Tips for Preserving Kids’ Artwork (Without Keeping Everything)

Tips for Preserving Kids' Artwork (Without Keeping Everything)It’s never too early to start weighing tips for preserving kids’ artwork—or you may find yourself still dealing with it when your kids have their own kids. When my parents were cleaning out their attic recently, they found some old artwork of mine from when I was young … which means it had been up there for decades. I ended up getting rid of most (or maybe all) of it, partly because I already have enough tangible reminders of my childhood, and partly because our house is already becoming overrun by my own son’s school papers and art. When at least one thing comes home in his backpack every day, and there are 180 days in the school year … well, it adds up. (Luckily, there isn’t enough stuff to have expanded into our attic yet … or basement.) So, moms, do tell: How do you organize and preserve your kids’ artwork and schoolwork? Do you save everything? Save only a few special or otherwise noteworthy things? Throw everything in a big box for now, or sort it neatly by grade or age? 

We’ve rounded up a few tips for preserving kids’ artwork (without keeping everything):

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A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: An IT Portfolio Manager Mom in Houston

An IT manager mom in Houston with two kids shares a week in her life.For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader Kristine, who lives in Houston with her husband and two kids and works as an IT portfolio manager. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, coldhearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…

Name: Kristine
Lives: In not-quite-the-burbs west Houston. Work in Downtown.
Job: IT Portfolio Manager for an Oil & Gas Supermajor
Age: 33, almost 34
Home Situation:

I live in a 2,200-square-foot, 1960s ranch-style home (3-bedroom, 2-bathroom) with my spouse and our two kids. My husband is also almost 34 years old (we are high school sweethearts), and he works at a smaller multi-national oil company where he is a Team Leader. Child #1 is a girl, is almost 3, has multiple severe food allergies, already wears glasses, and whose personality is my mini-me. Child #2 is 16 months younger, is an 18-month-old boy, has some food intolerances, and is otherwise a pretty typical boy who loves his momma.

Childcare Situation: My mom watches them Monday to Thursday. My husband and I work 80 hours within 9 days so we alternate Fridays off.

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Presenting: More Tags for Our “Week In the Life” Series!

Something I’ve been meaning to do since starting our popular “Week in the Life of a Working Mom” series is to make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. So to that end, we’ve started adding more detailed tags to the posts, and we’ve got a much better category page. That way, if you want to read about, say, working moms with kids in daycare, you can easily find all of those posts. (We’re hoping to create something far superior to simply searching for “daycare,” which would bring up our regular advice posts on daycare, all posts in which we’ve used the word daycare, and comment threads containing the words daycare.)

When you click through to Week in the Life, you’ll see all the tags laid out…

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How to Store the Clothes Your Kid Has Outgrown

Reader M wrote in with a request for a story about how to store the clothes your kid has outgrown… Here’s her question:

Your “Organizing Thursday” post inspired me. Would you consider doing a post about storing baby/ kid items that your kid has outgrown?

Interesting question, M! I think I’ve written about this before, but can’t find the post on point — for my $.02, we like a clear plastic “sweater bag” system (affiliate link). (Update: shoot, just found it — but my older post was more on how I keep track of which kids clothes I’ve bought for which sizes, which is a system I still use and am thankful for when I have, say, a slight inkling that maaaaybe I have more 3T lighter weight pants somewhere but can’t find them physically, then check my files and realize NO, I don’t, and off to the stores I go.) When J, my eldest, was first starting to outgrow stuff, I would dutifully wash and pack away all of his too-small baby clothes, not entirely knowing if I was saving them for sentimentality, baby #2, or, say, some massive future donation.  The baby stuff mostly fit in one sweater bag for the first 6 months, I think; we didn’t start having to expand to multiple sweater bags per size range until we hit the 3T sizes, if memory serves.  I wasn’t terribly fancy with labeling the bags — I’d usually just scribble “2T” on a PostIt on the top or side of the bag. We kept them stacked in the space between J’s dresser and the wall for the longest time; now we also keep them stacked on a corner shelf.

