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Reclaim your home: Storing school-year projects


Soon, the final school bell of the year will ring. That means if you aren't already flooded with papers, artwork, and projects, you soon will be! What are you going to do with it all? Where to put all the important pieces that mark your child's milestones and effort throughout the year?

Here are tips for handling the three most common categories of school-year mementos: art projects, schoolwork, and extracurricular keepsakes.

Art Projects

Your little Van Gogh is so proud of her or his every sketch and doodle, and so are you - to a point. Given the sheer volume of work, it can seem impossible to give appropriate praise to each one without wallpapering the entire house in amateur artwork.

One of my favorite solutions is to repurpose paper art projects into gift items and objects that are easier to integrate and use around the house. Think placemats, tea towels, and even duvet cover!


Photo source: PopSugar


Photo source: Setting For Four


Photo source: The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

For larger pieces that you want to save, storage can pose a challenge. Consider labeling mailing tubes with your child's name and age and combining all the pieces from a single year. Don't like that? Try binders or photo albums with clear plastic sleeves, and slip in some photos of the artist from the year, too.


Photo source: Martha Stewart


Photo source: Studio Pebbles

School Assignments

Math tests and spelling stories may not be as flashy as art projects, but it doesn't necessarily make them less meaningful for your child. I like using a simple storage box like you'd find at an office supply store with files labeled for every year. This gives you a place to store papers as they are dumped out of backpacks, but also forces you to keep only those that fit in a single file folder once the school year ends.


Photo source: I Heart Organizing

If you have more storage space or want to hang on to projects that don't fit in a file, you can use a separeate storage box for every year.


Photo Source: Organized Housewife

Finally, I'm a big fan of the binder. It feels a bit more like a scrapbook and is easy to page through when you want to reminisce.


Photo Source: 365 Organize

Extracurricular Keepsakes

It's so great to have active, engaged kids. But in addition to ride shares and crazy schedules, every extra activity is bound to come with photos, at least, if not also medals and awards.

Once again, the answer is to repurpose and get creative. There are many companies that turn photos into fun items such as phone cases, placemats, and notepads.


Photo source: Shutterfly

As for medals, simply shorten the ribbon and use it as holiday decoration. Or even better, take a photo of your child with the trophy or medal and make that into any kind of keepsake you want.


Photo Source: Zazzle

If your kiddo really wants to hold on to the real thing, a simple, inexpensive glass or plastic jar can be decorated with ribbon or washi tape to create a cute showcase for medals in minutes.


Photo Source: The Homes I've Made

Trust me, I know all about the overwhelm of accumulating piles (and piles) of school-year papers and projects. I have twin boys. But I also know that with a little creativity and advance planning, I can stay ahead of the game and not get buried at the end of the year. And if I can do it, I have every confidence that you can too!


Sara Eizen is a Seattle-based interior designer and home organizer with a passion for helping busy families reclaim style and space in their homes on any budget. In a bi-weekly column for Seattle's Child, Sara shares creative, fun, affordable tips and tricks for clearing clutter, sprucing up rooms with minimal effort, creating systems that simplify family life, and much more.

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