Paper Stacks – To Save or Not To Save

There are still 6-1/2 weeks until the first trimester ends for Princess Nagger’s 3rd grade class (less than 1/3 of the way into the school year).  The pile’o’papers of her schoolwork is already growing at a maniacal rate.  I have two boxes of Kindergarten papers and one (big) box of First Grade papers stashed up in the attic, and one (bigger) box of Second Grade papers out in the shed.

I’m just not sure what should be kept and what should end up in the burn pile.  I have occasionally snuck some of the more boring papers into the burn pile, some of which were snagged back by Princess Nagger as she indignantly exclaimed “You can’t throw this away!”  So close.

If I keep up this trend, I’ll eventually have stacks’o’papers everywhere, only rivaled by the newspaper piles you see on Hoarders.  I’m not a fan of clutter (hence the relegation to a box which is relegated to the attic or shed).

Which brings me to this weeks question(s):

Where do you draw the line? Do you keep the things that will actually mean something when they get older?  Or toss ’em all?

Have a great weekend!

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About Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance and I chose to become a SAHM and WAHM - I love every minute of it. We added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension to our family. We have an eclectic mix of pets: dogs, cats, birds and fish. I love to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, I take on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. My favorite, of course, is making my own wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway. I blog about the joys of parenting, family, friends, life, love and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do enjoy doing reviews and giveaways for products I use, believe in and can stand behind.
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35 thoughts on “Paper Stacks – To Save or Not To Save

  1. I toss them unless it is really special. With 4 kids, I could fill a room with all their old school papers 🙂

  2. I normally will take digital photos of the stuff (artwork) which the kids would keep..or the most limit to 1-2 pcs per kid or the papers will certainly pile up a lot at home.

  3. Here’s what I do.

    Get an anrtist portfolio at the craft store (it can be the inexpensive kind). Throughout the year, file away the “must keeps” your child wants. Take digital photos of anything 3-D. Next August, when your child isn’t there, go through the file. Pitch anything that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat. Digitally photo anything with maccaroni on it, and file the rnew “must haves” in one of the portfolio pockets. Upload all your digital pics to Snapfish (or you can scrapbook them) and print out an “art collection” for them to enjoy in a nice easy 8X10 style.

    OK. That’s all I got! enjoy your friday!

  4. Apparently I threw too much ’cause my girls are all out of school – heck two have completed college ~ and I only have one very large rubbermaid box (stuffed) that has all three of their paperwork in it. There is about a 3 inch pile on top of the box (only three inches ’cause that’s all the space between the box and the ceiling – thank goodness for old houses and high ceilings) of programs from football games, when they were cheerleaders/dancers in high school but that’s it!

  5. I’ve been wondering about this very dilemma. I do tend to chuck the typical homework assignments unless it’s something memorable or very creative, but I don’t know what I’m going to do about schoolwork once she begins elementary. My organized house can’t take that kind of abuse!

  6. We had to deal with this very early, since school sends home ANYTHING they make a mark on, along with a daily sheet. We kept everything from the 1st year (which mentioned some cute new stuff they did) and the art. Now we keep any daily sheet that has something memorable or any art that is significant (not just “I scribbled with a crayon”). I probably keep a sheet or two per boy per week. I try to let LG decide what he thinks is important on the artwork.

    Explain to Princess Nagger that you can’t keep it all. Give her a limit (it all has to fit in one box, say) and let her decide what is most important. Then let her do the daily culling. This way you’re not throwing out her most precious items, but she gets the idea that being a packrat isn’t healthy!

  7. When my kids were younger, I struggled with this also. What to keep? What to throw out? I felt like anything I threw out, I had to sneak to do so in case it hurt their feelings. I have a Rubbermaid tote for each kid. I finally decided to only keep the bare minimum from each school year – stories they wrote, special artwork/paintings, and such. Now that my daughter is in high school, I also keep any awards/certificates that she earns. That way, when it comes time for her to apply for college scholarships, I’ll have them all right there in the tote to refer back to.

  8. I keep a lot of my daughter’s art work but I do draw the line more than my husband does. I don’t have room to hang on to stacks of paper so I purchased pretty boxes at a stationery store for each year of school. Whatever means the most finds a place in that box and it keeps it neatly organized by year.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. I’m still cleaning out papers and artwork, and my boys are all grown. It hurt them to get rid of anything when they were young. Now that they are grown it hurts ‘me’!

  10. Oh my! I have the same problem! My son is just in 1st grade and I have it all in boxes! HELP!!!

    I think I can throw them away, except for the special drawings, but I wonder if I’ll homeschool and might need them lol

    I don’t know what to do.

