on the bookshelf in my office and throughout the year, I put important items (report cards, a special drawing, a letter to Santa, etc.) in the keepsake pockets.