Earlier this year my siblings and I were called out to my parents house to retrieve the decades of our stuff they were storing in their attic. Yearbooks, first shoes, grade school art projects. It all had to go. It was a tad bit overwhelming: so much stuff and no where for me to put it. I had to drastically pare down, so a lot of lovely mementos went into the trash. Considering that she had five kids (and a small farm!) to manage, I think my mom did an admirable job keeping our stuff organized. At the very least, we all had our own bins that had some level of regard for chronology.
Now that my own kids have started their own journeys, it is up to me to keep their special stuff organized. I developed a very simple system that suits my personality and capabilities. While there is no fancy cataloging or cutesy flourishes, this is a system I know I can stick to as the years go by.
Each kids had his or her own plastic bin (which, will eventually need to be upgraded to a much larger size). Ziploc bags store like objects together (i.e. all the Baptism stuff, welcome-baby cards, first shoes). I also use large file folders to keep art projects and school photos grouped by year (i.e. preK-3, preK-4, birth-3, kindergarten). With the start of every school year I add a new file folder, and as the year progresses I can easily toss in treasured papers we want to keep.
Right now, Evie’s bin is the most full. Her 5+ years of life have been full of memories and adventure and awe, just as Mack’s 3 years and Vivian’s 1 year have been. But, what really strikes me is how quickly I know these bins will fill. Before I know it, I’ll be labeling Evie’s senior year folder. What colleges will she be thinking of applying to at that time? What summer jobs will have kept her busy? Who will her friends be?
When Chris and I are ready to sell our family home (which we still don’t have, but anyway…) I want to hand the kids their bins of stuff knowing theirs was a childhood well lived. Just the same way I felt when I picked up my bins earlier this year.
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