School Work Bags

This article, entitled "School Work Bags," comes from Chrissy Ensign.

Between working in a school and having school-aged children, A LOT of paper comes through my house. When my son first entered preschool, I knew that I had to think of something to manage all of the papers. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in how darling the projects are that they bring home and as moms we want to keep them all…preserve the memories of that moment and that age. Not to mention, my kids want to save everything! I am often told, “Mom, please don’t recycle that yet!” So I started a “school work file” for each child. Nearly all schoolwork, crafts, and art projects that are brought home are put into a file. As the year continues, I keep adding to the file. When the school year comes to a close, I sift through the work and deem what is acceptable to consider keeping and what is not. These things are pretty easy to spot when you are looking at a years worth of work. Then we take all of the pieces and lay them on the floor. I take a picture of all the work, and also of the kids standing in the middle of the work.

This way we have record of all the amazing things they did in a picture. Afterwards the kids narrow the work down to their top 5 things…

Before finally selecting the one piece they want to keep.

No input from Mom…this is 100% their decision. That being said, I have been known to keep just one more piece if it really tugs at my heart. The kids love it and feel such pride in choosing their favorite piece of schoolwork from the year. This special piece of work gets tucked into their large envelopes that I created for them, and the rest gets recycled!

In this large envelope I also created a simple sheet that has a line for each level of schooling, preschool through 12th grade. Each year, I have the kids “sign” their name on the line. It’s just another quick thing I like to capture that time in their lives.

My son has loved nothing more than looking back at his work so far and seeing how much he has grown. This is the first year that I have completed this project with my daughter, so I have created a step-by-step tutorial for you how to make a large envelope out of a paper grocery bag. I have seen this same idea done with a pizza box, but a teacher in my building makes theses paper bag envelopes with her students every year, and I knew the minute I saw them that I would create them with my own children. Enjoy collecting the memories!

School Work Bag Tutorial

1. Start with a paper grocery bag. If necessary, you will want to carefully remove the handles.

2. Push out the sides of the bag and crease the bag along the outer fold in the opposite way. This will make your bag wider.

3. The bottom of the bag should remain the same. Fold it up on its existing folds so that it lays flat.

4. From the top of the bag, measure and mark 4 inches along each side of the bag.

5. Cut 4 inches along the side of the bag on the fold.

6. With the top of the bag facing up, fold down the strip you just cut…

...then fold it back and tuck it into the bag.

7. The remaining flap, created with the back of the bag, can be folded down over top of the front to create a closure.

8. Decorate your bag any way your like. I used wrapping paper to cover both sides and to reinforce the bag. I also printed out their names in large letters to go across the front.

About the Author...
Chrissy Ensign
Chrissy was born, raised, and currently resides in the Western suburbs of Chicago.

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