Do you have kids? If so, you know what this week holds. The Big Purge. Teachers are emptying desks, lockers, bulletin boards, and every square inch of their classrooms. Your children’s backpacks will be bulging at the seams with school work that has accumulated since last September. And maybe a few pieces from other kids too. Because children, and their teachers, are done and frankly don’t care anymore.

but they don’t care

What to Do with Old School Work

You might have seen dribs and drabs of cute pictures or red-marked tests come home, but by Thursday the mother-load of school work from the year will be yours. Your child’s backpack (that you stitched up last month just to get them through to the end) will be splitting at the seams. And don’t be surprised if a plastic bag full of more stuff accompanies them. Random socks, lunch bags, social studies projects, and permission slips from four months ago will be shipped to you. Every picture, test, and assignment, finally yours to do with what you want.

The horror…

I know some of you will throw the sagging bag into a corner and forget about it until the end of August. There is more than enough to do in the summer without worrying about a school year done and all the work that went into it. But if you don’t want guilt to nag at you every time you spy last year’s backpack, you could deal with it and be done.

What do you do with last year’s school work though? I know your precious darling worked hard all year on it, but sometimes you’ve just got to let it go. If you keep it all every year, your home will be overrun and realistically, you probably won’t ever want to look at it if it’s an overwhelming mass of papers.

Let it Go! 

Let it go!

What to do with old school work? Let it go!

  • be ruthless selective about what you keep; anything that is wrinkled, ripped, torn or stained won’t be worth the memories twenty years from now. Let it go.
  • take pictures of bigger projects to remember them and then toss
  • use old tests (the ones you are less than proud of) for campfire starter
  • save your favourite pictures in school memory books
  • use old assignments for paper airplanes on a windy day
  • make a collage of favourite pieces to inspire your kids for next year
  • frame certificates you want to preserve
  • save colourful pictures for papier-mâché projects for rainy summer days
  • fill your recycling bin with anything else you don’t want to keep in the name of making our world a better place—reduce, reuse, recycle!

What do you save from your children’s school work? How do you decide what to keep and what to let go?