I am O.C. I make no apologies about that. 

On the other hand, I can also be very sentimental.

Quite a conundrum, don’t you think?

The test on which side of my personality would prevail finally came on the day I had to pack our stuff to move to a new home.

I was tasked to take out sizable items from our garage depot. I could have easily chosen to transport them to our new house since they are organized into clear plastic bins.

However, I decided that I have two choices, either donate usable things to charity or discard as much as I can. If they have been in storage for quite sometime, then they won’t be missed.

However, in the middle of my sorting, I found out that four of the containers housed memorabilia of my daughter’s school work, from preschool to fifth grade. I had kept most, if not all, of her art work, homework, book reports, and science fair projects. They were, to say the least, a capacious lot.


BOOKWRIGHT from Blurb.com is a free desktop publishing software used to create professional looking books, magazines, and ebooks.

The O.C. part of me tempted me to just close my eyes and empty the bins into our recycling can.

But the sentimental side, the one who insisted to keep them all in the first place, kept playing the ‘guilt’ card, “if you throw them away you will never ever see them again.” Oh my! What was I going to do?

Fortunately we are in a digital age, where things can either be scanned or photographed.

Although it is not the same as feeling as touching the actual item, digitizing these things makes for a good compromise. I can stick to my hard rules of clearing up the clutter, and still keep my kid’s school memories.


BOOKSMART from Blurb.com is a free book-making tool to create beautiful customized photo books, notebooks, and planners.

To make sure they do not stay littered in my computer’s hard drive, I decided to compile them all into a hard bound book!

Because this project is enormous and extremely important, there is no other book publisher I would use other than Blurb.com.

They have made it extremely easy for anyone to create a beautifully crafted book. Their intuitive Booksmart software has a multitude number of creative templates and fonts. Though I am a book designer, I encourage everyone to try creating their own book. 

So if you happen to be an O.C. and sentimental, it turns out you do not have to choose which one dominates in the face of scrambled mementos!

Just grab your digital camera, take some pictures, and design them all into a book! I certainly did, and the result is a 360 page keepsake, aptly titled, “First to Fifth: The Elementary School Years of Ashley Victoria”.

Here is a preview:

49 Responses to First to Fifth, a School Memento

  1. Robin Rue says:

    That is a good idea. I have ALL of my kids art work they’ve ever made in bins in my basement.

  2. I love this so much! I have just started taking pictures of all of my daughters art work for a book!

  3. Lauren Gnapi says:

    Great idea to keep those precious memories without the clutter!

  4. What an excellent idea! Love how you can save all of it but still remove the clutter! That would be great for schoolwork but also for other papers that might not need to be kept but would like to be remembered!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  5. Great idea! I have only been saving hand print and things with my 3 year old’s name on it from pre-school just so I don’t end up collecting everything! This is def. the way to go in today’s world.

  6. This is really a clever idea. I’ll have to consider it, in my SPARE time!

  7. Ana De Jesus says:

    Yes memories can be digitalized 🙂 I like how you have managed to clear up clutter by scanning it and turning the memories digital.

  8. This is a brilliant idea. It’s so nice to be able to digitize memories, and not have to have piles of boxes or papers lying around taking up space.

  9. I love this idea so much. It is so nice to be able to save all your memories without having all the clutter.

  10. I haven’t done a book on works of art (no kids) but I did one for our 10 year anniversary, The story of how we met and eventually got married. So fun, and something to display rather than sit in boxes!

  11. Elizabeth O. says:

    That’s an amazing way to save space and keep memories without having to go through so many emotions. I am both OC and a sentimental person too, so it’s tough for me to throw things away as well. Most of the time I just keep my eyes closed when I have to let go of something!

  12. Liz Mays says:

    This is so sweet! I love that Blurb.com makes it easy for people to create books like this.

  13. Amanda Love says:

    I’ve never thought of making anything into a book besides photobooks of vacations. I use a completely different site however when I do them. Will have to check this out.

  14. tp keane says:

    I have a sizeable collection of my kids things too. I’m not sure I can get rid of them though. I’d rather throw out some of my garbage. Making a book sounds amazing.

