Organizing children’s artwork

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

With the end of the school year comes an influx of papers…papers that have been stored or hanging since the leaves were red and gold many months ago. Anything and everything that your child has drawn, cut or colored is in now in a pile staring at you, each cuter than the last.

While a 13-gallon plastic tub may seem like the perfect place to keep every ladybug, self portrait or turkey made with their tiny little fingers, you probably realize that with multiple children and 12 years of school you will need an entire garage to store the artwork you just can’t seem to let go.

As hard as it might seem, there is a method to preserving your favorites and theirs.

At the beginning of each school year, designate a plastic bin for each child to keep every piece of artwork that comes home. With the younger years, it’s best to keep it all until the school year ends.

At the end of the school year, open up that box and make the decision on what to keep, toss or put into another medium.

A hard and fast rule: Anything with food (such as Cheerio eyes or pasta jewelry) — out it goes. It won’t be so cute when the bugs come to visit.

Another criteria may be anything with natural materials such as nuts, leaves or twigs. These pieces do not seem to stand the test of time.

Extra large pieces also do not store well, so take that into consideration.

Look at pieces that will hold a memory — their hand drawings, their first number book, pictures where they have written their thoughts (“I love my mommy because …”). These definitely go in the “keep” pile!

Distinguish between pictures they drew themselves versus a color-in-the-lines. Keep the one-of-a-kind masterpiece and let loose of the photocopied Santa Claus.

Further reduce the amount by picking your favorites and letting the child pick his or hers. Remember, what might hold a special memory for you may mean nothing special to them.

Contact Lisa Phillips at or call All Spaced Out 621-7717. All Spaced Out is a closet design firm that specializes in home and office organizing.