If you have kids, you know the drill: Home from school, empty the backpack (on a good day…) and rifle through 17 papers of “Great Work!” and “12/12 :)” (or my favorite things: Funny stories that Big came up with and drew a picture for. It’s the best of both worlds, really)
Or those preschool parents out there: How can you throw away ANYTHING with your child’s handprint on it?? (On a related note: I’m pretty sure any preschool teachers know this particular problem.)
I once worked as a nanny for a woman who was going through her kids old papers and found a piece of paper that was cut into shreds. She said “This was the first time he used scissors!”. On one hand, I totally admired her for being able to remember what that 8-year old piece of paper was without any other telling marks, and on the other hand, I though it was a bit much.
As Big grew and developed her art skills, handwriting, and story telling, I was pretty good about keeping “milestones”. You know, the first time she wrote her whole name. Her first person drawing, and the progress of adding a body, clothes, fingers and toes, high heels, hair, etc. It’s still pretty amazing to look back at what she was doing on her first day of Kindergarten and what she can do now.
But the paper piles grew. They grew and the grew and they grew! They grew until they were three kids deep and Mommy wasn’t able to keep up!
Enter my Kid Zones.
This system is very much like my Incoming Mail System. When one of the kids brings home a notable piece of work, it goes in their inbox. The purple folders are pre-labeled with the next three years of school ages, including Little, who will be 2 in August, but enjoys a good swipe of the marker (sometimes even on paper!) already.
School is officially over. We’ve gotten the report cards. No more things coming home for me to sort through
daily weekly annually occasionally. That chapter is CLOSED. So are the folders. We’ve moved on to the new year, and I already have my system in place to handle it all!
On my Action List this morning is to file those purple folders. I love knowing that my kids can look back at their “portfolio” and know I didn’t toss all of their accomplishments in the ol’ circular file because I couldn’t stand the paper mess.