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What to do with all those school papers

Updated on February 25, 2014

Saving Your Child's Schoolwork Without the Clutter

My daughter always brought home "what seemed like tons" of school papers and artwork. I would always think, "Wow, this is really good - I have to keep this one." In just a couple of months after the start of just one school year, there would be a large pile of school work. The neat, orderly piles quickly spread into a big irritating mess that I would shove into drawers, boxes and closets. As the first few years flew by, it was evident that I could not keep all of her work.

So what do I do with all these papers? Do I keep them? Do I throw them out? How do I narrow down which ones to keep and which ones to toss? Am I a bad parent if I get rid of them? Oh - what should I do? I'd struggled with these questions, and I know you probably have too

First, let me remind you that you can not keep it all. Secondly, let me tell you that you should not feel guilty putting most of it into the recycle bin. Thirdly, you can keep the memories without actually keeping the papers.

"How?", you may ask. All you need is a camera and a photo album, scrapbook or a writable CD.

What Do You Do With All Those Papers?

What do you do?

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Three Things to Remember

1 - You can not keep it all.

2 - You should not feel guilty for putting most of it into the recycle bin.

3 - You can keep the memories without actually keeping the papers.

What You Will Need

1 - Camera

2 - Photo album, scrapbook, or writable CD

Photp by Mel-Kav
Photp by Mel-Kav

Photograph Your Little Angel's Work and Accomplishments

Photos Keep Memories Real

Dig out all of those A+ papers, masterpiece works of art, shoebox dioramas, name tags, report cards, and hard-earned awards etc. Then start photographing!

How large you make the photos and how you arrange them are up to you.

1 - If you are crafty and enjoy scrapbooking, this is a fun and attractive way to compile all of that great work. The photo in the introduction is the cover of one of the scrapbooks that I made to remember my daughter's school years. I scattered photos of her work throughout the book, along with photos of her and her friends, and school activities. See photos of my scrapbook pages later in this lens.

You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to using photos of the school work. You can incorporate the actual piece of work into your scrapbook pages.

2 - If you are not into scrapbooking, you can easily take the photos and put them right into a photo album. It's that easy. No cutting, measuring, gluing, writing or trying to think of new and creative ideas for the next page.

3 - If you are not into scrapbooks or photo albums, you can place all of the photos onto a CD. By doing this you can take photos of everything and have them on file in your computer.

Photo by Mel-Kav
Photo by Mel-Kav

Putting It All Together

Saving Memories

There are so many ways you can arrange photos of your child's schoolwork and artwork.

The photo above shows a sample page from my scrapbook where I just placed photos of my daughter's work side by side. If you prefer, you can even keep the original piece of work and put them into the scrapbook.

The photo to the right shows school work and awards put into the scrapbook.

As I mentioned earlier, you can make the photos as large or as small as you would like. Since I wanted to keep a lot of my daughter's work, I often made the photos smaller (but large enough to read) and scattered them throughout the pages of the scrapbook. If you are planning on doing a scrapbook for each year, you may choose to use larger photos or even use the original paperwork.

I loved making my daughter's scrapbook because I could be as creative as my imagination would allow me to be.

What to Save in Pictures

1 - Schoolwork

2 - Artwork

3 - Books

4 - Awards

5 - Report cards

6 - Diplomas

etc....

Creating My Daughter's Scrapbook - Remembering The Years Goneby

Photo by Mel-Kav
Photo by Mel-Kav

The photo above is just a section on a page of the scrapbook that I made for my daughter (Sarah). For this photo, I actually scattered and arranged some of her artwork, her preschool diploma, and other papers on the floor and snapped away. I loved this look.

You can also take individual pictures of different items and cut them out / trim them. Then arrange them and overlap them directly onto the scrapbook page. You can be a little more creative that way, if you don't mind the extra work.

For many of the photos, I even typed up a little explanation of the significance of the work and pasted it to the photo. Of course, you can also do this for a simple photo album.

TRUST ME - It is OK to put all of the originals in the recycle bin, because now you have the photos to remind you of your little one's school years. It is all too much to keep. Let's face it - years from now, are you really going to sit and manually go through 12 years worth of faded, discolored and wrinkled papers? OK - you might, but there will be an awful lot to go through, and most of it won't hold up too well in a hot/cold attic or basement.

Which would you prefer? To snuggle into a comfy chair with a nice cup of hot chocolate while you flip through the pages of a wonderful book in which you travel down memory lane and enjoy photos of all aspects of your child's life - or to sit on a cold and uncomfortable floor surrounded by boxes and unorganized messes of papers to sort through?

If you need some ideas, take a browse through a few sample pages and sections of pages from Sarah's scrapbook.

Confidentiality

To maintain the privacy of other children in the following photographs, I have blurred out most faces and names.

