Schoolwork, Artwork, Childhood Memory Boxes, and My Opinion As a Professional Organizer

Keep it or toss it? I work with a lot of moms who deal with this dilemma when it comes to all things kid stuff. Just like in everything, I have no “one size fits all” answer for that. There are several factors to take into account. I help clients decide what fits their family most, which many times does include letting go of hundreds of graded tests, worksheets, artwork, and more. But the goal is certainly not to simply purge everything. I want to share an experience I recently had which also shapes what I personally do as a parent.

A couple weeks ago, my mom came to visit and brought with her a couple boxes from the attic. I finally had the opportunity to sit down and look through them, with my boys and husband around. I’m sharing some photos of what I found. Disclaimer: This will most definitely reveal the era I grew up in. Also I have changed a lot in some ways so don’t judge my yearbook page. You might find some photos that unveil how very photogenic I am, but I’m too busy in life for modeling so please no contacts from agents. Are you chuckling yet? Feel free to laugh away, as that’s one reason I’m sharing!


She coined the term POOR BABY


One of my dance costumes. I have the costume from my first recital hanging in my closet- for real! It makes me happy every time I walk in!


I organized my friends back then, apparently. I shared the nice page, so as not to share the one where I wrote something other than “I love you” on the picture.


Who remembers getting report cards printed like this?


Get well cards from when I had a tonsillectomy in 2nd grade. My class and teachers were amazing! They even had a pillowcase made for me that they signed.


I LOVED writing. That hasn’t changed.


I still wish for this!


My kids can’t believe my artwork was decent.


My animal drawings could have used some help.


Not to forget my pride and joy back then- academic awards.


It was a serious blast from the past to look through those boxes. Additionally, it affirmed with me the need to keep some of my children’s school things. I am glad my mom didn’t keep EVERYTHING. I would have been overwhelmed to look through and probably never would have. Looking through the boxes years later needs to be an enjoyable experience, not a chore. She kept just a enough to give me a variety of heartwarming memories. I will weed through and throw out what I don’t want. But there are many things I will keep, such as my essays written in cursive.

Where does that bring us to present day? I have boxes for each of my children. They are actually kind of small, and the contents are spilling over so I need to get larger ones. I will go through and weed out some things as I do (I kept tons of preschool artwork). How do I choose what I put in the boxes and what I toss into recycling? I ask myself the following questions:

1. Will it be memorable for ME in 20 years?

2- Will it be memorable for MY CHILD in 20 years? Our kids think very differently. Pay attention to their interests too.

3- How many of these do I already have? You see. My mom saved a lot of report cards. But it wasn’t that I wanted to look at every single one for my scores, I just enjoyed looking at a few, remembering the classes and laughing at the paper it was printed on.

A few more tips when making decisions on what to save:

1- Consider the space you have to store things. Boundaries and limits are a positive thing.

2- Choose a few. Instead of feeling the need to keep everything, consider keeping a few things in each category, or from each grade. I don’t remember the things that were not kept. Memories were sparked from those that were.

3- Relieve the pressure. There’s no perfect way to do it. Choose what works for your family and your space, and do that!

Thanks for reading!