Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Organizing School Albums

Good Morning! The school year is almost to a close and with that, for me, usually means some housekeeping of all the papers that have accumulated over the year. Hopefully, with this post you will gain some help if you are struggling to come up with a method that works for the chaos:)  Warning this post is long and lots of pictures:)

When my oldest began school there really wasn't as much as we have today in the way of organizing. My old method was to keep artwork in a plastic container. Any awards, report cards, etc. were placed in a pocket that I attached to a Creative Memories page. The problem with this is that I had a container, like the one you see below, for every year and the pocket pages were not easily accessible in that type of album because the protective sleeve slid over the page. Also, the album was too thick to manage. I could only fit preschool through 5th grade in this album.


So, for my next child, I decided to search for a new method and at that time Becky Higgins had come out with pages that you see here. Each year had elements of pages that you could put together. For this  method I used a 3 ring binder and really liked the ease and spacious room in the album. The envelopes were 12 x 12 and I could put report cards, awards, etc. in them.I really liked this method and wished I could buy the envelopes individually for my other child. But, they didn't come that way. I still had the problem of the artwork. (I had a hard time tossing any of it) 

Since my oldest needed a new album for middle school and there were quite a few extra elements left over from my younger daughter's album, I was able to use this method. The nice thing about this is that there is a lot of journal space, which is fun for the kids to write their thoughts. Even though Becky Higgins doesn't sell this product anymore you can still recreate easily with items you probably already have:)

So, back to the artwork. I was thinking after all these years there had to be a better way for me. I went back to Becky Higgins' blog and knew that she had started Project Life. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she had a video discussing school albums. In this video she discussed the artwork. Yay!! She also sold the 12 x 12 envelopes separately. These school envelopes are different from the ones I had previously purchased. There is no pre-written title on each individual envelope, and the closing mechanism is not a snap.

 For the number in the pocket I used Joys of the Season 3.14". For preschool and kindergarten I used Locker Talk at 2.76". The word "grade" I used A Child's Year at 1"  I am also contemplating the idea of adding velcro to the flap so it does not wear, as it already is beginning to do so.

As you can see, these envelopes have holes for a binder, however, I decided to put them in the plastic container with any other large mementos that wouldn't necessarily go in the album. Each child has one plastic container (preschool through high school).  I am still toying with albums for these, but I think I would need at least 2 for preschool through 8th grade. 

Once I watched the video I decided to purchase one box with the different sizes of sheet protectors (10 each). I still have plenty left over.  I purchased 15 of the envelopes (5 come in a pack) for my older daughter. 

Now comes the hard part: going through all of the boxes for each child and making decisions. Becky suggested scanning the items. I used my dining room floor and really spread out. I chose to take pictures of each of the items I wanted to keep and then I was able to print them to the desired size I wanted. Below are a few of the different styles with artwork in them.

I also used 8 1/2 x 11 protector sheets for items that I didn't want in the envelope and wanted to keep as an original.

I cut the protector down to size if I had smaller items that I wanted to put in the book.

This is my oldest daughter's book and I am able to fit preschool through 8th grade in this book. I took apart her CM album and cut the plastic off of the pages and just slid into this album. Luckily, no recreating of my CM pages:) It is an American Craft 3 ring binder. Hopefully, you can see, it is not too bulky.

I filled 3 bags of trash and gained many plastic containers for other uses. If you have made it to here, in this very long post, here are the steps that I followed per Becky:

Step 1: Assess what you have.
Step 2: Gather
Step 3: Sort per child
Step 4: Organize (piles per grade)
  • Using yearbooks really helps if you can't remember certain pictures or artwork.
  • Sign and date everything you or your child creates.
  • Scan or print items that you have a lot of and keep originals of things that are really special.
  • Subcategorize items. Ex: Art, Formal picture, handwriting samples, etc.
Step 5: File if Needed - Using file boxes will help you sort until you are ready to work on a particular grade. Items can be scanned or use your camera to then print items to store for that school year.

Step 6: Compile Albums

I hope I have helped you tackle this project and given you some useful ideas. I would love to hear any ideas you have on this subject too:)

Thanks for stopping by!


1 comment:

Scrapping Girl said...

Boy did I need to read this post! I am struggling with overflowing boxes of school paraphenelia that needs to be organized and sorted. Maybe this will motivate me to get started and sort, scan, and file it all!