Thursday, March 26, 2015

How to Organize...Children's Art Projects

With each major life event, you tend to find yourself with more and more things to store.  Moving in with someone, owning your first house, all the gifts from your wedding, when a parent passes away, owning a pet and especially children.  Like gift wrapping, kid's toys would be so much easier to deal with if they were all books.  Books are easy to organize.  But I swear each one of my kids' toys is more awkward, large and pointy than the previous.

I had no idea what I was in for when my daughter started bringing home art projects from daycare.  When she was little, the teachers would hold her hands or feet and make a lot of projects that were mostly the teacher's handiwork.  And still, we cherished these projects.  We framed them, hung them on the fridge and even shipped them off to various family members as keepsakes.  Now we get 1-2 projects a day.  I don't know how to cherish that many projects except to use them as wallpaper. (Note to self, get a patent on art project wallpaper).  Even with my pack rat tendencies, I know that we need to let some of the projects go in order to organize everything, but how?

This project's inspiration came from work.  I work in advertising and I keep binders that recap all the different advertising creative that was executed throughout the year.  I'm only using a simple binder with sheet protectors but it creates a nice clean look that won't get easily damaged over the coming years.  When I realized that most of the art projects consist of 8.5" x 11 paper, it made perfect sense to use this same organization method for our leaning tower of art projects.  Here are a couple tips for organizing and storing your children's artwork:
  • Each child and each year of daycare/school gets a separate binder.  It is fun to be able to see how the artwork progresses each year. 
  • The size of the binder depends on how much artwork is coming in and how much you want to keep but I use 2" binders.
  • Sheet protectors are not an absolute must but they keep the projects from getting destroyed when you flip through the book.  You can get 100 for under $10 on Amazon.
  • If the project doesn't fit, try trimming or folding the edges
  • If/when your child is old enough, let them help you decide which projects to keep and which to toss.  It helped me feel better knowing my daughter picked her favorites.
  • We have 8 x 10" pictures of our daughters from school hanging in the house but when we switch out the new pictures each year, I place the old 8 x 10" pictures in the front of that year's binder as a cover image.  It is nice to have a visual of how old each kid was when they did the art projects. 
  • Pull out any holiday themed projects to use for decorations during the holiday.  Each holiday gets grouped together and put in a labeled folder in our filing cabinets for easy access.
  • If you are looking for creative ways to showcase your children's artwork, check out this article on
Creativity runs is in my blood.  My mom and dad both were amazing photographers and painters.  My sister is an incredible actor, comedian and singer.  And I'm fantastic at color coordinating squares on graph paper.  Since the arts are so important to our family I don't mind that we will eventually have enough art project binders to fill a bookcase.  I'm sure at some point we can scale down even more but for now, one binder per year works for our crafty chaos.

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