I have a lot of kids…that is no secret….my kids like to color, draw, paint, make sculptors, and then there are the awesome Sunday School creations that they bring home every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday….with the added bonus of VBS week.
If each of my kids at 1 tote per year of arts and crafts until they turn 18 (remember I homeschool and I have chose to keep everything from their school years)….I would have 126 totes FULL of stuff that I would have to store in my attic, garage, mancave, or storage unit. That does not include all their baby things and toys etc…this is just artwork.
When I was going through my nesting phase (though I do not know what I’m nesting for LOL), I came across about 30 containers with all this stuff. Sentimental things. Things I cherish and want to remember forever. Realistically, it was a bit of a fire hazard…or a lot of a fire hazard. I had Big Daddy breathing down my neck to throw these treasures away and then I had my kids on the other side crying because when they saw something in the throw away box…they felt I didn’t love their art.
Quite the conundrum.
I had a couple of awesome ideas. Maybe three. I have a small wood chest my daddy made years ago….I also had a box that my mom got me when I was a child. The first thing I did was I went through the attic (and garage) ALONE. Second, I emptied my 2 chests and cleaned them all out. Third, I got binders….2 per child and put their names on them. I separated out each and every paper and craft (luckily most things had their name on it). So, each child had a pile. The treasures that I would not part with, I used my three hole puncher and then I added them to that particular childs’ binder. With the larger items, I placed them in my 2 chests. That still left me with A TON of treasures. Once I had the binders and the chests full….I still had 7 piles of treasures for each child. These were items that were sweet, but I did not necessarily want to keep (fire hazard, remember). I took out my camera and I took pictures of the pictures. I downloaded those photos on my computer and I gave each child a file. Those pictures are now saved on a flash drive, disk and my external hard drive. I can look at them whenever I want.
I cut down on so much clutter. I was able to preserve their sweet drawings, yet keep my sanity and live the minimalistic life that I love so much. Now, I still have boxes of old toys, but I did part with 98% of them. Some things are worth the clutter. I was able to clean out an entire closet from the garage and free up all that space. It all went to the attic where it is properly labeled and gone through. I hope this is something that can help others.
Good luck and happy organizing.