Organizing Kids’ Artwork

Parents, we cherish each piece of art our child creates. But, let’s face it. Kids’ art output can be overwhelming! You likely have stacks and stacks of coloring book pages, drawings, popsicle stick ornaments, and other crafts sitting around your house. If you are limited in space, this can be a real issue for you. Even if you have a lot of space, my guess is that storing and saving art has you stumped.

A frequently asked question by many of our clients is “Where do I keep my child’s art?” 

Organization can bring an array of emotions but that is even more true where our child is concerned. Parents can feel tremendous guilt tossing their child’s artwork into the trash. So, what do you do? Here are a few of our top recommendations:

1. Use an Art App like Artkive, Keepy or Plumprint. My personal favorite is Artkive (www.artkiveapp.com). They send you a box and a prepaid UPS label and you fill it with your child’s artwork. Then, Artkive professionally photographs each piece and uploads it to your account. You can view and share your pictures anytime on any device. They also give you the option to return the artwork. This was great because I was able to pick a few of the special items I wanted to keep! 

2. Turn Your Art into a Photo Album. There are several ways to do this. My two favorite companies are Shutterfly and Artkive. Shutterfly is the more affordable option. Depending on their size and number of pages, the books range from $15 to $185. They start at 20 pages with a maximum of 100 pages. Artkive is the more expensive option. Their books range from $75 to $300, depending on how much art you send. But, they professionally photograph the artwork, which is included in the price. Each book holds between 20 and 200 images of art. Below are pictures of my daughter’s book from last year.

3. Create an Art portfolio. You can do this just like you were putting together a scrapbook or photo album. First, collect, label and date your kids’ art. Next, create a design layout on each page. Then, fill the book and label once finished. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels offer a variety of sizes at affordable prices. My favorite brand is Itoya (pictured below).  

4. Display your child’s artwork. You have several options to accomplish this. First, you can create a simple rotating gallery using twine and clothespins. It makes it easy for kids to hang their art on their own. Second, you can create clipboards with old picture frames. Glue metal clips to the top center of each frame and attach to the wall. Third, you can have a collage made. This is a significantly bigger investment but it is a professional piece of art you can keep for many years. Designers like Jan Eleni Lemonedes will archive your child’s artwork and make a collage with smaller images of the art (see below). Prices start at $950 for the 40-image archival print. The standard sizes are 40, 70, or 112 image versions.

5. Store Art in a Large Container. This is not ideal, but many of our clients do not have the time to invest and just want a manageable storage system. Make sure you first collect, sort, and label the artwork. Each child should have his or her own container. I would recommend a weathertight bin that is large enough to accommodate oversized paintings and 3D pieces. My favorite is the Our Clear Storage Boxes from Container Store. (https://www.containerstore.com/s/our-clear-storage-boxes). I use these during the year as a temporary place for incoming art. Then, at the end of the year, I take some time to determine which items I can toss and which ones are archive-worthy. 

Bottom line. We understand organizing your kid’s artwork can be a challenge. The most important thing is to have a system in place. Hopefully, these recommendations gave you a good place to start!

-Emily

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