Is your home currently being invaded by Stuff They Bring Home From School? Same here! Times two! And one day, times three! So, what’s a parent to do with all the art, journals, seasonal cards, math worksheets, coloured maps of Canada, and facts sheets about tigers?

Well, to be honest, the recycling bin gets a fair chunk of the (oh, so many) pieces of stamped paper and the like. But I do want to keep a sampling of the entire year for each child. A few items from the beginning of the year, some from the winter, and then the end of the year, the major art projects and of course, those journals! How cute are those stories in there? I love seeing how the sentences progress in length and number by the end of the year, and don’t get me started on the drawings – adorable! Throw in the year’s report cards, and I think that’s pretty much a wrap!

My oldest is in grade 2 so she has the greatest collection of work. She did two full years at a Montessori preschool and I had kept a lot of it! (Rookie mom.) This was the first of many buttons she sewed onto fabric. I framed it and put it in my studio.

The rest of the stuff was all in these big cloth bags that I was storing in my studio. Then Kindergarten joined the party and by Grade 1, my studio was bursting with Stuff They Bring Home From School. I had to do something because by then my son also had a year of preschool under his belt and currently is bringing home a tonne of stuff from Jr. Kindergarten!

So, I went out to Walmart and found these 32 gallon bins on sale.

I love a chance to use my label maker!

I love a chance to use my label maker!

I loved the bright colours and guessed that this would be the perfect size to house everything from their prenatal ultrasounds to their high school science reports. Speaking of high school…I don’t really have much from own my high school days. Actually, I don’t have anything past Grade 7. I guess I’ll know when I’m there as a parent what could be held on to and what could go. Do you have any experience with this? (Let me know in the comments if I need a bigger bin – haha!) But in all honesty, the things I think my kids would want me hanging on to are the cute stuff from the earlier grades. And by the way, in the end, these bins are going to their respective child! I’m keeping the cards and things they made for me (some of them – like this Mother’s Day gift from my son), but they can have all the rest!

I’ve also kept a few items of clothing per baby that were significant – those can go in too. First locks of hair. Photobooks. Of course, you’ll want to keep this all organized according to whatever system you like to use. I like to use envelopes, duo tangs and paper clips. For example, I have a manila envelope strictly for report cards. And this duo tang paper clipped together holds the majority of what I kept from Grade 1! There are just a few larger art projects that are lying flat in the bin.

I’m also a fan of these folios. This one has journals and stories from Kindergarten.

When the kids hand me the Stuff They Bring Home From School, I pretty much know what’s going to be recycled right away. (How many spelling tests does one need to keep, really?) There’s the stuff I know for sure I want to keep. If I’m torn, I’ll keep it and then make a decision at the end of the year when a whole whack load of Stuff They Bring Home From School enters the home.

This has given me not only physical space (I was able to claim a substantial portion of my studio back!), but also has eased the mental anxiety of seeing so much stuff everywhere.

I still have a ways to go before I de-stuff my home, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to have a system now for the Stuff They Bring Home From School. Because it’s a lot.

I’d love to hear your systems, ideas and even your woes in the comments below!