Samples From Sarah's Scrapbook - Just a Few

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here is a page from preschool.  She went on a class trip to the B&O Railroad Museum. I photographed her report and put it with photos of the trip.Here is a close-up of her report.Here is a photo of a banner she made in pre-school of her and her best friends.Sarah in kindergarten. I included a drawing of herself, an award, her handmade cottonball sheep, and her report card.Here is a close-up of the drawing of herself.  You can add extra little details, like the paint palette and brushes.Here is a close-up of a photo of the little lamb she made for her Christmas play.A page from second grade.  I added a section of various schoolwork.  I also included a photo of her  program from her First Communion.A close-up of the photo with various artwork, schoolwork, awards and report card.  These were separate photos which I arranged on the page.Eighth grade basketball section. Undefeated in regular season.  They had beat their biggest rival both games that season, until the championship.Close-up of the tournament schedule and some photos of the scoreboard.  What a great season.  The final game was so close - didn't get the scoreboard.
Here is a page from preschool.  She went on a class trip to the B&O Railroad Museum. I photographed her report and put it with photos of the trip.
Here is a page from preschool. She went on a class trip to the B&O Railroad Museum. I photographed her report and put it with photos of the trip.
Here is a close-up of her report.
Here is a close-up of her report.
Here is a photo of a banner she made in pre-school of her and her best friends.
Here is a photo of a banner she made in pre-school of her and her best friends.
Sarah in kindergarten. I included a drawing of herself, an award, her handmade cottonball sheep, and her report card.
Sarah in kindergarten. I included a drawing of herself, an award, her handmade cottonball sheep, and her report card.
Here is a close-up of the drawing of herself.  You can add extra little details, like the paint palette and brushes.
Here is a close-up of the drawing of herself. You can add extra little details, like the paint palette and brushes.
Here is a close-up of a photo of the little lamb she made for her Christmas play.
Here is a close-up of a photo of the little lamb she made for her Christmas play.
A page from second grade.  I added a section of various schoolwork.  I also included a photo of her  program from her First Communion.
A page from second grade. I added a section of various schoolwork. I also included a photo of her program from her First Communion.
A close-up of the photo with various artwork, schoolwork, awards and report card.  These were separate photos which I arranged on the page.
A close-up of the photo with various artwork, schoolwork, awards and report card. These were separate photos which I arranged on the page.
Eighth grade basketball section. Undefeated in regular season.  They had beat their biggest rival both games that season, until the championship.
Eighth grade basketball section. Undefeated in regular season. They had beat their biggest rival both games that season, until the championship.
Close-up of the tournament schedule and some photos of the scoreboard.  What a great season.  The final game was so close - didn't get the scoreboard.
Close-up of the tournament schedule and some photos of the scoreboard. What a great season. The final game was so close - didn't get the scoreboard.

How Do You Save Memories?

When it comes to scrapbooking, which is your preference?

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The Scrapbook on Amazon - Presentation

Take your choice of how you want to capture those precious moments of your child's growing years. There are so many different choices, ranging from blank scrapbooks in which you can create whatever you want - to scrapbooks which have basic layouts and even provide your embellishments.

And there is also the choice of using a standard photo album, a memory stick, or computerized scrapbooks.

It is all up to you - let your creativity flow.

MBI 849158 School Days Album, 12 x 12, Green
MBI 849158 School Days Album, 12 x 12, Green

Includes ten 12x12 inch page protectors with white cardstock inserts; and is expandable for additional pages and posts. This is the one I used, because I wanted to be completely creative.

 
Hallmark Album School Days Instant Scrapbook
Hallmark Album School Days Instant Scrapbook

No time for being creative - then this book is for you. It includes ready school themed cardstock pages and stickers and other extras. Just add your photos and embellishments

 
Pioneer Embossed Floral Frame Leatherette Cover Photo Album, Black
Pioneer Embossed Floral Frame Leatherette Cover Photo Album, Black

So you just want to put the photos right into and album and be done - then this one is for you. Holds 200 4-inch by 6-inch photos - 2 Photos per page

 

Scrapbooking Paper on Amazon

There are so many different background papers to choose from. I love using the specialty papers, because I can always find ones that fit great with my theme. It adds character to your pages.

Neenah Creative Collection Specialty Cardstock Starter Kit, 12" x 12", 65 lb, 18-Color Assortment, 72 Sheets (46408-02)
Neenah Creative Collection Specialty Cardstock Starter Kit, 12" x 12", 65 lb, 18-Color Assortment, 72 Sheets (46408-02)

Thick, plain colored 12x12 inches card stock. I used these in place of the white pages. Add school themed paper on top - refer to my photos. Use both sides for a two sided page. Most themed papers are only one sided.

 
Bella! Boutique School Days Paper Pack 12"X12"
Bella! Boutique School Days Paper Pack 12"X12"

Paper Pack. This package contains twelve sheets of 12x12 inch single-sided scrapbooking papers (two each of six designs). Theme: School Days. Acid and lignin free.

