It seems that 4-H and paper go hand and hand. Between judging sheets, recognition letters, awards, and announcements, things pile up pretty quick. But you can't just get rid of the stuff (or at least sentimentalists like me can't :p), sooo, what's a girl who despises clutter and is just a tad OCD to do??
Solution: Make a 4-H Memory Book.
A 4-H Memory Book is basically just a compilation of everything you've ever done in 4-H. It can house photos, project records, newspaper clippings...whatever tells your story! They're easy to create, and can be anything from elaborate scrapbooks to a simple binder like mine. I love them because they're a little less rigid than 4-H Record Books, making paper storage easier (always a plus, right?!).
I've had the book above since my first year in 4-H, way back in 2006. It's great for not just memories, but also for reference when I'm creating 4-H resumes or filling out award applications. But since it's just too stuffed now and I've had to create I new book, I took the opportunity to take some pictures to share! Below you'll find my simple steps for creating one of your own!
1.) Gather all the stuff. For some reason, I can never create memory books as I 'go along'. Instead, I usually just shove all of my old papers in a folder and forget about them for a couple of months. So, search the house, find all the scraps, and settle down somewhere with lots of floor space!
2.) Give your binder some personality! If you buy a big enough binder, these things will last you for years. So liven yours up with some 4-H spirit! I like to use my binders to show off my 4-H bumper stickers, and memento stickers from national trips.
3.) Sort by event. Everything Fashion Revue in one pile, and resumes in another. Throw out the trash. When you're done sorting, organize each pile in chronological order, and then stick them in the binder in chronological order. TIP: staple ribbons to the judging sheets. It cuts down clutter, keeps them flat, and adds visual interest!!
4.) Make a cover page. Since these are organized by 4-H year, I make a cover page to section things off. On it, include the dates and a list of all 4-H events you participated in. This is also a great place to add a fun photo!
5.) Stow un-hole-punchable things in the pockets. Like name tags, Georgia peanuts, and water chesnuts. :)
So there you have it! An easy, clutter-controlling way to keep all those 4-H mementos. :) What with the new 4-H year starting up, this is a great time to get organized! And don't forget, you can usually exhibit these at the fair!
Thanks for reading! :)