THREE WAYS TO DEAL WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF ARTWORK FROM YOUR LITTLE PICASSO
Book bags thrown to the floor in wild abandon, as they run into the house excited for some free time - hands are washed, snacks are scarfed down, board games are played, and shoes are kicked off of tired feet. Then there's bath, dinner, story times and nightly rituals. When the last one is tucked safely in bed after *just one more* sip of water, it's finally time to sit back, put your feet up, and relax...
It's time to go through heavy book bags and sticky lunch boxes to see what treasures they hold for us to sign, sort, and clean.
Yup - we're with you.
Now that they're in school, they bring home artwork, papers, short stories, and worksheets constantly and it is super easy to get overwhelmed! Here are my favorite 3 methods for storing and keeping your children's favorite works of art.
1. LESS IS MORE
This first method is for those who either hate clutter in general, or have smaller homes where there's just not enough room to store E V E R Y T H I N G that comes with having kids! Mommas who love this method tend to be more Type A, have a relatively neat home on any given day, and know that everything in there home has it's specific place. Sound like you? Then read on!
Every time your little one creates a masterpiece (or brings home a worksheet they're proud of, or a craft they love, etc.) simply take a photo of your child holding it in front of them - or, if they're camera shy that day, just the artwork itself. Upload them all to an online storage site and label them by your child's name and the date!
Once you have it documented, you can feel good about tossing it in the trash or recycling bin (probably when they're not looking just to be safe)
At the end of every school year or calendar year, order a photo book of that year's creations with a fun cover, and you're done!
If you take all of the photos on your smartphone, make sure you back them up to another source such as the iCloud, amazon prime cloud, or snapfish for safekeeping.
If you're really low on time or this sounds like way too much work, we've also got you covered. Download an app like ArtKive (found here) or Keepy (found here) and they take care of it all for you from the comfort of your phone for a small fee!
2. HANGING ON
I’m not embarrassed to admit it – I have a major problem getting rid of things that have emotional meaning. Especially when it comes to my kids! As a “mom-hoarder” of sorts, I have a much more bulky solution. If you're like me, and love keeping pretty much everything, then this one's for you! No shame in our game, girls - here we go.
Grab a large plastic bin for each child, (I got these ones from Target) and as they come home with papers and artwork that they want to keep, I simply add it to the bin! Depending on what size you have, it will take quite a while to fill it up.
At the end of the school year, or when ever it fills up, simply label it with your child's name and grade(s) and keep it in your storage area where it will be protected from the environmental hazards for as long as you wish!
3. A HEALTHY BALANCE
This method is based off of Jenn, our office manager. It’s a nice mix between the other two methods and probably the most realistic! She has three kids in elementary school and deals with a mountain of art and schoolwork that comes home daily. If you have multiple kids, or want a nice balanced way to keep some but not all things, this one's for you!
Every time your child/children come home from school, asks them to pick their one or two favorite things from the day to keep, and then throw the rest away. This creates a much smaller more manageable collection.
Then, you just use a three-hole-punch like this one and put the papers in a binder in chronological order! One binder per child, per year. I love this approach and hopefully someday I can make my hoarder-heart make the leap to create less clutter and chaos (since I will eventually run out of room!)
No matter which method you choose, I also suggest having a special place in your home for your child's artwork. There are a ton of studies on how art and music create confidence and pride in children as they grow, such as this one from PBS
It can be as simple as the fridge, or more creative like a cute cork board in their room or a clothesline in the kitchen - whatever fits your style!