I have two preschoolers who bring home lots of artwork and make their own creations at home. While their projects are my favorite, we've accumulated boxes of their paperwork that we don't look at or use.
One afternoon, I spent a few hours photographing everything they did, downloading the photos to our computer, and uploading them to an online photo service to share with the grandparents. Next, I filed a few of my favorites in two cardboard magazine boxes, one for each child, and put the rest in the recycle bin.
I don't want to be a wet blanket, but you are likely still saving too much. Your kids are going to produce a ton of artwork over their school careers. I would display it at the time, save anything that is really special -- photograph one or two more, but don't have more than 5 or 6 things for a year -- and pitch the rest. I know you might find these things hard to part with now, but imagine how many photos you are going to have stored up by the time the kids are 18!! Who is going to look at it all!! Send some photos to Grandma, and delete the rest.
I think that's a great idea! It doesn't take up nearly as much space as it would actually having to find a place to store it all; but be sure to back up a copy of everything on cd, just in case your computer crashes. And, if you have an attic or basement, you can even keep the originals stored in boxes. (plastic, with secure lids). You gotta love the pre-school drawings. :)
I think it's a pretty good idea to take pictures of some of the artwork. I know as a mom of 3 you feel guilty throwing stuff away. But my oldest is 11 and stuff sure does pile up! At the end of every week I sort through the papers now. I am going to buy a binder for each child and some page protectors for the ones I just can't part with. Another idea is to give/ mail some of the precious artwork to family. Let them also display the master pieces! Sometimes what my mom does is use the artwork as backrounds for her scrapbooking pages!
I scan artwork that will fit on my scanner and take pictures of the rest. Then I save on a disc, no paper! I do use some for cards and for the grannies! No room to keep it all, just took a few years to figure that out.
This is a really great idea;can create a photograph collage from this, & yes saves on all that storage space as well. Thanks for this tip as I have a hoard of very creative children just like mum. :)
What I do with my children and I have a hoard all creative like Mum,I purchase those "Clipit" folders,where U can add plastic pages;then I help show my children how to create a kinda story folder with their art works,writing schoolwork,tell stories about what the meaning is. For larger Artworks;I Purchase large yet cheap Cardboard,needs to be rather strong,I then show them even the littlest one how to make a "Collage" of their works,or one peice of work,with their meaning.then I store these each in homade folio/s,not only I can show them off in an organised way,my children can choose which ones they wish to proudly show off,those that R older,I simply keep storred away in one of those large "under-bed" storage box 4 each child.Out of the way yet still accessible when your child/ren decide one of them is important to re-show or show.
Why not just get art (mailing) tubes and label it for each year?
Since most of my girls art from their younger years is on A3 or A4 paper, I use them to cover their books for school. If you have a close kindy/day care or even nursing home/aged care facility you could use any unused books from previous years and cover them with the artwork and donate them to these places for littlies and biggies to use. Your kids will get a sense of recycling and their art will be appreciated by other people and children.
To begin with, you should establish a place of honor for the artwork. This might be a special spot on the refrigerator, a pegboard in your hallway, or a central point on the wall over your desk.
Now you can begin the rotation. Every week, change the piece of art that goes there. You can choose it as a surprise to your child (make it an event and have a judging session) or you can let your child choose. This way, a piece of their art gets displayed but it's constantly changing so they can get the feeling that their work is being appreciated.
You might also want to consider getting some of the most colorful pieces framed. That doesn't mean that you should go out and spend a fortune on a matte and professional framer, but an inexpensive picture frame and construction paper matte can make a child's painting or drawing pop out and give your wall an almost primitive art look. You can even buy a frame that has two slots for pictures in it and place your child's artwork on one side and their picture on the other.
For those pieces that you have left over, there are several ways to handle this:
One of the easiest ways is to invest in a scrapbook (or 10)! You don't have to be a scrapbooking fanatic to do this. A simple scrapbook, scissors, and glue or rubber cement will suffice. Place the picture in the scrapbook to keep them orderly. Cut them down to size so that they will fit if you can. If you want to get creative then cut out the drawings and don't use the entire sheet of paper that they have drawn on. You'll probably find that little ones don't always fill a page.
You can also invest in some craft boxes and fill the boxes with the drawings, but unlike scrapbooks these tend to get lost over time or else end up in the attic or basement, never to be seen again.
Click here to ask an organizing question.
Another great way to keep your children's artwork is to scan it. I'm working on scanning all of the artwork of my 4 kids. Any artwork too large for the scanner is photographed close up. Some of their work will be kept after scanning but most will be recycled. When I'm finished, I'll simply upload to a printing company (ie. Vistaprint) and make each child their own hard bound book similar to a coffee-table book. Of course I'll make copies for me as well. :)
(Ps. They also make great art books for grandparents!
I cannot keep everything there is no way I could store it all and it is all too good not to keep so I ask my daughter to hold her project or picture and take a photo of her with it. After that, I don't need to keep the art since it's preserved with her in a 4x6 photo. I have no guilt about tossing things when I have photos of her with it and the fridge looks much cleaner.
A lot of the great artwork my kids bring home is on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. This makes it easy to store and protect them. I bought a 3-ring binder and a package of page protectors.