JB Organizing Spotlight Tips:
Kids’ Artwork and School Papers
What do you do with all of the wonderful artwork and projects your kids bring home or create at home?
How do we keep all that paper under control and still enjoy the gifts from our kids?
Keep a couple things in mind:
- The younger the kids the more artwork and school papers they bring home, and the more they create at home.
- Time flies and they won’t create that volume forever, so enjoy it.
- It’s not “mean” to not keep all their papers and projects.
- Time gives perspective and the further from the date of creation, the more clearly one can see what to keep.
- The “Containment” Principle of Organizing is key for artwork and school papers
- Give the kids some responsibility for switching out their artwork
JB Organizing’s Containment Principle of Organizing: Contain like item(s) to a certain size container or holder, and when the container is full one must declutter it or not add anything further.
The Containment Principle is vital in all organizing, and is especially helpful when it comes to the precious creations of our children. If we do not contain their treasures to one bin, we will quickly be overtaken by them and have so many that their value will be diminished and we will be unable to enjoy them.
Time gives perspective
If you cannot easily get rid of artwork or school papers as you go, then put them in a bin, basket, drawer, or file as they come in. Then put it on your schedule to go through the collection at the end of each quarter or grading period. When you go through the bin, keep a couple representative pieces and give away, throw away, or recycle the rest.
Designate a certain space for artwork and school paper display. It is very important to be proud of our children’s work and displaying it is part of illustrating that pride. It is equally important, however, to teach our children to “contain” things and that we don’t need to keep everything all the time.
Here are some ways display the artwork and school papers proudly in our homes:
- Give each child their own cork board to display their artwork. Having their own space to display does several things: highlights their work, promotes independence, responsibility and teaches them the principle of containment. You can both pick your favorites to put up. When there is no space left, you pick 1 or 2 favorites to keep and then have your child switch the old out to make room for the new. (Containment)
- For homes with numerous kids or a smaller space, have a frame hung up for each child and simply tape the artwork to the frame and switch it out each week. Putting the others in a bin or basket to go through quarterly. You can also buy frames that swing open like a door to allow for easy switching of artwork.
- Put a string from corner to corner near the ceiling of a room and clothespin the artwork to the string. (The string can be hung in a playroom, basement or even in the child’s room). You can give each child a length of string to display their work. Once again have them switch things out when it is filled (containment) and you keep 1-2 of your favorites.
- Hang a string on a wall by a staircase.
- Use magnet boards. Give each child their own chalk or whiteboard to hang things on. This display option allows you to write messages of encouragement to that child on their board, letting them know you notice their work and like it.
- Use the artwork throughout the house to decorate for the current season, and change it out as the seasons change and new artwork for that season is created. Kid’s projects tend to reflect the season/holiday we are in, making it easy to use it to decorate, and easy to remember to change it.
- Put the artwork into a binder (using three hole punch or page protector or sleeves) and set it out on the coffee table for all to see and peruse.
What do I do with all the artwork and papers that I don’t display or those that I take down after displaying?
- Put them in a basket, bin, or drawer and go through them each quarter and keep a couple representative projects. Time gives perspective.
- Put the ones that you choose to keep in a binder or directly into the child’s Memory Box (One Memory box per child – about the size of a 60qt rubbermaid bin)
- Take pictures of the projects and papers and keep the electronic copy instead.
- Make a digital flipbook of the pictures via Snapfish, Shutterfly etc.
- Mail pictures/papers to Grandma or Grandpa – they can never have too many and time has already given them a different perspective.
- Take some to work – give some to your spouse to take to work.
- Use them for wrapping paper.
- Use artwork as cards for people.
- Bring artwork to a Nursing home and give one to each resident to hang in their room.
Our children’s creations are awesome, amazing and priceless; but we do not need to keep 40 math sheets from 1st grade, or 20 sheets of the letter “A” from kindergarten, or even every coloring page they did when they were in preschool. If you make it your goal to keep a couple representative projects from each quarter and ultimately to give them ONE memory box of treasures when they leave, then you will be giving them ONE box of amazing gifts that they will be able to enjoy, instead of many boxes of clutter that they will never look through.
Enjoy their works. Enjoy these years of creating treasures. Time flies!