Storing Children’s Artwork

Storing Artwork by Sprouting Balance

The school year is coming to an end and students will be cleaning out their desks and coming home with piles of artwork and a diorama that was (thankfully) on display. Now what to do with it all?

My daughter is four so we haven’t started with the big school projects but we have plenty of ‘important’ artwork. This is what has worked for us:

1) A magnetic board in the playroom that showcases ‘key’ pieces;
2) A small desk that holds those ‘important’ pieces;
3) And then taking pictures and saving in a Google Drive.

This works for us for two reasons: we have limited space and we can share these masterpieces with our family abroad.

I am going to divide the solutions I have found into two categories: keeping paper versus electronically storing images. Since every family is different, our storage needs are different too. Also, our willingness to store and maintain paper is very different. Paper overwhelms me; I have even nicknamed it “Paper Mountain” so it is important for me to keep it at a minimum.

PHYSICALLY ORGANIZING OUR ROOTS:
When I was a child, I had a keepsake book that stored my certificates, report cards and extra special work. If it couldn’t fit in the book, then it couldn’t be kept! I think I will do something similar for my daughter so the certificates and ribbons have a place to go. If you have more than one child, you will have multiples of each option! There are other options for those that crave more:

  • A filing box with a folder for each year – use the same size box you store your tax documents and bank statements so they stack nicely
  • An art folio – thin enough to hide behind the couch!
  • Magazine holders
  • Binders for each year or school segment (i.e. K-3, 4-6, 7-9, & 10-12)
  • Show & Let Go – this is for the hardcore folk who can toss without regret. Display it nicely for everyone to enjoy and when the next piece is going up then the old one gets tossed.

Check out my ‘Organize … Lil Sprout‘ board on Pinterest to see some of these ideas being used by other creative families.

ELECTRONICALLY ORGANIZING OUR ROOTS:
The most important part of organizing electronically is to have a decent camera (iPhone counts) and trying to keep a consistent background. We take all of our photos on the kitchen floor. You might find that you like to attach it to an easel, have the child hold it, or even a bit of washi tape and the wall.

Once you have taken the pictures, now decide where to keep it whether your computer, a website, or an app. Here are a few examples:

We have been using Google Drive but in May 2015, Google launched Google Photos, which is a dedicated space to store photos and videos. I need to look into this more, but it looks like it will be a nicer interface. Flickr is a Yahoo! product similar to Google photos.

For those of you that still love to have something to hold, I suggest taking those snapshots of the artwork and projects and make a photo album through Shutterfly or Photobucket. Or, if you already like making photo albums, intersperse the artwork between other photos. It is another way to show how they have grown other than height!

Shutterfly and Photobucket have free and unlimited photo storage and the option to then turn the photos into an album, mug, or bag! We use Shutterfly for making albums, mugs (etc.) and I have been very happy with the products however, I do not use them for storage.

I worry that since they are selling a product, there is a great chance that their business could close and my photos would disappear with them. This is a slim chance, but I personally feel more comfortable with Google or Yahoo!. But of course there is always a risk when you choose online storage.

LEARNING TO SPROUT BALANCE:
Ultimately, you need to decide what works best for your family now and in the future. If you choose to keep a file box for each year of school, then you will be giving your child 14 boxes when they complete high school. Do you think they will want to store and keep that much from their childhood? So choose the best, be respectful, gain enjoyment from it, and learn what can be thrown out.

SPROUTING [P]INSPIRATION:
Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

In the comments, please share articles that you read this week that helped you SPROUT some BALANCE! And remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance

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