Why I Toss Most of My Son’s School Work at the end of the School Year

Hi friends, I’m smack dab in the middle of preparing for our church Vacation Bible School program that starts next week.  I will once again be playing a part in the daily skits and have a lot of lines to learn.  Yikes!

With all the busyness going on with the last few weeks of school in June and now VBS, I haven’t been doing a lot of organizing.  I have however been donating and throwing things out like crazy.  Gosh so much stuff comes home with the kids at the end of the year, especially with my youngest who just finished Grade 1.  These are the cute years where every little paper and art project is just precious and lovely.  I try really hard not to get sucked in by it all.  Most of what comes home gets tossed because I’m emotionally dead.  Hahaha….just kidding….about the emotionally dead part that is….not about the tossing of the sentimental stuff.

Here’s how I look at it.  The more I decide to keep, the more I have to find a home for.  And since I have limited space that pretty much makes the decision for me right there.  Of course I could keep it and have it pile up and up and up and then start dreaming about a bigger home to house all this stuff that I insist is more important than all the $$ it would cost me for a new home.  BUT that all sounds like way too much work to me.  I’m much too lazy and well  I really am quite content in my home (which is 1000 square feet smaller than my last home and the exact reason why I love this one so much better).  I think in the long run I’d rather just make this home work for me.  So that means less room for stuff and I’m okay with that.  I kept my son’s journal and his one scrapbook of art.  Plus of course all his report cards and a few pieces that were important to him but that’s pretty much it.  Each of the kids have one tote in their closet for the larger pieces and a memory binder sorted by year for all the rest.  I just recently converted my older two kids from the memory binder system to a memory file box and will blog about that soon and why I decided to change it out.  For more information about school paper/art work organization, feel free to check out these older posts of mine:

Organizing All That School Clutter

Taming the School Clutter….Again

Organizing Keepsakes with Memory Binders and Totes

Do you find it hard or easy to part with your child’s school work?

And just to prove that I’ve been a purging machine, here’s a look at the purging I’ve done since I last shared my purging progress earlier this year.  This doesn’t include all the stuff we got rid of when we cleaned out the garage and another load we dropped off for the church garage sale.

Ahh it feels sooo good to purge!  Don’t overthink it.  Just do it!!  Seriously that feeling just never gets old.  Go collect a bag full of goodies right now and feel the high!  Believe me, you won’t be able to stop at just one bag :)  Come back and tell me what you are saying goodbye to.

Hope you are having a great day!

Filed under: Kid Stuff, My Life, School Stuff


18 Responses to Why I Toss Most of My Son’s School Work at the end of the School Year

  1. 2
    Sally B says

    I so enjoy your posts! What I started doing when my mother passed away and I couldnt keep all her things, is I took photos of the items that had sentimental value but I didnt have room for. Its certainly a lot easier to file a photo or keep it on a cd or hard drive than the item itself. I have started doing that with my kids school items as well and put them in the scrapbook that I started for them for their school years. :)

    • 2.1
      McKenzie Morgan says

      This is a great idea! I’m a high school student and I still have assignments from middle school (and elementary) I’m extremely sentimental, but I love organization. My younger sister (though she’s only 18 months younger) has all of these drawings from our childhood that I have stashed away, and now I know what to do with them, and my printer just happens to have a scanner for the notes I don’t have time to type and print. This is so helpful!

  2. 3
    Carey says

    When my daughter was in school, I had one large drawer at the bottom of a big wardrobe chest where we put any and all papers, projects, artwork, etc that came home from school. At the end of each school year the two of us would dump the pile on the floor and together choose ten things that we felt were worth saving; the rest was thrown away. I have a file box with a divider for each school year, keeping all of her most memorable school work from her entire childhood in one easy place. Like a previous commenter mentioned, for things that were too big to fit in the file – like a favorite science project display board – I just took a photo of it to save. This small file box full of memories is also easy to grab in a hurricane evacuation, which is an unfortunate necessity where we live!

  3. 4
    Tracy @ usingtimewisely.com says

    Laura, I agree! I snap pictures of my son’s artwork and then toss it. I do keep a few of his important papers including a writing sample from the beginning of the year and the end of the year. But I take pictures of these items as well as keep them. In the event that the original gets lost or tossed, I have a photo. Of course, I also backup our photos.

