3 Mom Hacks for Storing Kids’ Artwork

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Brace yourselves, Mommas. The end of the school year is upon us. If you are like any other red blooded Momma in the world, your dining room table, refrigerator door, bedside table, junk drawer and — let’s be honest — trashcan are overflowing with your delightful progeny’s latest masterpieces. All year long, Junior has been skipping to your car in carpool line dishing out page after page of his teacher’s most recent Pinterest-inspired 30-minute art project (read: time filler ’til playground, y’all) and all these Pulitzer prize-worthy pieces of history have gotta find a place to land . . . or die.

So, don’t you worry. I’ve got you covered today. If you choose to continue reading this little post, you will walk away armed with #reallife hacks for sorting through your kids’ amazingness to discover the “art” pieces worth keeping and tips for storing said pieces until you can sip adult beverages and rummage through them as you take a monumental stroll down memory lane with your then-grown-adult-kid. (Cue all the tears . . .)

1) First things first: Do a supermarket clean sweep on ALL. THE. THINGS. 

PRO TIP: BE SELECTIVE. Y’all, I am going to confess to you right now that just last weekend I unearthed a piece of blank computer paper at the bottom of my kid’s “Keepsakes” box with the following description: “B accidentally pushed the ‘print’ button on my computer and this page came out. Baby’s first printed page!!

Facepalm . . .

Really, people? How am I going to sit with any dignity and show that to my kid one day? She is going to call the insane asylum the second this object is unearthed.

Jesus be a paper recycling machine.

If you are itchin’ to avoid the asylum like me, I’ve got some thoughts. With regards to school artwork, here are some handy dandy guidelines for selectivity:

  • Is there a handprint / footprint? Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR Proceed to next questions . . .
  • Is there any of your child’s handwriting? Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions . . .
  • Is there any identifying info about your child (i.e. the teacher has answered questions on your child’s behalf after asking them the questions; developmental info like hair color, eye color, height, weight; graded project, etc.? Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions . . .
  • Is it a coloring page that does not go with anything else and appears to be ripped out of a standard coloring book or a free teacher printable? If the coloring is extra spectacular (we’re talking your kid should win some kind of over-achieving coloring award and be offered an honorary position at a prestigious art school) = Maybe save. If not = Did it really even happen . . . ?!?!?!  

Hopefully, you are able to begin answering more “Nos” and toss a whole lot of things. If not, I’ve got you covered on some organizational / storage ideas.

2) Download an art storage app and PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999!

Did you know that there is a whole universe of apps out there that are designed to do away with all of our Momma-art-saving-sanity-losing-drama?!? Beautiful minds all over the world have come together and designated little online wonders where we can upload photographs of our child’s artwork, the app collages it into a stunning coffee table book, mails it to us, and we look like Martha Stewart on some kind of millennial-moms-rule-the-world-takeover-tour. 

Question # 1: Who doesn’t want a coffee table book to brag about kindly and discretely display for all to “ooh” and “ahh” over? 

Question # 2: Who isn’t interested in discovering a way to avoid joining the television show Hoarders . . . like I’m destined to do in my current state?

All you have to do is upload photos of your child(ren)’s art projects into the app and it takes it from there.

Each one of these apps has different capabilities and products. Plus, they have different price ranges as well. So, check each of them out and find the best fit for your needs:

As a quick bonus, here are some photo organizing / storing solutions:

  • Google Photos – upload your photos to this app and then you can delete off your phone to make room for more memories!
  • Shutterfly App – Upload directly to Shutterfly to order prints, photo books, gifts, and more!
  • Sandisk Smart Phone Disk Drive – This is so genius, I am thankful one finally exists! Sync your phone and computer = voila! Photos are ready to organize / store / print!
  • PRO TIP: If you already have a Chatbooks account, consider uploading the artwork photos to a private Instagram account devoted just to your kids’ artwork and then design a custom Chatbook. EASY PEASY, PEOPLE!!!

3) If after steps #1 and #2 you are dead-set on storing a bunch of pieces, unleash your inner organizer and make ‘yo Momma proud, girl . . .

I’m gonna be real with you: Because of my OCD (that rears its ugly head with regard to kid art), I feel this weird compulsion to still keep and therefore am forced to store, a TON of my kids’ art. If you are like me, #solidarity, girl. That’s all I’ve got to say.

But, what do we do about it?!?

Two Thoughts:

(1) Store It: I take a second at the end of each week to organize it into a file folder labeled with the school year and place it in a long, clear Tupperware box that I plan to gift to my girls whenever they let me know they want it. This way, I don’t have to hear the whining when Kid A realizes her first novel (that was really just scribble scrabble on a torn up piece of notebook paper) ended up in the dump.

Or

(2) Display It: Consider creating a fun art wall where you display your kids’ most recent creations. I see a lot of people do this in their breakfast nook areas, in the playroom, or in a family room. Then, rotate the pieces out depending on season, age, stage, etc. This way, you at least feel like all the piles of artwork are serving a fun and beautiful purpose in your home!

Onward and upward, Friends!

Decluttering this week begins with KID ART! You can do this!! I believe in you. 😉

Was this helpful at all? Do you feel empowered to tackle your mountains of kid art?!? Let me know, Friend!

Until next time, I hope you know just how awesome you are and how much you are rockin’ out at this role called “Mom”!

* For more great tips on organizing all the school stuff, please check out a post that our contributor Carrie wrote HERE!

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Erin is a proud Bama girl, writer, speaker, lawyer, friend, lunchbox packer, boo-boo kisser, sweatpants wearing Momma to her two precious girls: Bellalise (5) – a sweet, gentle-natured soul, and Annalise (4, going on 14) – the life of every party. She met her husband Marshall during law school and drug that Cajun boy back to the Heart of Dixie, a place he now proudly calls home as well. They live in Birmingham where their dining room is currently being used for laundry overflow. Outside of writing, Erin’s hobbies include scrapbooking, tennis, online shopping (don’t tell Marshall), crafting, cooking with her girls and a clean fridge – an outright miracle worth celebrating these days. She is the author of the must-have read for Moms: Cheers to the Diaper Years: 10 Truths for Thriving While Barely Surviving, and the soon to be Girls-Night sensation: The Remarkable Housewives of the Bible series! When she isn’t attending toddler tea parties or wiping up spaghetti stains, you can find Erin writing on her blog: ErinBrownHollis.com and on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter @erinbrownhollis. She welcomes all moms to find a community of love and acceptance on her site where she shares recipes, crafts and encouragement weekly.