Storing Kids’ Artwork

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Do you know what is going on at my elementary school these last few days before summer vacation? Absolutely nothing. No homework is coming home. No tests are being taken. Certainly no learning is going on. I swear those teachers are just throwing parties and the kids are just watching movies while they collect up every last paper – drafts, notes, reports, worksheets, and quizzes – so they can send it all home to me in a paper bag.

Do you know what happens to that paper bag filled with a year’s worth of school papers? Absolutely nothing. It sits in my kitchen, or dining room, or office, or living room – depending on where we need to clear space. Sometimes that paper bag sits untouched all the way until the following school year begins! I am that much of a slacker.

I tell myself I am going to go through all of the papers and admire my child’s progress, but I don’t. Once, the paper bag was sitting in the basement when the washer overflowed and it got wet. Oh, too bad. I had to throw it all away. Didn’t even get to look at one thing. And – whoo-woo! – nothing bad has ever happened from this kind of slacking. So far.

The things that actually mean something to me are my childrens’ artwork. I love whatever they do – I am an over-praiser in this area. It may be giving them the wrong impression of their actual artistic ability when I gush and “ooooo” over their work, but I don’t care. Let someone else tell them they can’t draw. Isn’t that the school’s job?

Some artwork I just have to keep out because I love it so much (and it is nearly impossible to store), like the wire face in the picture above. I always have lots of kids’ artwork up all over the house, framed and unframed. I even tape it to my walls, with painter’s tape!

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I clearly have a children’s artwork problem. I can’t stop. When I finally ran out of wall space, I had to find a way to store their artwork which would be easy for me to access (because lord knows I will NOT put it away if it isn’t easy!) and which would keep the papers from getting bent and ripped.

Here is my solution for storing some of the most troublesome items I have encountered – kids’ over-sized artwork. I found this portfolio for artwork on Amazon.com. It costs for $35.99 for one portfolio or you can get 5 portfolio’s for $192.27. They are absolutely worth every penny.

Safeco 3008TS

These portfolios have an internal frame made of wood, so you can stack them or store them sideways. I have a portfolio for each child and I just slide their work in – easy as pie.

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Stock up now so you will have a place to put the important works of art that are headed your way on the last day of school. Once you have taken care of the important things, you can rest easy knowing that the bag of school papers will take care of itself. Or not. That is the plenty perfect way. Maybe you will be lucky enough to have your washer overflow and save you from the guilt of not paying attention to it!

How do you deal with the onslaught of papers that come home from school at the end of the year?

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16 Comments

  1. Sylvia Reply

    I try to go through the paperwork (homework, assignments, tests, etc.) with my child. She enjoys talking about all her hard work during the year. As for the artwork, I too cannot throw away her masterpieces, I have a special way of preserving these creations. I take photos of each piece and then scan them into my favorite photo site and have them printed on canvas. I will put 6 to even 10 pieces of artwork on one canvas. I always have the words, ” By Isabella” on each canvas. I have several canvases hanging on different walls throughout the house. What will I do when I am inundated with canvases? I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I suspect I will give them way as gifts to family members, we’ll see.

    • annie kip Reply

      That is a lovely idea! You could even roll up the canvases to store away. Thanks!

  2. Donna in Phoenx Reply

    I have 8 children and that adds up to a lot of artwork! I feel terribly guilty just throwing it out, so I take a picture of it first and keep that. That way I don’t feel like I’m “getting rid of it”. I have a “memory box” for each child where I keep some select things like school awards, birthday cards, or maybe a favorite stuffed animal. I keep some artwork they did for holidays like Christmas and hang it up on the wall on Christmas Day when they come over. I love going through these boxes and reminiscing. Someday, I will give each one their memory box to share their childhood memories with their children.

    • annie kip Reply

      Great idea! Thanks for sharing that!!!

  3. Heather O’Neil Reply

    Hi Annie! I came upon this even before I realized that it was your site. Great ideas for dealing with the piles of artwork. Did you read the survey about parents feeling guilty about throwing their kids’ drawings away? Here are some more ideas for storing, displaying and making keepsakes from kids’ art. http://www.happydoodles.com/blogs/news/6041344-63-of-parents-feel-guilty-about-ditching-kids-artwork

    http://www.happydoodles.com

    • annie kip Reply

      Wow – I am curious to know how you found me accidentally – didn’t know I would show up on a search engine yet! Thanks for the links – I know I have a LOT of guilt throwing away any artwork, but not the endless papers they bring home. Do you have a good system?

      • Heather O’Neil Reply

        My system so far is having one huge file box for each kid, and lots of optimism that some day I’ll go through it all! I have recently framed one great thing from each kid, and did some Happy Doodles with a few things from when they were small. Re: how I found you – for Happy Doodles I have a bunch of google alerts set up for various keywords and the name of my business. You showed up on one of them, which means the web crawlers are paying attention to your updates :) Then if there is something relevant on another blog, I’ll post my link and I get traffic from that. This is the sort of thing we should put our heads together about, because between the two of us, we probably have a lot of good ideas that would help us both. But for now, it’s off to the beach!

        http://www.happydoodles.com

        • annie kip Reply

          That system sounds great!!! I will check out your website! glad you are up and running. Let’s make a date!

        • annie kip Reply

          Heather – your pillows are amazing!!! I would love to post about you and them…that is a great way to deal with kids’ artwork! We need to get together!

          • Heather O’Neil

            Sounds great to me, Annie! I’m away for the summer but still Happy Doodling. Would love to talk on the phone – I’ll email my cell number to you.

            http://www.happydoodles.com

  4. Sara Tetreault Reply

    This is so organized, Annie! I love it.

    http://gogingham.com

    • annie kip Reply

      At least one little area of my life is in order!

  5. Deb White Reply

    Oooooooooooh, I likey very much!!!

    • annie kip Reply

      I am glad you like the idea, Deb! I just love having an organizing solution ready and waiting. I know your boys must bring hom a lot of “stuff” at the end of the school year – how do you manage it?

  6. Ingrid Reply

    Great post Annie! I love the opening about the roving paper bag!
    I appreciate your posts if process pictures and even just
    Your own photos of pictures you take. It is a window
    Into your thoughts.

    http://Www.ingridgoldbloombloch.com

    • annie kip Reply

      Thanks, Ingrid! You know that my actual life provides me with the best material. You just can’t make this stuff up! Good, bad and ugly – its all here on display for you!

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