by Tracey DuBois, creator of OrganizedPhotos.com
If you have young kids in school, you know that the sheer amount of “keepsakes” is completely overwhelming! It seems the younger the kids are, the more they bring home. And, as parents, we find every piece to be brilliant works of art and poetry. We want to cherish all their schoolwork!
Back in the day…
When my kids were young, I had file boxes for each child and hang file folders for each grade. When they brought home their weekly folders, I looked through everything and made the agonizing decision on what warranted keeping and what could be discreetly discarded. (Not always an easy decision and I truthfully I kept more than I discarded).
My plan was to create scrapbooks for each child highlighting each year of school. And, I made a valiant effort in their early years but as school activities ramped up, I spent more time carpooling to the soccer field and hockey rink and less time scrapbooking. My kids are in high school and college now but I still have some of my favorite pieces framed in my hallway and the neatly organized file boxes stored in my closet to someday put into those half-finished albums.
Gotta love technology!
Things are vastly different now…and for the better! The digital age has made the process of capturing these one-of-a-kind treasures and creating scrapbook albums so easy! Scanning your child’s artwork, diplomas, ribbons and journal entries allows you to have a digital library that is nearly identical to the original.
The beauty of scanning these one-of-a-kind pieces is what you see is what you will always have to cherish. As you know, young children’s artwork is done mainly with construction paper that deteriorates extremely quickly so the once brightly colored pieces will quickly become faded and dogeared and lose their brilliance. If you take the time to scan them as they come in, the digital images will be preserved exactly as they appear.
Your digital images can easily be imported into various software programs that allow you to create digital scrapbooks easily and without all the clutter! (Not that I am suggesting that your child’s work is clutter by any means and if you can’t part with the physical piece, I respect that.)
The Flip-Pal mobile scanner is the perfect solution for your scanning needs. I love it because it is portable and doesn’t require a computer so you can scan wherever is comfortable for you. It’s easy to scan larger pieces as it contains EasyStitch software that automatically reassembles multiple scans into their original size. It also gentle on your keepsakes and allows you to place it directly on your items.
Now is a great time to develop a system that will help you organize their schoolwork.
Develop a system that works for you that way you will stick to it. Maybe you have a marathon session each week or you do it in increments of time but find what works for you.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Set up a filing method. Perhaps it is archival memorabilia boxes or a file box with hang file folders. Memorabilia boxes are typically oversized to easily store those larger items. I would suggest that your boxes be archival quality, meaning clearly labeled acid-free and lignin-free. And, if you can’t find archival hanging file folders, simply line them with acid-free paper found at most craft stores. (For more information on these terms, you can refer to OrganizedPhotos.com.
- Label a box for each child.
- Keep the boxes in a central location that makes sense for you. (Home office, kitchen, etc.) If they are tucked in your upstairs bedroom in a closet, it will be more work for you to stay on top of your filing.
- Each week when the schoolwork comes home, sift through it.
- Decide which pieces to discard, which ones you’d like to keep bothy physically and digitally.
- Decide which of those are scan worthy. Maybe it is all of them…your choice. (It’s understandable that you might want to keep the physical item especially if holds special meaning. But all the more reason to scan it digitally as well so that in the case of disaster, you will be able to re-create.)
- Set-up a time to scan. Maybe it’s weekly, maybe it’s monthly.
- Set-up a comfortable place to scan. Maybe it’s in your living room chair while you are watching television. Again, find out what will work with your lifestyle so that you are successful.
- Once your items are scanned, be sure to back them up. With technology changing so quickly, I recommend a combination of back-up options. A thumb-drive, an external hard-drive and cloud storage are all recommended. Personally I love the Picture Keeper PK8. It is the easiest way I have found to back-up photos. It has build in software so you simply insert it into your USB port on your computer and click “Start Back-up”. The Picture Keeper automatically finds your photos and backs them up. It is also universal between your PC and your MAC. Another cool feature is it will only copy the newest images when you use it again.
- Store your back-ups in a safe place like a fireproof and waterproof safe to protect from unforeseen disasters.
- Get creative! Here’s the fun part…start creating your digital scrapbook! There are several companies that offer template based digital scrapbooks where you have the ability to import your photographs and add journaling. (And, don’t forget the journaling…it’s what gives your images their meaning!) The Flip-Pal Craft Edition DVD includes CraftArtist 2 Professional which allows you to easily create albums, scrapbooks, cards, invitations, postcards, and more. (for Windows computers). The beauty of the digital scrapbook is that now you have the photographs of your children as well as the digital images of their work all in one place! What a beautiful keepsake!
As with any organizing whether it is your home, your photos or your paperwork, it’s about creating a system that works for you and your lifestyle. And, it is about consistency. A project can be daunting if you let it pile up but if you spend regular intervals of time on the project, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes a day or even a half-hour a week!
Tracey DuBois is the creator of OrganizedPhotos.com, a resource website dedicated to helping people safely organize their photographs and memorabilia providing both inspiration and solutions. She is co-author of “Save Your Photos AND Your Sanity” and offers a FREE Photo-Tips Mini-Course “Discover the 5 most common stumbling blocks getting in the way of your photo organizing and how to overcome them.”