Sunday, September 11, 2011

What to Keep and What to Toss…


The following is a post written by my wife, Michele.

When our oldest started Kindergarten (2 years ago) and started coming home with all different kinds of art projects, self made Mother's Day cards, writing journals and tons of newsletters from the teacher, I decided to keep it all and sort it at the end of the school year. Bad idea! The end of the school year came and I had a 1 foot stack to sort.

1st grade came and I decided I would sort out right from the get go. But what do you keep? Only the art projects? All the perfect spelling tests?

Now we have twins that just started Kindergarten and the process continues x 3. Again the question is what to keep and what to toss?

I have nothing left from my school days except for my report cards. I think I would have liked to see an art project I made or maybe a writing sample from Kindergarten or 1st yellow blankie that mysterious got lost in a move when I was 6 years old. Those are things that I would like to share with my kids now to show that mom was really their age once and did the same things.

But will my kids want to see those things, too? Will they want to share them with their kids? Will they appreciate it or will they just roll their eyes when I hand them their box of stuff once they're grown up? Will they care that I kept the baby outfit they wore when they came home from the hospital?

I guess for now, until I can figure out what to keep and what to toss, I'll just stick with the beaming smiles I get and the proud look in their eyes when I hang every little scrap of paper they made that says "for mom" on the walls around my desk.

Leave your thoughts on ‘what to keep and what to toss’ in the comments.  


I want to thank my wife for jumping into this posting idea and sharing her thoughts and what is on her mind.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.

Chris and Michele


  1. We have learned that a process of "gradual shedding" is the best - especially after 2nd or 3rd grade it will be OK to throw out a few school papers, then periodically thereafter cull out things - when necessary, solicit the children's input. We are just going through a very late round of this - and my daughters are 18 and 21. For many items I am still asking them - Keep or save? - and they surprise me sometimes with the things that are OK to give away and the things they insist that we keep. We're down to a couple of tests, essays, and art projects per grade of school - pretty manageable. What they eventually decide to keep for themselves may only be a part of that, but at least they have a representative collection to choose from,

  2. Every year I buy one of those scrapbook size boxes from the craft store for my son's stuff. Whatever fits in the box stays (e.g. class picture, special homework, projects, sports photos, First Communion certificate). So far I have four boxes. One for all three years of nursery school, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. I save special occasion outfits such as what he wore on each birthday, christening outfit, or anything really special. I couldn't possibly get rid of the baby bucket hat that my husband said made him look like Gilligan from Gilligan's Island could I? So far this is working for me, but I suspect that by the time my son graduates from high school I'll have to add an archival wing onto the house.

  3. I have a very hard time with this also - especially since I homeschool my five kids. There are papers EVERYWHERE and I'm so hesitant to throw anything out. I know that I'm going to have to start weeding a lot of it out soon - especially since we keep moving and the pounds are adding up! I have considered digitizing some of it.