Artwork Overload! That’s the only way to describe every Friday when preschool purges their displayed artwork into my children’s cubbies.
I have 3 children in preschool. Which means I have “art” on the kitchen counter, in a filing cabinet, on the wall, at work, in the van. Macaroni art, handprint art, scribbles on tiny pieces of paper that my son swears are dinosaurs. I have art made with colored marshmallow fluff and some with shaving cream. I don’t want to sound as though I dislike this problem. I am not a crafty mom, so having my children be able to explore art at preschool is a pretty great problem to have. I am just so overwhelmed with artwork! I have tried to purge the artwork before and have been caught. You haven’t felt guilt until you have broken the heart of a 4 year old who drew that scribble just for you!
One of my New Year Goals is to get a handle on the art. (I don’t do resolutions. I’m too rebellious for that. But my fellow WMAG contributors do and you can find that post here.) In addition to not being crafty, I’m also not very organized. I know some parents are better about sorting and handling art as it comes in. I’m not. When I get home from picking up the kids I’m trying to get dinner going so I often forget to even take the art out of the car and if I do, it just lands on the kitchen counter until I throw it in the un-filing cabinet.
I can’t be alone, right? Of course not. I asked my fellow WMAG Contributors and at least Susan is on my side. Check out her closet worth of 7 years of artwork for 2 children. Even for those of you with 1 kid I’m sure it’s overwhelming to organize it all. And the thought of tossing it is guilt inducing. So I did a little personal research and found some resources and ideas I thought I would share.
There are a myriad of companies out there offering children’s artwork storage solutions for just this problem! See, I knew I wasn’t alone! Some are pretty pricey and some are quite affordable – it depends on how much leg work you want to do on your own. Here’s a quick run-down of two that I thought looked interesting and had a variety of price points.
Plum Print – This is one of the first companies that popped up during my research. If you look on their pages you can see they run on the upper end of pricing but they do it all. All you have to do is mail your art in and wait for your book to arrive. If you have multiple children, like me, it could get pretty pricey. Especially if you are going to do a whole years worth of art. Price aside, it appears that this is a high quality product. They offer suggestions on which artwork you should choose and what will travel well. If I had the money to send all 3 of the kids work, I definitely would.
ArtKive – This was suggested to me by a fellow contributor. ArtKive is an app available in the Apple App Store or on Google play. You take pictures of your children’s art, can store it and order a coffee table book. Comparatively, the price is much more affordable than Plum Print. But you have to be able to take a good picture of the art. I’m not a great photographer but considering the price is fairly reasonable, I’m thinking about giving this one a shot.
You can do the same thing the companies above are doing by yourself if you have the time and are good at both photography and layout work. I’m creative, but not in a crafty or traditional art way. In the past I have scanned in artwork and tried printing photo books like that. You lose some of the 3D quality of the art by doing it this way and macaroni doesn’t scan well.
But what if you want to actually keep the artwork originals after display?
There’s the filing cabinet method that unfortunately isn’t working for me. Turns out the cabinet doesn’t do the filing for you. There’s also the archive box per grade/year, per child. You have to have a place to store it, but this might lend to be a pretty good solution for me. Sounds like it wouldn’t be too much work, which I’m definitely all about.
I want to hear from you! What do you use for artwork storage? Are you an art hoarder like me, or do you purge it as it comes in?
12 thoughts on “Artwork Overload – Children’s Artwork Storage Solutions”
I feel so exposed. Now the whole world can peek into my terrible hall closet, jammed with lovely pictures and paintings and scribbles. I must organize it! I will! And then I will post the “after” pictures for all to see 🙂
Great post. I need to hire a professional organizer to handle all my crap!
I started with the “bin” method that I read about when I was on maternity leave. Each kid has a bin and I just dump the stuff in. I have started pitching some of it. I mean montessori kids come home with envelopes of torn paper (“mom, it’s a tearing work.”). I do not keep that. My older one will start kindergarten in the fall, so I think I will get a new bin. My “choice” artwork/elementary schoolwork from my childhood is in a scrapbook so I think I may get one of those, but probably the slide in kind. Perhaps when she is a little older she can pick what she wants to keep. That’s what my mom did. It was fun to go back through my preschool artwork when I was 8 or 9.
