Organizing the kids artwork

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How do you deal with your child’s “beautiful” artwork from school, daycare and/or pre-school?  There is a virtual plethora of paper that streams through your door on a daily basis.  Are we really expected to KEEP all this?!  If you actually ASK your children, they will unequivocally  say, “YES!”   My first recommendation is – Do NOT ask your children. 😉 In the future, they will thank-you for not handing them 10 boxes filled with stuff for them to unclutter when they come of age.

Deal with it as it comes through the door
We keep most stuff out of sheer guilt. How bout trying my format to alleviate guilt in this case… When my five-year-old comes home from school, we sit down on the sofa, and open up her backpack. Out, comes all the work she completed and even some half-completed works of art and printing, etc. I acknowledge EVERY piece, one by one and go over it with her(it really only takes about 3 minutes). When we are done and she has moved on, I place it in a pile on the counter. It sits until the next morning. If she’s moved on to other things, and is showing no interest in any of the items, they ALL go in the recycle bin. I do NOT, not, not do it in front of her…. Oh, and I cover it up with a little junk mail in case she sees the blue bin.
On the other hand, if she has shown great interest in one item, I take that one and put it in her bin at the bottom of the stairs. This way, I know I can find it if she asks for it later.  If I, mistakenly threw out something she looks for a week later, I begin trying to look for it with her for a few minutes. I say something like, “I don’t know. Where did YOU put it?” and slowly distract her with something else.  Most often, it’s “out of sight, out of mind” for my child.  Just make sure you never let them see it in the garbage – EVER!   If your kids are like mine, they can spew out artwork like a factory.  I’m sure they don’t even remember more than half the stuff they ever complete, so don’t feel guilty!! 🙂

a clear label for kid's memory boxes are necessary.  I put the label on all sides so it doesn't matter which way it is replaced, whenever it gets accessed.

a clear label for kid’s memory boxes are necessary. I put the label on all sides so it doesn’t matter which way it is replaced, whenever it gets accessed.

Memory box for school work and art.  When it gets full, we will go through it together and "edit" it down to half once again so it can fit more.  I'm determined to have only ONE box by the time she's done high school. :)

Memory box for school work and art. When it gets full, we will go through it together and “edit” it down to half once again so it can fit more. I’m determined to have only ONE box by the time she’s done high school. 🙂

Try the WALL of FAME
We do have places where she can display art and it is NOT on the fridge. Everyone is different, but I just don’t like a lot of paper and magnets on MY fridge.  YOU can designate special areas in your home.  When using the “wall of fame” idea, you get to both acknowledge your children’s works of art ,and also keep it out of sight –  IF you put your wall in just the right spot. 😉  Choose a wall wherever YOU want to. Whatever area you choose, let them know why it is so special.   Designate this, the place for treasured artwork and let your child know how many pieces they can pin or tape to the wall. They will be so happy you made this for them, they will not even notice all the discarded pieces, leaving you guilt-free. YAY!

Depending on the kind of money you want to spend on this project, here are a few more ideas:

Make a magnetic wall with specialized magnetic chalk board paint(be careful to do some research on this one. I’ve heard the paint is not very strongly magnetized. You may just want to go to the hardware store and get some galvanized steel or similar and paint it, then hang on the wall and/or frame, then hang on the wall.)
Make a line with curtain wire. IKEA sells metal curtain wire that can be attached wall to wall. You can, then use cute clothespins to hang the works of art.
Use cork board. My child has a mirror that came with a portion of corkboard at the top(sorry, no picture of it, as we get too much reflection). She uses push pins to put whatever art she makes and change it as she wants.
Make a Poster. You can take pictures of art and 3 dimensional projects, then make a collage and go to a print shop to make a poster of all the work combined.
*Frame them. You can have your wall of fame be made out of many frames. This gives even more importance to each piece, and can be changed whenever they like.

Whatever you do, don’t let the paper take over! I know that parents have a hard time parting with stuff out of guilt, but its more the parent rather than the child who struggles with getting rid of “the stuff”. When interviewed, grown up children were happier their parents did not save every little piece of artwork they ever did, but I gotta admit, some I  keep for my own satisfaction. 🙂
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Thanks for tuning in!

Tanya
Professional Organizer
Tanya@cleaningdeclutter.com
416.428.5929

Comments

    • Thanks Corinne,
      I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you 14 years ago 🙁 . Though it’s never too late to start.
      Good luck keeping it under control for the rest of the school years ahead. 🙂

  1. love the artwork… My son & I are organizing our (his) basement this weekend now that his has finished college and came back home! I will keep a lot of your ideas in the back of my mind while we are “decluttering”. my guess is I will need your help for the finishing touch 🙂

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