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School's Out - and We've got Homework


by Christine Sutton

By now, your kids have probably had their last day of school. And they probably came bounding in the door filled with excitement . . . .and backpacks jammed with stuff! So just what can you do about the seemingly overwhelming pile of school papers, report cards and beautiful works of art?

Our first piece of advice is always the same -- PURGE! Go through the piles relentlessly and pull out as much as you can. Keep just a few important pieces to capture your child's stage of development and life experiences for this school year.

Get yourself a plastic file box for each child and label folders for each grade. Make yourself pare down the items so that you have just one folder for each year.

Hang a few select pieces of artwork and watch your children glow with pride. Choose a couple more to file away with their school papers. Take pictures of those oversized, unmanageable pieces of artwork. This way you can get rid of the bulk while you keep the image. Having a photograph will make it easier for you to release those masterpieces without the guilt! (By the way, this is a great way to use the last few photos on a roll of film.)

If our first piece of advice is "Purge", then our second piece of advice would be "Do It Now!" It's a bit like unpacking after you get back from vacation. It's not a particularly enjoyable task, but putting it off only compounds the problem. The chore seems to grow in size with each passing day!

Now that we've given you some ideas on how to control the piles, let's go a step further and talk about how you can do something truly wonderful for your kids. How about making a simple album with their school portraits, sports photos and a few candids? We're not talking about a big elaborate project. You could just create two pages per school year. Your kids would have a wonderful album to chronicle their childhood and you'd feel like an A+ parent knowing that you did something so significant for your child. Certainly much better then having their childhood memories stuffed inside a drawer, all crumpled together. Don't let perfectionism get in your way! Don't wait until you can make some elaborately designed masterpiece. Just get it done and feel the peace of mind. Your kids won't care -- actually they won't even notice the difference. All they'll remember is whether or not you took some time . . .whether or not you considered their memories and their photographs worth acknowledging and worth cherishing.

Christine Sutton and her business partner, Tracey DuBois, have helped countless people organize, protect, and enjoy their precious photographs. After producing the acclaimed "Treasure Your Memories" video, Chris and Tracey co-founded, a website dedicated to helping people find the joy in their photos once again. The website offers photo safety information, organizing solutions and a free Photo Tips newsletter.

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