  15. That’s a great idea. I still think I would feel upset actually throwing them into the bin though!

  16. This is a great idea! A great way to save everything your child creates without having storage bins everywhere!

  17. I totally love this idea. I am totally going to start doing this! It will be such a great keepsake.

  18. That is really a great and sweet idea! I need to save this. Thanks for that!

  19. Its funny because I’m the same way. I’ll get rid of just about anything, I dont get attached – but with my kids its a whole different story!

  20. This is a great idea. We keep …. nothing. I know, sometimes I feel really bad. My husband and I just hate clutter.

  21. This is something I need to do. We homeschool, so I save everything. However, this year I need to put together a portfolio for her to be evaluated. I am trying to decide if I can part with things and just keep the portfolio, but this sounds like a great idea as well!

  22. What a great idea! I have so much artwork from when my kids were younger. Making a book would be a fun idea!

  23. Even though I claim that “stuff” doesn’t matter, I am a sucker for keepsakes. My most treasured are my children’s creations. This is a great idea.

  24. Laura says:

    Love this idea! Beautiful keepsake and treasure!

    • Laura says:

      My little one is starting middle school next year and enjoying her last year of elementary school. This is perfect for her!

  25. This project takes time but it’s so worth every minute of it. I have elem school scrapbooks for both of my kids. I cherish them.

  26. What a cute idea! I save a couple art projects or reading assignments a year, but I don’t save nearly what I used to.

  27. This is such a great idea! I have an enormous stack of papers just from Kindergarten work. I would love to keep it organized and clutter-free!

  28. I find it to sweet and such a great idea. I like this!

  29. How awesome this is so neat I had no idea I am on this like right now I always love my kids art

  30. What a cool idea! I will have to do this with my sentimental paperwork!

  31. teresa.cox says:

    This is such a great idea! My son is only 8 months old but this would be a great thing to do once he starts drawing and such!

  32. Angela says:

    My kids aren’t in school yet, but I can totally see me keeping everything. This is a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Amber NElson says:

    What an awesome idea. I have a big bin full of mementos that I need to put together for my children.

  34. This is a great idea! Thank you so much. I just need to have the discipline to get the photos off of my camera first!

  35. wow I am going to have to check into this as I am the same as you! I can’t fathom throwing any of the kids’ art projects away but know I should 😉

  36. Great idea… My kids always bring their artwork back home. I need to start collecting them.

  37. Sara Oberton says:

    This is a wonderful keepsake instead if keeping all of those papers and having them wrinkle and turn yellow!

  38. My daughter is now an adult and I still have a place for her things while she was growing up. Sometimes we take them out and have a good laugh

  39. Roxanne says:

    This is a really great idea!! It is a real struggle to keep it all organized. I don’t mind throwing it all away but I know my kids would loose their minds! lol

  40. Coralie says:

    This is such a fun idea! I have so many pictures and things I would love to do this with all of my kids.

  41. Megan McCoig says:

    What a wonderful tool! Helps you keep the memories but get rid of the tremendous litter of things!

  42. Lisa Rios says:

    Such a great idea when you have a chance to digitalize all those wonderful memories. I am going to check Blurb as this great that you can make such awesome books so easily.

  43. What a great way to keep them without having clutter! This would be great for my son.

  44. Denea says:

    What a great idea. I will be doing this! Love it!

  45. Nikki says:

    This is a great idea! My mom recently offloaded years of my elementary-school writing projects and crafts on to me. All my childhood stuff that she’d been saving, when she wanted to clear out space, she gave to me. Now I have A stockpile of my own stuff, plus my kids stuff that I’ve been hanging onto. Digitizing everything would make my life a whole lot simpler.

  46. I so need to do this… I have a hope chest FILLED with drawings and painting and goodness knows what else from 4 little ones. Honestly it’s very overwhelming and I know that one day I am going to have to go through it. Just not today… I don’t have that much time!

  47. This is such a good idea to make a book. I have a box full of paintings my daughter has made that I planned on putting in her scrapbook. The only problem is, I have no got around to scrapbooking anything in years.

  48. As someone who is constantly trying to simplify and de-clutter, I love this!

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