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Simple Rules For Saving (or NOT SAVING) Schoolwork
by Valerie Zilinsky

What do you get when you take two young children, a bunch of creative teachers, eleven combined years of elementary school, and a sentimental mom who is also a "pack rat"? To put it simply, way too many saved school projects and crafts taking up precious space and causing clutter!!

I faced this dilemma first-hand when it came time for us to pack and move into our first home a month ago. I could not believe the amount of miscellaneous useless stuff of all varieties that we had accumulated over the past few years, but the biggest eye-opener was seeing all the schoolwork that I had saved.

That's when I promised myself that I would change my policies on keeping these adorable creations. Here are my new rules . . .

  • If it's adorable to look at, it gets a week on the bulletin board or the fridge.

  • If it's touching to read, it can stay on the coffee table for a week for family and friends to read and enjoy.

  • If it was created on the computer, then I don't need to keep a hard copy of it, because it can be re-printed at any time if I really wanted to.

  • If my child is really attached to it, they can have it for one week to display in their own rooms.

  • If it doesn't qualify for the one-week reprieve, it goes in the garbage can after we admire it together. (If child is younger than 10, this part can and should wait until after bedtime to avoid pleading eyes and tears!)

  • When the one-week reprieve is up, I might do any of the following, as long as the item moves on to another location outside my home:

    • Take a digital picture of it to look at for years to come.

    • Take a regular photo and use photos to create a scrapbook of memories of school projects.

    • Send it to a family member who lives far away and would appreciate feeling closer to the kids.

    • Send it a friend or family member who could use a reason to smile.

    • Send it to a military member overseas to show our appreciation.

    • Use as wrapping paper for family gifts, or use the item itself as a gift if it's really nice.

    • Drop it off at a senior citizen home to bring a smile to a resident who may be feeling lonely.

Now I have to find the time to apply the above rules to the boxes of schoolwork that I already have saved, and I have to commit myself to follow through during future backpack-emptying routines. I know that many of you are silently admitting that you have the same problem stashed in the top of a closet, or shoved in a box under a bed. No more excuses - let's get started, moms!

Valerie Zilinsky is a married mother of two, and co-owner of a variety of websites, including RaisingOurKids.com, Mom2MomList.com, PatrioticFreebies.com, and PatrioticColoringPages.com.

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