    Love purging and cleaning out. I’m with you on the high that it creates!

  4. 5
    Becky L. says

    oh the joy of kid’s school work. I homeschooled but there are some notebooks I’ve kept of kid’s writing and art work. I keep finding things to throw away and donate. Just the other day my daughter and I were at a thrift store on the coast. We love to do that together. I usually buy something I’d use or add to a collection. Well, I added to my MnM collection. As in a phone. I don’t need it but it called to me and I got it for $5 less than ticket price. Just too cool. I know, anything to dust….but it’s something I LIKE! We are having a good day. Went to a chuckwagon breakfast at a park then we came home and walked over to outlet mall to get vitamins and back home….our walk out of the way. Maybe a game later with the 3 of us playing! It’s quiet right now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. 6
    Laura says

    I only a tiny bit feel that it is hard to part with my son’s art/school work. I just threw most of it out today! The only reason I am mostly ok with it is because I take a picture of most of his art/school work and make a photo book for every school year. I just posted about this concept on my blog today after cleaning out my basement and making the boys each a school box. Now if I want to look back at how he is improved over the years I can pull his preschool art book. I do keep a few pieces so they can have the hands on feel of their work but only what I can realistically fit in their school boxes. Great post I enjoyed reading it!

    • 6.1
      Laura says

      I love love love photobooks. They capture so many memories in such a nice little bundle. Way to go for doing that!!

  6. 7
    Caitlin says

    You make me feel less guilty for throwing out school stuff. My hoarding nature hates doing it, but like you say, I really can’t justify the space it requires. In the last two days I’ve donated two bags of toys and a big bag of babies blankets, because even with triplets, there’s only so many blankets I can put on a bed! I’ve been given too many at baby showers. I’ve still got too many actually, but I can only bring myself to throw out so many in one session!

  7. 8
    Frugal Mom says

    I just went through something similar. I am a purger and my husband is a pack rat plus HIS parents are pack rats. I sweared they save everything that he ever did in school. He wanted to bring it to our house (think 12 boxes of stuff for each grade of school.) when they were moving. I said no, it needs to go. I didn’t need more “stuff and old paper” in my house. we comprised on 1 box. My parents have a few things but I haven’t looked at it in more than 25 years lol

  8. 9
    Elise says

    I don’t keep much, either! I learned early on (my kids are 18 and 15 now) that I’d soon be overwhelmed with paper if I did! I like to keep a few pieces each year, like you – things that I know they worked really hard on or that meant something to them or that tell a little bit about them at that age. I also typically take a photo of art pieces. And I have framed a few and used them as art in our home. It’s nice to see our “memories” rather than store them in a box.

  9. 10
    Linda says

    Love my first child’s kindergarten teacher that gave each child a “book” of their work at the end of the year. These were the days before digital. They were made of heavy large construction paper with each piece of art work or writing wiht some titles she printed out and glued on and tied or spiral bound (can’t remember, 25 years ago.) So that is what we do plus large “keeper” art is stored in portfolios for our youngest 2 and relooked at each year. For our youngest, keeping is very important to her so we let her decide. Purging is great but when you have a family for of global nomads who have moved lots and lived lots of places, the emotional attachment may take awhile to fade so keeping it is worth the journey.

  10. 11
    Diana says

    I keep all my son’s school work until the end of the year and then pick out pieces to save in the large clean sheet pizza boxes. Keeping everything until the end of the year has helped out several times when two different teachers so far have given him a zero for work he had handed in and even recieved back with an A grade but the teacher didn’t record the grade. He pulled it from the box and took it back in for his credit. The pizza boxes are large enough for artwork and yet thin and stackable by grade/year. I do take pictures of things that won’t fit in the boxes.

  11. 12
    Becky W says

    I took pictures of my girls art work I wanted to keep a record of, it is much easier to save a picture in a photo album then all that art work! No guilt here.

  12. 13
    Laura says

    My secret is sending an envelope to each set of grandparents, usually once a quarter, with all the kids’ treasures (admittedly, we keep the best ones). They love it and when they throw it out, we are not there to be sad about it. I have one grandparent left who hangs my kids’ stuff all around his house.
    So, so sweet.


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