Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response to this blog post,
I have updated it with current photos and helpful tips + information. Enjoy!
confession time: i have lots and lots of school papers + artwork from quinn that are in a big crate. it is not organized. i don't have a system figured out yet. and it will keep growing until i need another crate if i don't do something about this soon. and tate has just started preschool, so his paper pile has just begun. this makes me sad because there are so many sweet memories inside of this crate that deserve to be documented and seen instead of being buried in a big pile of papers.
i've been trying to figure out a system for organizing + documenting all of this paper. right now i save everything. and i mean every single thing. i just can't bring myself to throw out anything because my boys made them and i'm a super sentimental mom. and if i try to part with a few things here and there and quinn happens to see it in the recycle bin, he gets it out and asks how it got in there - to which i reply, "i have no idea!" so, until i know for sure i won't need it or i can definitely live the rest of my life without drowning in mommy guilt over throwing it away, the pile in the crate continues to grow.
i've searched pinterest for ideas and bought file boxes + folders with good intentions. but all of quinn's papers have just ended up in a big pile in that crate. and now there is tate's pile of papers too. getting all of this organized + figuring out a system to document it all is just one more thing on my ever growing to do list. i want to do it, but i just haven't figured out what to do with all of the paper. sound familiar?
well, guess what? i found my solution! i found a way to organize and document all of the paper memories for the boys.
first, i watched this video from becky higgins about organizing kid's stuff. this got me motivated to get all of the papers organized by school year because i'm a bit obsessed about having things in chronological order. the most important thing i learned from this video was to put each child's name and the date on the back of all papers as they go into the dumping basket or crate. this way you can easily go back and sort the papers when you have time.
but what was i going to do with all of the papers? well, document them all project life style of course! and this time i'm going completely digital.
i'm making a personal yearbook for each of my boys to document all of their school papers + artwork - and i'm doing it digitally!
here is the plan:
- i will make a personal yearbook for each school year and it will include all paperwork - school work, drawings, art work and crafts made either at home or at school for that year.
- each of my boys will have his own basket to put his papers into each day. i will go through it at the end of every month to sort into either the keep + scan pile or the recycle pile. (yes, i will make a decision right on the spot to not keep every single thing. this will be hard, but i want to keep in mind that by letting go of the majority of the papers it means that the important stuff can have a special place in their books.)
- i will scan or take photos of all of the paper work + art work. going digital is the plan!
- i am going to keep up with the sorting, scanning + photos throughout the month. the plan is to do a little each week so i'm ready to put the digital pages together at the end of the month.
- i will file or recycle all papers into one "keep box" for each of the boys. after scanning and photographing the papers, i will then keep only a small selection of the best/cutest/most favorite/special pieces of artwork. the rest will go into the recycle bin since we already have a digital copy of them for the book.
- i am going to include photos of the boys at school or making their artwork. i'm a photographer and i love to document with photos so naturally photos will be a part of this project. but just a few photos here and there. this is not the same thing as the yearly photo books i'm making for each of my boys (see quinn's book here.) this personal yearbook will focus on the paperwork and the yearly photo books will focus on the photos.
- throw away the rules and include whatever i want. when i first started to think about this project, i was set on including only school related paperwork. but then i realized that quinn has lots + lots of drawings he has made at home. and where would i put them? well, this is his personal yearbook, so i will include it all in this book.
- i am doing this digitally! i'm going to be scanning + photographing all of the paperwork, so it just made sense to keep it all in the digital format. the plan is to create the 12x12 page layouts using my simply white life pages 12x12 templates and save them each month. at the end of the summer (i want to include their summer artwork too), i will have the books printed.
tate's personal yearbook:
i was so excited when this idea clicked in my head that i immediately started working on tate's personal yearbook. he just started preschool and only has a small pile of papers. so it was a smaller project to tackle. sort, scan, photograph and assemble in photoshop = done!
so here are the first few pages of tate's personal yearbook...
title page: i printed out the card on the top right with a little explanation about this personal yearbook. then i added cards from becky higgins' personal yearbook mini kit and tate's first day of school photo from pre-k 3 + pre-k 4 (since I'm putting both preschool years in one book).
left side: i made the top left card from some simple digital chalkboard paper and print clearly font. i printed out the card on the top right from becky higgins' personal yearbook mini kit and had tate write his name on it. then i scanned this card and inserted it into this page layout.
i also included tate's first day of school photos (bottom right collage photo template from the simply white collection v3), scanned drawings and a poem the teacher gave the me on his first day of preschool.
right side: more school photos, a photo of some artwork, journaling about tate's first day of preschool and a favorite memory from this month. his class has a theme every month, so i added that on the august month card.
left side: artwork that I scanned and photographed with my iphone, an accident report from when tate got hurt (very minor, but part of his preschool memories) that i scanned and cards from becky higgins' personal yearbook mini kit.
right side: i love to take photos of the boys in their school so they can see it all one day. this month's photos included cookie day, tate's lunch (no, i don't make his name in cheese letters everyday - this was a special treat), pick-up and outside his classroom. more artwork and a favorite memory.
i am already working on putting quinn's personal yearbook together. i sorted, tossed and scanned his preschool papers this past weekend. scanning was a pretty fast process and i'm already well on my way to getting his entire preschool book completed!
the goal for this project is not perfection. it is about getting it done + documented.
tell me how do you organize and document your kid's school papers and artwork?
(this is not the same personal yearbook project that i am working on with quinn's class. you can see more about that project here.)