Of all of the warnings I ever received before becoming a mother, not once did anyone ever prepare me for the overwhelming amount of artwork that my children would constantly be bringing home from school. Every mother knows the incredible feeling of guilt that can occur with the mere thought of throwing away a single piece of art given to you by your child. However, keeping everything can become a very messy nightmare. A slow and steady pile of drawings, crafts, paintings, and numerous unidentifiable artsy items can easily begin to bury the empty counter and wall spaces in any home, as it did at an alarming rate in my own until I finally decided that enough was enough. Luckily, with a little bit of creativity, some suggestions from fellow mom friends, and a bit of internet searching, I can finally say with certainty that I have found several techniques to help organize and limit my children’s artwork from taking over our house!
- Create an art “space” - Identify one spot in your home where you want to proudly display the best pieces of art that your children bring home. It can be on the refrigerator, a wall in their bedroom, a shelf in the playroom, or anywhere else you choose. This is the ONLY place that the art should be visible in your home, and the rest should either be saved using another technique below or thrown away if you can bear to do so. The goal is to refresh the showcase once a month with new pieces, and to also stop piling or dumping artwork anywhere else around your home. (See photo above)
- Use an artwork portfolio - Easily found at any arts and crafts store, an art portfolio labeled with your child’s name and year is a great place to store and protect artwork. With the help of the plastic protection sleeves inside, you can protect the best pieces of save-worthy art or even writings that your child has created at school and keep the portfolios year after year. A fun activity each month would be to sit down with your child and allow him or her to help you select the art pieces that they want to preserve in their portfolios and which ones they want to toss. An example of a great portfolio option can be found here.
- Take photos of the artwork - A clever mother friend of mine once recommended this idea. Instead of trying to save and store those bulky or oddly shaped art pieces, simply grab your camera and photograph each piece. Then use the photos to create a photo album of your child’s artwork each year (many photo websites make it easy to create affordable photo books as well.) Your child will love to look back at these easily stored albums over the years, and creating photo albums of the art will allow you to throw away the originals without feeling guilty!