colorful art supplies strewn about on desk

Crafty Kids, Tidy Spaces: A Parent’s Guide to Organizing Children’s Artwork

Children are natural-born artists, and their creativity knows no bounds.

As a parent, you’ve probably found yourself with a growing collection of your child’s masterpieces—colorful drawings, handprints, and glitter-infused creations that bring joy but also a touch of chaos to your home.

Organizing your child’s art doesn’t have to be a daunting task; with a bit of creativity and planning, you can turn the chaos into a beautiful and manageable showcase of your little one’s artistic journey.

Here’s some options to organizing your child’s art work so you can enjoy it now and for years to come:

Declutter the Creations You Have

Just like any other organizing project, start with decluttering what you already have.

You love your kids and probably also love almost all of their creations that they make, but the reality is that you’re 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.  

In my work with clients, I’ve had several parents confide in me that they have kept everything and now feel completely suffocated by the hoard of art creations they’ve amassed.  

Their storage spaces in the basement and attic are overrun with past creations and it’s all too much.

That’s the sign that it’s time to dig in and get on with the process of decluttering your child’s art portfolio!

Sort through the stack of art work and pull out anything that you especially love and definitely want to keep physical version of.

But remember that not every piece can be your favorite!

I know it’s hard to make that decision, but it’s going to help you reach your goal of not being overwhelmed by this one aspect of your life.

Here are some questions to ask to help determine whether or not to keep the art piece:

  1. Do you love the piece?
  2. Does your child especially love the artwork?
  3. Does the piece demonstrate a particular technique or perspective that’s especially appealing?
  4. Would you like to display the piece?
  5. Is the piece a good representation of your child’s skill at that age/stage?
  6. Is the piece easy to store?
  7. Does the artwork have glitter or other 3d elements that will come off with time?
  8. Is the artwork in good shape and not crumpled, faded, or water stained?

Organizing Favorite Kid Art That You’re Keeping

Now that you have your pile whittled down, here’s what to do with what remains in your keeper pile:

Use the art as wall art to decorate your home

There are special frames that can make this easier for quick changes and allows for pieces to be rotated.  

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, kind of mimicking.  

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, but didn’t know what to do with and dozens of creations were displayed cleverly and neatly to be appreciated each day.

Create a Masterpiece Scrapbook

For a more tangible keepsake, consider making a scrapbook dedicated to your child’s artwork.

Select the most special pieces, and create a chronological or thematic scrapbook.

This not only preserves the art but also provides a fun activity for you and your child to do together.

Add the Artwork to your Child’s Memory Box

If you haven’t already, set up a Memory Box system for each of your children.

This gives a dedicated place for many things that otherwise become clutter and it has the added bonus of safeguarding the items too.

The system also provides natural limits so that you keep a manageable amount.

As your child grows and ages, so too will the number of art pieces and school projects you have to make decisions about.

If it doesn’t fit into the memory box, then choose one of the other options for preserving a record of it.

You’ll thank yourself later, as will your kids when they don’t have boxes and boxes of stuff to sort through years down the road!

What to Do With Art that You Don’t Want to Keep

Digitize the Artwork

In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to preserve your child’s art without keeping physical copies.

Consider creating a digital archive by scanning or photographing their creations.

You can then organize these files on your computer or create online albums.

This not only saves space but also ensures that the artwork is preserved for years to come.

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 18 year old when he was just 5.  Cute, right?  

This technique is probably not something you have time for on the daily, but especially for larger pieces that are awkward to store, it’s an effective strategy for preserving the essence of the artwork.

Mail it!

For artwork that doesn’t make the cut to keep a physical copy of, consider sharing it with others.

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.  

Send creations off to them and spread the joy! 

Trash the Art

For pieces that don’t make the cut for any of the above options or in if the piece hasn’t been stored in a way to safeguard them, the best option is probably to throw it away.

Sad but true since your home will otherwise become overrun, especially if your little artist creates many pieces a day.

In case your child objects, you’ll need to be strategic about when and how to dispose of the artwork.

A friend of mine opts to use a black garbage bag to dispose of any creations that aren’t save 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.  That’s a very After School Special thing to say, but oh so true!

Over to You

Organizing your child’s artwork doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

By creating designated spaces, rotating displays, and involving your child in the process, you can turn the chaos of creative endeavors into a well-organized and cherished collection.

Remember, the goal is not just to manage the mess but to celebrate and preserve the beautiful journey of your child’s artistic growth.

Happy organizing!

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