Friday, July 23, 2010

School Clutter

The Green Phone Booth welcomes back Jess of Sweet Eventide.

This summer, I am working on the Big Purge. I haven't done one for about two years and a lot of clutter has been building up. As I'm going through the mountains of paper, I'm realizing what some of my obstacles are with paper clutter. I read the Happiness Project book several months ago and I remember one specific kind of clutter Gretchen talks about it is "aspirational clutter." I definitely have a problem with this. Stuff will come in the mail or someone will mail me a magazine article and it is something that sounds appealing to do. I don't want to forget about a possible idea so I save the paper for someday. Well someday is this summer and it's ridiculous how many things I never ended up doing. At least it makes the decision to recycle a lot faster and easier after this much time has gone by.

Another significant source of paper clutter in my house is sentimental clutter. I am really struggling with regarding my only child's school work. He just finished first grade and I am having some serious struggles getting rid of his work. Here's but a whiff of the problem.


All these worksheets that he has done (which is not the bulk of his school work), well, I think they are pretty darling. I love his tidy handwriting and I know from helping him with homework, it takes a lot of effort. He works so hard on his spacing of letters and spaces between words, not to mention the punctuation. I haven't even read every single sheet that has come home but thank goodness I didn't toss it all straight into the recycle bin or I would have missed this gem from a worksheet his teacher had him fill out about himself.


Who needs: time with my mom.
Who gives: love.
Who fears: sharks.
Who hopes for: a good life.

Seriously my then-six-year-old son wrote that he hopes for a good life! What is a mama supposed to do? How do you all deal with this kind of paper clutter? I know I cannot keep every single worksheet that comes home from school for the next 10 years. Shoot me! This is not even the artwork which I have in large underbed bins, one bin per calendar year. (I'm out of space after this year).

Sentimental clutter is obviously another hang up for me. I have cards and pictures galore and this is not even saving every thing. I have actually made progress over the years. I can't stand the clutter, I'm out of storage and I shudder at the idea of scanning everything because I already have a photo storage nightmare going on.

I need help! Ideas?

10 comments:

JAM said...

I bought an accordion folder for each kid and over the A - B - C headings I made labels for K, 1, 2, etc. When I got to HS I doubled up to make things fit through 12th grade. I save "good" things throughout the year in the folder, and then at the end of the year I sit down with each kid and look at the 20 or so things I saved and together we cull it down to 5 or 6. So by the end of HS there will be a complete record but not an overwhelming amount of stuff. We have fun looking back through it, and it fits easily on my photo album shelf. I don't save report cards or other "boring" things since I am really interested in samples of my kids' writing, art, math, etc.

Condo Blues said...

Can you get him to help you? Explain to him the storage problem and that if you could, you'd truly keep everything. Ask him to help you decide what he is most proud of maybe that will help you hold on to the real treasures.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Lol, I have a HUGE problem with aspirational clutter. What a great term!

Beate said...

I totally know what you mean! My 5 year old daughter is even worse than me! She wants to keep everything down to wrapping paper and packaging. She tells me: But mom, we can reuse it!
Add to that all the drawings and crafts she brings home, we need to buy a bigger house soon! And really, what are you supposed to do? Tell your child: Oh honey, this is such a beautiful picture - but let's throw it out anyway?

Our solution is this: We keep the most beautiful things and the "milestone" ones and we take pictures of the rest before recycle them. I guess we are transferring the real clutter into digital clutter. My hopes are that in a few years we can then actually delete the majority of the digital clutter.

dbilberry said...

Like the last poster, I take pics of all my daughter's art work. I plan on making a screen saver slide show out of it. Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

A scanner. Many printer/scanner/copiers cost under $80. If you buy a more expensive model, you can get more features and it will scan faster. But if you just take a moment to scan when he brings home these gems (30 seconds?), you can have PDFs of every little worksheet, organized into neat little folders on a computer (backed up on an external source of some kind on a regular basis).
This also makes them easy to access - just open the folder or load the backup source - much easier than going to the attic/basement/wherever to shift a bunch of boxes and dig out the one you want, which is really not likely to happen. That's why these things tend to accumulate close at hand anyway - so they are *right there* when you want to browse them.
Photos work for the larger artwork, but a scanner is great for worksheets and everything else that is regular paper size.

Daisy said...

Children's art work: we sent it to the grandparents. They loved it. The sweet pieces, like the little poem, we kept in a rubbermaid storage container. My daughter's early writing samples are there; she's now pursuing a career in journalism. Some day we'll share them with her. Finally, recycle or shred the rest. It's okay. Your special memories will carry you through.

Jessica said...

Yep, we scan most of it in and then toss the original. Then we use some of the digital versions mixed in with the year's photos in digital scrapbooks (that we publish in books once per year) ... you can keep all of the artwork in digital form indefinitely, or until you can decide what it is you can part with.

Melissa @ HerGreenLife said...

I like JAM's suggestion. The digitizing could be useful, or it could get out of hand. I already feel like our digital photos are out of control, and we don't even have kids yet!

Anonymous said...

and a good program like for example www.fonts4teachers.com It really helps speed up penmanship.

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