Parents of small children are no strangers to the mountains of paperwork that come through the door when our children start school. While we love to see so much artwork being made and the artistic process being enjoyed, how can we possibly keep it all organized?
Honestly, the first step has to be curating the collection and getting rid of LOTS of it. When you look back years from now, you’ll want a handful of samples from each year of school or stage of their development, plus anything that’s really special or sentimental to you. Once you have sorted through and discarded the pieces that are basically just scrap paper, or super repetitive, I have found some great ideas over the years for both displaying and archiving those “important” projects.
To be most effective and manageable, you will probably want to use a combination of these methods. Ideally, you will have a way to display the current artwork while also having a way to archive and store the pieces that you want to keep for years to come.
Storage Frames– A great way to put your child’s artwork on display while also storing a few pieces inside the frame for a quick refresh or seasonal décor changes. Bonus: it keeps them flat and protected from damage.
Gallery wall– get yourself a few frames from the second hand store, paint them all one color, add a string and clips, and arrange them on the wall to allow for interchangeable artwork displays.
Turn it into something useful– Websites like Shutterfly and Snapfish have so many options for turning photographs of your child’s artwork into pillows, mugs, phone cases, etc. so their artwork can be featured all over the place in practical applications.
Archival portfolio– with top loading sleeves and slim profiles, these are a great space saving way to store artwork for years. There are different sizes to accommodate those big projects as well as regular 8.5 x 11 pieces. And, the kids can get them out and flip through them without damaging the artwork or messing up the organization. You will also want a labelmaker to help with keeping everything organized.
Filing system– This one takes up a little more space but it allows for safe keeping of some 3-D art as well. Creatively label a box for each child, fill it with hanging folders labeled for each age or grade level and sort those favorite pieces into the files.
Make a photo book– Take pictures of the work that you may have chosen not to keep but still want to honor and put them into a photo book. Check out ArtKive! You send them the artwork, they take a picture of it and turn it into a book for you.
Digital scrapbook– Can you believe there are apps that curate photos of your child’s artwork with descriptions into an online scrapbook to share with family? It’s like Instagram for kid’s artwork, but you can add your voice (or your child’s) talking about the artwork and even print books, canvases and more.
Do you have a favorite idea for honoring your child’s work while keeping the hoards of papers under control? Share in the comments.
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