And Susan, I am with you on the professional organizer. Some things I keep under control, but others are completely a mess. I also want one of the tv shows to come and help me figure out what should be in what room and how to neatly store the toys “out of sight” but accessible like they seem to do on all those shows!!!
It’s incredible how much paper my 8 and 4 yr old bring home every day. It usually ends up in my car, on the table, on counter, everywhere. I go through them about once a week and throw away about 90% of it. I only keep the drawings, stories and things with a personal touch. No workbook pages or tests. Yes, I’m proud of the A+ spelling test she took, but am I going to want to look at in 20 yrs? I have a drawer i put all the selected pieces in, and at the end of the school year, I box it up and label with the school year.
I’ve also taken my favorites for the year, scanned them, and made a calendar on Vistaprint. Great way to display the work without cluttering your fridge.
My daughter is only 17 months and I’ve started throwing some of her scribble art away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to keep a piece here and there, but I don’t have the space or energy to sort through a roomful of art years from now. I’m like the anti-hoarder..I throw anything I can away!
I’m anti-hoarder on almost everything else but I’ve been caught a few times by my very sensitive 4 year old and now I’m so careful. I smuggle crappy artwork out. Plus, I’m so afraid I’m going to miss something. But I am going to get better… I am, I am… maybe.
I laughed so hard when I read, “The macaroni doesn’t scan well!” I can so relate to this art overload invasion of your home. I have never purged my collection and I actually have a storage unit that houses a good part of it. Out of sight and out of mind…right? LOL. I have three kids (8,12, and 21). I have a HUGE plastic bin full of my 21 years olds art work. I was just thinking it is time for her to come and get it or maybe I will wrap it and give it to her when she gets married one day!! I guess it is a Mom thing, but I just can’t bring myself to throw away anything my children create!
Great article! So many parents struggle with the guilt of throwing their little artist’s masterpieces away. For a super easy way to save all of the kids’ art, without the clutter, take a look at Keepy. It’s a family friendly app for organizing your children’s creations and privately sharing them all with grandma and grandpa. http://keepy.me
Thanks, Dee. And thanks for sharing the tip about Keepy. Looks like a cool app!
I’ve started using Children’s Art Galleries to store my kids artwork, i don’t feel guilty when i ‘recycle’ them afterwards ! 😀
Fantastic pin! Which house owns a scanner these days? And not to mention the TIME and EFFORT required to scan every single piece of artwork… Multiply each growing pile of artwork with the number of kids you have… If parents are keen to immortalize the artwork in some form, do check us out at http://www.bebeartiste.com. All you need to do is to take a snapshot of your kid’s artwork with your mobile phone and we will literally do the rest! We will render these images into beautiful, high resolution print- ready designs to be printed on leggings, shoes, bags, bikinis, scarves and more! Our mission is to transform your children’s art into gifts for the whole family – share the love and story behind the artwork with everyone!
Bèbè Artiste | Transform Your Kid’s Art Into Gifts Today.
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I’m a professional photo organizer (yes, we are out there, find one near you at appo.org’s online directory).
I have an artist portfolio where I store the finished works. But first, before they go in there, I have a routine for taking pictures with my iPhone. You can do this each night, or on the weekend, or once a month if that’s when you have time. Make sure to get some pics with your child holding their artwork, and maybe some video of them explaining what the art is about, how they made it, and why they like it so much. Those kinds of stories will be the most meaningful in years to come.
I also have a couple of display stations (lots of options from magnetic boards to clip lines, etc) around the house, and my child helps me decide what to display in their gallery). Only so much space (even less if you’re displaying 3 kids’ worth of art) so they have to make choices.
Every year or two, I have my child help me go through their portfolio. Some stuff is crumpled, a lot has lost its appeal, and they’re fine with recycling. (Do not store food product art if pests are an issue for you)
I make art books for each batch of school (pre-school years got one book, elementary school got another).
Hire a photo organizer to come in and photograph or scan your artwork and even create your books.