  11. I found your blog on The social parade and am following. For my kids – I keep artwork they made specifically for me (especially if it says “I luv you mom” and anything that has something that would be fun to read when they are older, like what they want to be when they grow up, what they like/dislIke, etc… Other artwork goes on display on the fridge for a while and then into the trash.

  12. My son isn’t school-aged yet, but I hate saving things. I generally toss birthday cards, holiday cards, etc. almost immediately following the event, unless they are of particular sentimental value. I ran across the first birthday card my husband ever gave me and I’m so glad I kept THAT! 🙂

  13. I kept artwork when Sis was smaller. Now that she is older I only keep big projects that she does! She is in 7th grade now so our house would be a pile of papers if I’d kept them all. It is really hard though to throw away. I know I used to struggle with it too!

  14. I kept report cards of my children, and there were a couple that had big Gold Stars and stuff that meant something to me. Like for example my oldest daughter made this Mommy’s Day card that had these coupons I could use like 1 said clean my room, another said big hug, etc. I still have a few left. LOL Oh and my youngest daughter made a Christmas ornament with her little kindergarden picture in it. My son made an ashtray (I think that’s what it is – I use to smoke). So, as far as papers very few & then again I had four kids. Can you imagine if I did save everything like you? OMG I’d have to rent a shed. Have a great weekend! Hugzzzzzzzzzzzz pass them around!!!

  15. I haven’t had kids in school for many years. When they were younger, I hung their crafty things on the kitchen wall. As they grew out of the crafty stage, the wall got cleaned, and I don’t remember saving any papers. With 5 kids, if they wanted to save something that was their decision, they had to do it on their own.

  16. What my mother did was saved repot cards & art projects & any awards. When I was around 7/8 she started a scrapbook with me and we started the scrapbook with cards I got when I was born, then we put the saved paper stuff in the scrapbook and we did this every year. She did not save everything, just fun & important things! I still have my scrapbook and I’m 32, wonderful memory too!

  17. The really cool artwork goes in frames that get changed out periodically (and saves me a lot of $$ on schmancy store bought stuff). The only work I usually save is stuff that has original thoughts written on it (not a lot of dittoes make it to our pile). The kids are 11 and 14 and after the last day of school we purge whatever pile they thought we needed to save during the year. The new save pile goes in a bin in the basement by grade, by kid. Report cards are a definite. PN must generate a lot of out of school treasures too compounding your storage issue1!

  18. I used to save lots of things but then was struck with this thought: What is EVER going to happen to it?

    My mom is to the stages where she gives my brother and I boxes of junk from our childhood that we clearly don’t want. I’m not talking about cherished stuffed animals, I’m talking about ugly art projects or scribbled sheets of paper. They’ve been in storage for what? 25 or 30 years? And now she gets them to us and all we do is throw it away, so what was the point? I know that my daughters will want some memories from this age, but not every piece of paper that comes home from school, so I toss most all of it and only keep something if it’s REALLY special. Am I non-sentimental? Maybe. But at least it keeps the stacks away!

  19. When our son was young, I made the mistake of putting some of his papers in the recycling sack. As we dumped the papers in the big recycling dumpster at church, he saw them and crawled into the dumpster to retrieve his papers. LOL 🙂 I made sure he wasn’t with me next time!! (I kept the creative and special papers.)
    Thanks for stopping by Friendly Friday. Hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

  20. I keep report cards, awards, certificates, and special projects and artwork (things we can laugh about years later). I toss the rest. I’m a neat freak so – I can’t justify stacking boxes of junk that I’ll never look at again.
    ~Catherine L.

  21. i’m another mom who mostly tosses and takes digital photos – which is sorta time consuming, but at least it reduces clutter!

    i let my kids put any of their special papers into plastic sleeves inside a binder, one for each school year. they love looking back on them – a mish-mash of school stuff, birthday invites, photos, etc.

  22. Store them with you. Would give you a nice feeling when you find them after ten years…

  23. Hi Stacy! How are you? Hope you are getting adjusted to your new gift of life 😉 I keep a lot of paperwork, but also with the help of today’s technology, there are many documents that I keep electronically in emails or on my computer.
    I wished I could toss most of them away, but sometimes, paper is still the real thing in some regards.

  24. With 3 girls who love to draw, I just can’t keep everything. I keep the really important ones . . . birthday cards, drawings of the family . . . and I scan the somewhat important ones. The rest I toss.

  25. I’m not sure what I will do, my little boy will be going to kindergarten next year. I think I will toss most of it because I’ve tossed a lot of his preschool stuff, but try to keep the special stuff. I’m following you back, sorry it took a few days!