Creative Ways to Organize Kids’ Art (Without Hoarding!)

A recent article in the Huffington Post called “Hoarding My Kids’ Art,” got us thinking about the common school year dilemma of what to do with the dozens of paintings, drawings, and art projects that come home with our children every week.  In the article, the author talks about how her kids’ artwork collection spread from the fridge, to kitchen cabinets and drawers, until she eventually found herself stuffing drawings under couch cushions and into shoeboxes for “safekeeping.”  She couldn’t bring herself to get rid of any of the artwork, but was surprised when her daughter was easily able to choose her favorites and let others go into the recycling bin.

Obviously we don’t want to throw away our children’s work without documenting it, but sometimes there’s simply not enough space to save every sketch or craft.  Besides the obvious method of throwing out our kids’ “less favorite” pieces, here are some other creative ways we found on parents.com, cozi.com and simplemom.net for how to document, store and display kids’ artwork:

1. Create an art wall.  Love the idea of proudly displaying your kids’ projects on the fridge, but need more space?  Create your own art wall by hanging a clothesline across a wall of your kitchen, playroom, hallway, or your child’s bedroom.  Have your kids paint clothespins to attach on the line, and then hang their favorite works of art as they come home.  The display will add color and personality to any room, and won’t have any permanent effect on your walls!

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2. Create a digital display.  You store thousands of photos on your phone, computer or laptop, why not do the same with your child’s artwork?  Explain to your son or daughter that there’s not enough space to keep every project, but you can take a photo of everything they bring home so they can always look back on their art.  It’s easy to sort photos on your computer by year, event, or even themed folders.  For a more visual presentation, create a screensaver for your TV or computer with the images, or purchase a photo frame and have the pictures display on a running loop.

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3. Send art to friends & relatives.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends love getting drawings and crafts from kids, and definitely don’t have the excess amount you do at home!  Collect art over the course of a few weeks and then have kids glue some of their favorite pieces to a sheet of card stock.  Let them choose which drawings go to who, and help them write a note on the back.  Everyone will write back asking for more, which will help you find homes for even more of their artwork.

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4. Frame their favorite piece.  Although you want to cut back on some of the clutter caused by the hundreds of pictures your kids bring home from school each year, it’s important to make sure they know that you still do value their art.  Save your child’s art in a folder for a semester or school year, and then let them choose their favorite piece.  This is a good opportunity to both look back at their great work and creativity, and decide what to do with any drawings they no longer want.  Once they’ve chosen their favorite, let them pick out a frame and then hang it in their bedroom or another prominent location in the house.  Displaying their work will definitely help your kids feel like real artists!

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5.  Use kids’ artwork as DIY cards and wrapping paper.  Encourage kids to use their artwork to wrap gifts for friends and family, or cut and paste drawings onto construction paper for a handmade touch.  Your kids will feel great about sharing their art, and they’ll definitely have the most original wrapping at the party.

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6.  Keep favorite drawings neat with office storage boxes.  Organize artwork worth keeping in containers like the Stockholm Office Storage Boxes found at the Container Store ($7.99-$9.99).  For a budget-friendly option, do-it-yourself by wrapping your boot and shoe boxes, transforming them into beautiful, cute storage boxes. Not only do these boxes keep your children’s artwork organized, they add a pop of color to your home decor.

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Good luck savvy moms.  Here’s to a happy & organized back-to-school season!

-The Savvy Staff

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