Little did I know when my heart swelled with happiness with my son Charles’ first scribbles from daycare that one day these same projects and papers – this childhood artwork – would literally take over my house. I won’t lie, I still love looking through my boys’ papers, however, then, I want to recycle 99% of them. Our kids on the other hand see every paper, each coloring page and all projects as treasures we will keep as family heirlooms for generations to come.
With four boys and a seemly overwhelming number of papers and coloring pages, I finally couldn’t handle it any more – I HAD to get the artwork under control.
Here are my recommendations to help you keep sane in this crazy world of (endless) artistic treasures:
- Place artwork inside cabinet doors. I learned this from my dear friend, Sarah. It is GENIUS. Out of sight, yet still seen regularly – a fun reminder of your creative kiddo when you reach for your morning mug. We also tape artwork on a few other surfaces in the kitchen – not the outside of cabinets – but some walls, the closet door, and the door to the basement. While there seems like a lot some days, it’s also contained to these places and forces us to move some out to put new ones up. However, if you like a more tidier looking kitchen – inside cabinet posting is the way to go!
- The bucket. This, personally, is my favorite method. I have a giant (for some reason, clear) rubbermaid type bucket. All papers and projects that the kids want to keep that I don’t really want to hang up, go in this. Once a year in preparation for school, I clean it out when they are not there (no kids around is a KEY component to the bucket plan – otherwise you’re sunk keeping too much if they see it all again. I save my favorites from the year in a separate bucket (one for each child) and recyle the rest long after they’ve forgotten them.The bucket works so well, because when they ask me for project X – I can say – oh it’s saved in the bucket! Formerly, I got busted for recycling project X and, as any mom who has done this knows, it was not a pretty sight after that. I have to debate whether to lie or just fess up and then face the consequences.
- Artwork frames. These worked okay until our kids started bringing home non-9×13 projects, then, they haven’t been quite as handy. I think this would be a great gift idea for a grandparent or aunt/uncle. Then whenever you do have a 9×13 item it can be lovingly mailed off to that house (and is then out of yours) where a special frame awaits.
- ArtKive is a fabulous app for photographing, tagging, and categorizing your child’s masterpieces. I learned about this from my friend, Becca whose daughter Leah is now in 5th grade. She writes: “I enjoyed using Artkive especially when our daughter was younger, as it allowed us to keep all of our her artwork and other creative pieces in one spot without them piling up over time. With the app I was able to take pictures of her individual art pieces and I could label them by title, her age at the time, grade in school, where she created the piece, etc. The app is very easy to use and it provides you the ability to then create special keepsakes using your child’s art.”
I’m always looking for new ideas. Do you have other ways you keep the artwork under control? PLEASE share in the comments!