Anyone who has ever worked with me, been to my house or lived with me can attest to the fact that I am an organized person. Some people thought that would change when I had kids, but I think I became even more organized! Thankfully, having an organized mind is really helpful when you are the memory keeper of the family.
One of my organizational goals since having kids was to try to keep their hundreds of pages of artwork under control. This is a tricky thing to keep up with, especially since they started school, but over the last five years I have finally developed a system that works for me. I get asked by a lot of moms what I do with all the kids’ artwork, so I thought I would share it here.
The first step I take is to determine if the art is even worth keeping. If I wouldn’t put it on my fridge, then it goes straight to the recycling bin! This usually applies to scribbles on random pieces of paper and colouring book pages. If it survives the first cut, then the art will remain on the fridge for 1-3 weeks depending on how often the kids are creating masterpieces and how much room is left on the fridge.
Usually I try to keep the art to the side of the fridge, but sometimes Casey insists that his MUST be on the front! Here is a current picture of our fridge:
Once the fridge gets too crowded the art all comes down and is put in a pile on the shelf by the scanner. At the end of each month I scan the pile of artwork and organize them on the computer with a file for each kid. Here is a glance at how I organize the files and name each scan:
After the art is scanned, the pages are stored in a container in the craft area. Each kid has their own container so if they need to find something it is a bit easier.
I go through these bins every six months or so and then purge some more. After the art has been out of sight for a few months, it is much easier to go through and find the real treasures that you want to keep forever.
This was Casey’s pile of artwork for the last seven months:
And this is what remained after I went through it:
I kept some of his cute drawings, his first spelling test that he practiced for, and some assignments from school to show what he was learning about in Grade 1. The rest of it was recycled.
Robyn’s pile was just as big and filled with playschool artwork:
(As a side note, it is much easier to do this when the kids are not around. Robyn had a hard to time letting me recycle her work and it took three times as long to go through it.)
I kept some of her playschool crafts and colourings, her people drawings, and a few pieces that show the progression of her learning to write her name.
The artwork that remains gets filed away in the office to be kept forever. Once again, the kids have their own folders for each year of playschool and elementary school.
That is it! The artwork is now organized or recycled!
I know this method has a lot of steps to it, but that is what works for me. It may not work for everyone, but feel free to use it as a starting point for your own way of organizing all that amazing artwork.
Now you may be wondering what I do with all the art work I scanned…
…check back next month when Part 2 of Kids Artwork will be revealed!