These days there are two more steps to my storage process: for J’s too-small stuff it tends to go in a basket in my closet before I start sorting it. He may have 2 or 3 sizes out at once — or I may find stuff from last season that I forgot to put away. When I’m ready (i.e., when the basket is spilling out and threatening to overwhelm my closet) I sort the kids clothes by size into sweater bags. (If the sweater bags are overflowing, I try to break them up into 5T winter and 5T summer, but I’ve found I end up rifling through any bag labeled 5T when the time comes.)

As for the second step, that’s dealing with H’s too-small stuff, and that goes in a second area. (By which I mean I throw it in the same corner every time. Yep, Martha Stewart and Marie Kondo would be very proud. (Kidding.)) By separating it out, that at least gets it out of the laundry rotation and, again, when it’s threatening to overwhelm the area, I tend to sit down and look at the stuff.  We think we’re done having kids (we joke that I’m 98% sure and my husband is 125% sure), and, to be honest, most of the stuff we’ve bought is looking pretty nasty by the time two boys have worn them — so in the past the unwearable stuff has just been thrown away, although in the future I’m going to look for  a textile recycling program in our area. Most of our kids’ clothes come from Carters/Old Navy/Gap/Lands’ End — but I can definitely see the argument for buying really nice children’s clothes if you expect to have many kids because, the theory is, more expensive children’s clothes last longer.) Of what’s left, some stuff will be sent to my cousin’s baby; some will be donated. A very small portion of it I’ve sent to ThredUp for resale. And a very, very small portion of the stuff my husband and I choose to keep for sentimental reasons.  Thus far, our “sentimental clothes” collection fits entirely in one sweater bag, and I’m going to try really hard to keep it to that… but we’ll see when the time comes.

Three more random notes:

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The Working Mom’s Guide to Easy School Lunches

easy school lunch ideasOk, ladies — what do you pack for your kiddo’s lunches, whether for daycare, elementary school, or other? Are you most concerned with ease of packing, assuredness of eating, nutrition, calories, or cost? What are your top easy school lunch ideas? Have you had success outsourcing this task — for example, I’ll bet this is a nobrainer for those of you with au pairs, but for those of you in daycare it’s either you or your partner. We kind of had a discussion about working moms and kids lunches a few year ago, but it’s been a while — so let’s discuss.

For my $.02, we’re trying to maintain my first grader’s weight until he grows a bit taller, so my primary concerns are a mix of calories, nutrition, and volume (I want him to feel like he’s getting a lot of food, even if I know he’ll only eat half of the cherry tomatoes or baby carrots I pack for him), and, selfishly, ease of packing for me or my husband. We also try to be good to the environment where we can and pack reusable containers — but I’m also realizing that this is resulting in a zillion dishes to wash, so we’ll see how that goes.

For “mains” I find that it’s hard to get around yogurt/milk/sandwich options, unless we have acceptable leftovers (for example, I’ve given meatballs and rice before!) — so most of these ideas are easy snacks and “extras.” But I’m curious to hear what your tips are for packing school lunches — and what you pack! 

These are my go-tos for easy school lunches:

Easy School Lunch Ideas that are Healthy and Non-Processed

  • cherry tomatoes
  • apples, precut apple slices
  • baby carrots
  • hard boiled eggs
  • shredded or pulled chicken
  • grapes
  • all berries

Healthy, Convenient Food Ideas for School Lunches

Some good ideas if you’re in the middle of the road (i.e., “healthy” convenience food) — but they tend to be expensive!:

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A Week in the Life of a Working Mom: Finance at a Fortune 500 Company

For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader R, who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two young children and works in finance for a Fortune 500 company. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, coldhearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat

If you’d like to be featured (anonymously or otherwise), please fill out this form! You can see all posts in this series here.

First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…

Name: R
Lives: Chicago suburbs
Job: Finance
Age: 36
Home Situation: Typical suburban 2,500-square-foot house with my husband (airline pilot), kids (daughter, age 4; and son, age 1.5), and 60-lb. dog.
Childcare Situation: Daycare, $600/week

Stock photo credit: Shutterstock /  sirtravelalot.

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