When it comes to organizing your child’s many masterpieces there are two important steps: Deciding what to keep and then how to store or display what you’ve decided to keep.
To begin you’ll want to gather all the art you can find around the house in one place. Go through the entire house and pull out all the little pieces of art you can find from the attic, the backpack, the refrigerator door, the junk drawer, under the bed — basically wherever there might be a piece of paper with a scribble on it. Once you have all the art in one place, go through it completely and make piles of the items you’d like to keep. If you have more than one kiddo be sure to keep pieces separated by child, so you can store or display them together without mixing them up. Once everything is separated it’s time to decide what stays and what goes.
Before we go on we want to make a point to say that it’s absolutely okay not to keep every single drawing or craft your child has ever created! You are not a bad person for throwing things out. If you kept everything that your precious angel brought home you would be buried alive.
For the items we decide to toss we like to put them in a “special bin” — aka a black garbage bag. Haha. So on the off chance your child asks for something you threw away just tell them it went in the “special bin”!!
Here are a few ways to help decide what to keep & what goes:
Is it a self portrait? Keep
Is it actually pretty? Keep
Does it make you laugh? Keep
Is it a questionnaire filled in by the child? (I.e. I love my mom because _____) Keep
Indistinguishable scribble? Special bin
Clearly made by a teacher? Special bin
Torn or badly folded? Special bin
Now that you have piles of the items you want to keep, the next step is to decide what to do with them.
Here are the solutions we love for organizing and displaying your child’s art:
Ikea dignitet wire. We love this option (see above). We have hung these in playrooms, mud rooms, offices, and hallways. This non-permanent option allows you to rotate through art work. Perfect for when a child loves to see their work displayed, but you don’t think you will keep it forever. Remember when you add something new, remove an item. You do not want this to look like you threw garbage at the wall.
Inexpensive frames hung in a kids’ area. This is a great solution for more permanent pieces and should be reserved for the art that is actually pretty to look at. They are easy to switch out, but let’s be honest you probably won’t!
An air-tight bin for long term storage. For art that you want to keep, but not necessarily display, use air-tight bins to store in the attic or basement. Make sure the bin is labeled. If for any reason this bin is full it’s time to go through to decide what can be pitched. These are the items that will be passed on and we can honestly tell you after receiving bins from our parents and in-laws we’ve kept very few items.
Photo books. If you are really short on space, or, just really don’t want to store a lot of paper, it is easy to take pictures and have them made into a book using Shutterfly. Another option is ARTKIVE, where you can send them your child’s art and they will make a book for you.
We also love Jan Eleni’s design and art collage. This is a great option if you don’t have a lot of wall space.
Keep in mind that keeping your child’s art organized isn’t a one and done solution — there will always be plenty of other masterpieces coming through the door — and if the pile of art builds back up it can be extremely time consuming to go through it all again. Try to stay on top of it and tackle it as it comes through the door, whether you’re unpacking your child’s backpack or the next time they hand you a stack of papers. We always aim to throw away about 90% of the papers that come through the door. Keep only what makes you happy, if you keep everything it will be overwhelming and will not bring you joy — as Marie Kondo would say.