If you’re nearing the end of your child’s school year, chances are that they are bringing home piles and piles of artwork and papers and projects. And the piles are multiplying and sitting and spilling. Oh, and there’s also thank you notes from teachers and friends to whom we’ve given gifts or whatever. What do to with the piles? THE PILES!!!!! I need ways to store kids art. Don’t you?
If you also want the piles to no longer exist, this post is for you! Packrats need not bother with us type A folk today, ha!
4 Ways to Store Kids Art
Some kids are going to be naturals when it comes to artistic talent and you may want the option to have a physical file of their artistic journeys. You know, for when you are auctioning off their “early works” upon them becoming world famous artists… For this, I have two methods–one for small stuff and one for larger works–and I only utilize this after sorting and finding the best of the best. Even after storing the best of the best, I know that I might eventually move some of these pieces into digital storage.
1. Small artwork/booklets/papers: I bought one plastic filing container (like this one) for each child and inserted some expandable 8.5×11″ hanging file folders. One folder for each year of life. Inside these folders I put their sweetest notes from friends, family, and their 10-15 best pieces of artwork or schoolwork from that age. I begin at age 0-1 because they received some lovely cards and notes addressed to them when they were born or turned 1. These plastic bins store easily in a reach in closet upstairs that we refer to as “the Library”. This is our overflow of books and learning materials that I want near the kids’ rooms for quiet time or anytime they want to read.
2. Larger artwork: Remy has shown a particular affinity for making art from a young age. Most kids do, but having taught art in the public school system, I can tell you she has a specific focus that has led to some fascinating pieces that are quite large (24×20″, for example). Anyway, I needed a portfolio for a few of these pieces that we kept. I just grabbed a couple of pieces of acid-free foam core boards and taped them together with packing tape on 2 sides. It stores quite nicely behind a bookcase in my office so that when the papers come in, I can quickly access it.
3. Photograph it! Once something comes off your refrigerator or out of a frame to make space for new art, take a picture of it and lovingly relocate the physical paper or sculpture to the recycling bin or trash. Obviously, the best of the best can be physically stored, but for the rest, don’t allow it to make you crazy. Put the pictures into a special folder on your computer or device for that child and I would personally subdivide the folder into school years or age of the child.
Here are some tips from BeckyHiggins.com for photographing kids artwork.
1. Turn off the flash. Natural, indirect light is best. I usually open my door, place the item on the floor, and snap.
2. Position your self directly above the item, shooting straight down.
3. Choose a simple background. I just used our wood floor, but a white sheet or white board is nice too.
4. Consider having your child actually holding the item, for a more personalized result.
5. When you have several similar items that aren’t too big, you could photograph them together in one picture.
4. Turn it into a book. Use any publishing website like Shutterfly.com or Mixbook.com, or even Chatbooks (you could make a separate Instagram account for your child’s artwork to feed to the Chatbooks account, to make a bound book of art over the months or years. I haven’t tried this yet, but I think when I get to the end of elementary school, I’ll probably go through all of the physical things I have stored and re-evaluate what stays and what goes into a bound book.
Well, there you have it! I am still figuring out storage methods, as my kids are young and there’s only two of them. If you have additional suggestions, I’d love to know about them in the comments! Thanks for reading.