 

Embellishments on Amazon

And don't forget your embellishments. These little decorative stickers, etc, add to your creativity and really dress up your pages. There are so many different themes to choose from. The possibilities are endless.

Paper House Productions STDM-0030E 3D Cardstock Stickers, School Days (3-Pack)
Paper House Productions STDM-0030E 3D Cardstock Stickers, School Days (3-Pack)

3-Dimensional cardstock stickers with epoxy foil glitter and glossy accents

 
Sticko EK52-00467 First Day of School Stickers, Multicolor
Sticko EK52-00467 First Day of School Stickers, Multicolor

These First Day of School stickers feature a school bus, crayons and classroom sentiments.

 
K&Company School Scrapbook Kit Flip Pack
K&Company School Scrapbook Kit Flip Pack

Created to show off every design, you can check out each charming accent within K&Company's embellishment flip packs. Chose from assorted packs of Clearly Yours, Grand Adhesions Stickers, Rub-ons, layered chipboard and die-cut word, letter and phrase stickers.

 

Necessities on Amazon

And don't forget tape and glue to keep your photos in place.

Pioneer Auto Mounts Permanent Mounting Squares Roller 350/Pkg, Permanent
Pioneer Auto Mounts Permanent Mounting Squares Roller 350/Pkg, Permanent

Double sided adhesive strips - individual small squares. Easy to apply.

 
Tesa 4965 Double-sided Scrapbook Tape, 36 yard Length, 1/2" Width, 8 mil Thick, Clear (Pack of 1)
Tesa 4965 Double-sided Scrapbook Tape, 36 yard Length, 1/2" Width, 8 mil Thick, Clear (Pack of 1)

This is my favorite to use. It is a little awkward to work with, because you have to peel the plastic off the top side. But it works great.

 
Elmer's Craftbond Adhesives multi Pack
Elmer's Craftbond Adhesives multi Pack

Ideal for scrapbooks, arts, crafts, school and office. These glues are acid-free and archival safe. A permanent bond is created within seconds. Set includes 6g CraftBond Glue Stick, Elmer's Glue Stick Pen, CraftBond Memory Glue Pen, and 25 gram CraftBond

 

A Few Links To Help With Ideas

So, you want to go the scrapbook route. These links focus on scrapbooking. They give you ideas for page layouts and themes for your memory book.

Remember, you can always incorporate photos of your child's school work.

Digital Scrapbooking

Downloads and programs to assist you with digital scrapbooking. I haven't tried any of these, but they look promising. My Norton Security has scanned them to be safe sites.

I would love to know what you do with all of your child's school work. Do you keep it or toss it. Do you scrapbook?

Tell Me Your Thoughts

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    • profile image

      happynutritionist 

      4 years ago

      What a fabulous idea, I wish I'd been into scrapbooking back when my children were growing up. Each had a big box that I piled their memorable things in.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 

      4 years ago from Washington State

      Online scrap booking is the way I want to learn. I have many kept things that are still waiting to be put into an album of sorts. Love the idea of making them digital. Very helpful lens, thanks.

    • JessicaLVine LM profile image

      JessicaLVine LM 

      4 years ago

      OMG. Life saver!! I have felt so guilty for putting my kiddo's things in the bin. :( Now I can put them in an online scrap book and not have them taking up room!

    • JustineKnott profile image

      JustineKnott 

      4 years ago

      Great ideas. I have years of my son's school stuff bulging out of my cupboards!

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 

      4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for the ideas! My daughter is in 7th and its a little easier now. But I have a huge bin at home with as much as I could save from Elementary...

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 

      4 years ago

      The ideas you have shared are GREAT! I am glad to be here right now :)

    • PadmashriSriram profile image

      PadmashriSriram 

      4 years ago

      Wow! That is some nice way to save our childs work. Awesome lens.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      4 years ago

      How I wish I had thought of this when my son was young. Cameras, scanners, and computers are the perfect tools for saving children's school work and art projects. I like scrapbooking and, of course, digital scrapbooking too.

    • Babu Mohan profile image

      Mohan Babu 

      4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Great ideas.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      These would make nice wedding gifts for a child.

    • profile image

      candace-peters-crew 

      4 years ago

      Thanks this has motivated me to go through the piles (and piles) of awards, papers, artwork, etc. and take pictures of them at least for now. Great idea to get rid of the clutter and still preserve the memories!

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Great lens and idea here, I need to organize Thanks

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 

      4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Oh man, I wish I had known you when my kids were still in school! Excellent ideas! Great lens!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 

      4 years ago

      Thoughtful idea for preserving momentos that otherwise might be scrambled up under the bed.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 

      4 years ago

      Nice lens, I still have some of my kids artwork, and it makes me laugh to this very day!

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