Managing Kids’ Artwork

Anyone else’s house turn into an art gallery during the school year?! Stress not, it’s never too late to put a system into place…or even find ways to wear it! I love how realistic this plan is for archiving and organizing all of my kids’ masterpieces!

SUPPLIES

1. Temporary storage

  • First, you’ll need temporary storage. You might remember from my counter clutter episode I have this super accessible drawer which I can just toss artwork in as soon as my kids come home. If it’s a worksheet or something I know I don’t want to keep I toss it. Otherwise, I don’t like making that decision so I date the back and it’s done. You can use a box or a bin, but this drawer was the perfect size.

2. Pick the best

  • Because I had to empty the drawer it forced me to pick the best. It was kind of surprising how much easier it was to evaluate this pile as a whole at the end of year selecting the highlights. Presley loved mermaids and castles; she was obsessed with going to New York City; her pride in being a big sister; who was President. Anything with a handprint is my weakness. I was less attached to caterpillars, dots, any experiment with abstract art.
  • I imagine this will get harder as they get older with writing samples and report cards. I’m going to keep trying to remind myself that it’s better to enjoy a few special things than have so much clutter you can’t find anything. In less than 30 minutes I had about 25 pieces to put in the permanent archive.

3. Archive

  • Each kid is going to get waterproof plastic bins with hanging folders. I’ll link some options below. If you want to go a little bit further you can add a little picture maybe from their first day of school.
  • I actually wanted to write things down as my memory was jogged going through the pile. Things like their best friends, favorite memories, the big things they learned throughout the year. I’m going to pre-stuff the folders with the form because I think there’s a better chance that way that I actually keep doing this.
  • I ended up framing some of the pretty colored paintings for the playroom. I gave a bunch to grandparents. For the bigger stuff that doesn’t fit into the bin, you can actually roll it up into a mailing tube. I just took a picture. I don’t know if I’ll ever upload it or use one of those apps but it made me feel a little less guilty when I had to say goodbye.

Definitely, do this whole thing after the kids go to bed or when they’re not at home. I hope this helps you develop a system for all that amazing artwork.



Elle Walker is a co-founder at What's Up Moms and the mom to three kids (7, 4, 2). In her spare time, she loves testing out kids activities (often muttering, "Pinterest, you lie"), to find the best play that minimize set-up, reduce costs, and uses stuff up around the house.