backpackAdmit it.  The school year is over and you still have a pile of papers sitting in your child’s backpack. It’s ok. This presents you with a fabulous opportunity and a teachable moment!

While you are undoubtedly proud of your child’s work, now is a great time to decide which papers and projects to keep (or not).  Decide with your child ahead of time an appropriate number of pieces that you are going to keep.  Be flexible.  If you find one or two over that number, don’t worry but you probably should not keep all of them!

Have your child choose which pieces of artwork they would like to display.  Turn them over and put your child’s name and the current year’s date on it. String a piece of fishing line between two hooks on a wall.  I recommend Command Hooks which do not damage walls and are easy to apply (and remove). Find some colorful clothes pins (can often be found at a dollar store) and clip the artwork to the line.  You now have created a rotating art gallery.

What to do with the artwork or papers you are not yet ready to toss? Again, label the reverse side with your child’s name and the current year.  Find an appropriate size box that will fit the size papers you have that is preferably not more than 5” in height. Place all of the “keep” papers in the box. On the very top of the pile of papers, put a page with the following information on it:  his or her name and the name of the box (School Memories / Artwork by…)  and the year.  Encourage your child to draw a label for the front of the box. Store the box away either on a closet shelf or under the bed.

Next year, repeat the process but first, sort through the prior year’s papers.  Are there some in there that are no longer as precious as they seemed last summer?  It is ok to get rid of them (as long as you both agree). Add to the top of the pile this year’s collection of papers and top it with your child’s name and the current year.

Oh, by the way, you don’t need to wait until the end of school to add to the current year’s pile. Kids also bring home lots of artwork from Summer Camp. Once the item is done being on display in the art gallery, you and your child can decide if it should be in the memory box or recycled.  Repeat these steps throughout the year and you will have the beginning of a great memory box.