Memory Keeping: Organizing Children’s Art and Other Keepsakes
I have finally tackled the bags and bags of artwork, tickets, programs, newspaper clippings and other “souvenirs” that I had been hoarding as I waited to turn them into scrapbooks for the girls. I have to admit, in the end, I ended up throwing a lot of stuff away. But I think I got us to a good place. I am not a scrapbooker and I don’t aspire to be one. I do want to keep special things that I think that the girls will get a kick out of later in life but I have no interest in putting together detailed pages with umbrella stickers and captions like “Fun in the Sun.” (BTW, whenever I say that to my mom she says I’m mean so if you do that, no offense.) So here’s what I came up with. I bought each girl two basic scrapbooks that you insert those plastic sleeves into. I also bought the sleeves and the most basic colored scrapbook paper – no patterns. Those scrapbook supplies are a racket so I highly recommend grabbing a weekly coupon if possible. Around here we have JoAnn’s and Michael’s which both do a “40% off one item” coupon every week in the Sunday paper.
Like I said, I purged A LOT. I had been saving things that no one is going to care about. Papers from the hospital saying they passed their hearing screenings, tickets from the zoo, etc. So instead of thinking like a mom and cherishing all those memories, I thought like an adult kid and asked myself if I would be happy to have something today. For example, I get a kick out of my old report cards, so of course, I saved preschool evaluations, report cards, etc. I might like to see a couple of old drawings but I would not care now to see 10 stick figure drawings that say “Mommy.” Then I took what was left and I made each girl a memory book with things like newspaper clippings, report cards, programs from recitals, playbooks, particularly special poems from school or those funny things where they ask the kids how old their mom is and they say 10. All that kind of stuff and any other small tokens from trips, etc. went into one book. Now that I am on top of it, the goal will be to just add to the books as things happen.
I then started each kid an art book using the same kind of basic scrapbook. This book will just hold artwork. If the art was 8.5 x 11 or smaller I adhered it to scrapbook paper. If it was large or otherwise awkward-shaped, I folded it neatly and placed it directly in the sleeve. I put a fair amount of really special paintings/drawings in real frames throughout our house. But they (and my guilt) were making me hold onto a lot of other stuff. Some of it, I still love and want to keep (it will go in the artbook) but there are also the 10,000 rainbows, the coloring book pages, etc. which while great, aren’t necessarily worth saving. A lot of artwork gets hung up on our blackboard at home for a few months and then thrown away. I get caught throwing them away more than I would like to admit and this really bothers the kids. So this art book idea will help with everything. What I decided is that if they really believe it is special, we can add it to their art book. Hopefully, they will start to edit themselves but if not, I will have a place where I can file it away. And because I am stocked up on sleeves, I can easily add to the book whenever we want to.
- E-family news: Tell Me About Your Picture – Children’s and Their Artwork