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?