I realized a long time ago that the paper/ keepsake/Very Important Document deluge each year had to be managed. I have four kids; that's a lot of Thanksgiving turkeys made out of paper plates and construction paper. I needed to get on top of it.
I came up with a system that has been miraculous: first, because it may be the only organizational system I've stuck with for longer than 15 minutes, and second, because it really works.
Every year I get a plastic bin with a lid (roughly twice the size of a shoe box). I keep it in the floor of my pantry. Every year, as important papers float past me, I stuff them in the box.
At year end, the box is invariably flowing over the sides. I sort through it, culling away the things that really aren't keepsake-worthy. With the right amount of stuffing and sorting, I'm able to get each box to the point that the lid will snap on. If it won't snap shut, it means I have to do more culling. (And I also need to find more reasons to use the word "culling", because seriously, what a great word.)
(And no, I don't have the stuff sorted by kid. Everyone's keepsakes--all six of us--go in the same box. After my funeral someday, my grieving offspring will just have to sort and fight amongst themselves for the construction paper turkeys.)
The box then heads to the deepest recesses of my daughter's closet, to join its cohorts from previous years:
I hesitate to show you that picture, because it seems a little misleading, as if all my closets are neatly stacked and labeled.
In the interest of transparency, here's the other side of that same closet:
And here (brace yourselves) is the floor of the closet:
That stuff you see on the floor is dried acrylic craft paint, the result of an incident that easily tops my list of Worst Parenting Moments, a moment so heart-stopping and terrible I still cannot, a year later, discuss it in detail without inducing an anxiety attack. There was paint involved, and carpet, and a very cheeky three-year-old girl. Let us never speak of it again.
Anyway, my main point is that limiting myself to one box of keepsakes per year has been a very manageable way to control all the stuff.
(And my secondary point is that you shouldn't inadvertently leave acrylic craft paint within reach of a three year old.)
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