Organizing Your Kids’ Artwork
A Dad Friend sent me this article from the New York Times on ruthless decluttering, Mom, You’re One Tough Art Critic. The more I thought about posting on this, the more I remembered the piles of messy art that I have squirreled away throughout my house and realized that I was in no position to be giving advice on how to purge or store your child’s artwork.
And then I remembered the lovely Bonnie Joy Dewkett, whose posts on organizing are always inspired and doable so I asked her if she’d have a crack at it. And what do you know? In less than 24 hours, she sent me this gem. Thank you Bonnie! You are truly amazing!
Children’s artwork is a bittersweet thing. It’s beautiful and can represent a glimpse into the world as seen through a child’s eyes. It can also be a great indicator of your child’s development. However, artwork can add up. Before you know it, artwork can overwhelm your counters, refrigerator, and walls. By implementing the following steps you will make sure your memories are kept in tact, and decrease the clutter.
1. Before you do anything with a piece of artwork, decide what it means to you. Is it the best piece your child has ever done or is it just another piece they drew while waiting for dinner at a restaurant? Be honest with yourself.
2. Do you have family members that live far away? Have your child sign pieces of artwork, then write a quick note and send the artwork to friends and family who live far away. It may sound silly to you because you have dozens of pieces, but to them it may be the only piece they have!
3. For three-dimensional pieces of art, the easiest thing to do is take a photo of your child with the piece; keep it for a little while, and then dispose of it. I usually suggest moving it to another area of the house, such as the garage, after a period of time. If it’s not missed, you can easily get rid of it.
4. Use frames that are easily changeable to house artwork. Job tickets are small plastic sheaths that are designed to house contractor’s paperwork on dirty and wet job sites. They are inexpensive and easy to hang on your wall. Papers slip in and out quickly and easily. Changing artwork is a snap.
5. Pizza boxes make great artwork storage. Ask at your local pizza place to give you some unused boxes. Most restaurants will give them away for free. You can group artwork by date, child or academic year.
6. For artwork that is flat, consider scanning it in and storing it digitally.
7. Take photos of your child with their artwork. Then you can print them and put them into an album or you can print a digital photo book. This gives you aprinted record of your child’s progress. Print multiple books and give them to family members
8. Set limits with your child on just how many pieces of artwork you will keep. Stay within these boundaries and it will help them learn to determine which pieces have meaning and which pieces do not.
9. Combine storage with display. Use a string and clothespins to display a large number of items in a small amount of space
10. Make sure you hold yourself accountable to sit down and sort through artwork. It will build up as the school year progresses. Putting a date into your calendar to make those difficult decisions will make sure it gets done and make sure the artwork doesn’t pile up too high. For the pieces you have determined should bekept and are important, take the time to have them laminated and to protect them in clearly labeled plastic containers.
Joy Dewkett, CPO® is an organizing expert, author, and motivational speaker. Her company, The Joyful Organizer®, creates and implements organizational systems for the home or office. These changes allow her Customers to create calm from chaos at work and at home. Bonnie has achieved the prestigious designation of Certified Professional Organizer, CPO®, from The Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. She is a member of The National Association of Professional Organizers(NAPO) and has published The Joyful Organizer’s Guide to a Joyful Move which is available on her website http://www.thejoyfulorganizer.com.