I love my kids and I love all of their creations that they make, but I’m just not ever going to be able to keep every single piece of art they make! And sometimes the decision process involved in deciding what to keep and what to let go of can be hard. I know this is a really big issue for so many. I’ve had several parents confide in me that they have kept everything and now feel completely suffocated by the hoard of creations they’ve amassed. To help the fellow parents out there, here’s how to organize kid art with solutions to make the process just a little bit easier:
Take a picture
You can take a picture of the piece by itself or with the artist who made it. It can be fun to look back and see how little or big your child was when they made that particular piece. Here’s my now 10 year old when he was just 5. Cute, right? In full disclosure, I find it easiest to take pictures of the creations when my kiddos are not around. As I take pictures, I sort them into piles that fit with the ideas I outline below.
Family and friends would absolutely love to receive creations in the mail. It would be a welcome change from the boring mail they probably usually get. Mail creations off to them and spread the joy!
Use the art as wall art to decorate your home
There are special frames that can make this easier for quick changes. You can also use a decorative picture hanger that has clips to display the art. Or maybe use cork board strips mounted to your wall to make displays easy to change frequently. I tried this last option with a client who wanted to be able to display a lot of art at once, but wanted a budget friendly solution. Together, we installed 5 x5″ cork squares along the top of a wall. Using clear thumbtacks, we hung many, many different masterpieces her children had created. Perfect fix for this family’s problem. It got everything out of the stack that the client had amassed and dozens of creations were displayed cleverly and neatly.
Keep only your favorites
Now what to do with all of the favorites that you really don’t want to part with? Keep them, but set limits.
Not every piece of artwork can be your favorite. I used to use a shallow under the bed box. The size of the box accommodated larger pieces without the need to fold. When the box was full, I made choices about what to keep and reevaluate my favorites. I had just one box for both of my kids and I suggest no more than one box for each of your children too. You’ll thank yourself later, as will your kids when they don’t have boxes of stuff to sort through years down the road.
I now use a School Paper and Memory Box system for my kids. I loved it so much, I knew others would too, so I offer a printable version of it in my shop. The memory box is a great place to store art that your kids love, but you’re not so attached to. And when you use a letter sized file box, you have a nice amount of space to store the treasured favorites, but not so much space that it’s going to be a pain to store.
Black bag it
A friend of mine opts to use a black garbage bag to dispose of any creations that aren’t keep worthy. Her kids can’t see through the black bags, so this method avoids the problem of her kids getting upset when they realize she’s not keeping everything.
I don’t personally use this method because my kids know what the deal is – there is a picture of everything so we can remember it, because not everything cannot be kept. They understand and I’m glad to be teaching this very important lifeskill of letting go of things. Blech. That sounds very After School Special to me. But it is true. 🙂
Now you know how to organize kid art! Where will you start first?