Organising and storing children's artwork

It's been an extremely busy month at our house as my husband has started a new job, my son is settling into 3 year-old kinder, and we are all trying to get used to the new routine. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to post some tips for making the mornings run more smoothly. I am quickly learning that you can never be too organised in this area! However, today's focus is on organising all the artwork that my son is producing at a rapid rate. Here's the system I came up with...

As I knew would happen when my son started kinder, the amount of artwork coming home - paintings, drawings and collages - has really increased. I do love these little creative surprises in the bag each day! Here's a great piece of advice I read a few years ago that really stuck with me - instead of asking your child 'what is it?' when they show you a picture, you can say 'tell me about your picture' so they're not offended if you do have no idea what their drawing actually is! Like this little beauty... I'm not sure I would ever have guessed it was a snail with 1000 eyes!

I shared a while back the artwork display board we have in my son's room, which is still working great for swapping out new pieces with old. But what to do with those old pieces? If they're really special, you may like to hang onto them. I started a folder storage system a few years ago, and it is working really well so far.

Want to learn strategies for creating archive systems
for your significant and personal papers and memories
? Discover the steps in part 5 of my online program 'Making Your Paper Work'. Find out more >>

I picked up these ColourHide display books from Officeworks a while back. I chose this particular kind because I liked the blank page at the front to insert a photo. I started my son's book when he was 2 years old, and it is now nearly full, and my daughter's when she was 16 months (but until she stops eating the paint, crafting time is limited!).

When a piece of artwork is created (or brought home from kinder), I make sure that we show it off to Daddy when he comes home from work, so the kids are really feeling the love. Then, if it is a special piece, we put it on the display board in the bedroom (see how to cover a cork board here, which is another fantastic display option).

When it is time to swap out an old piece with a new one, the older piece gets popped inside a plastic sleeve in the display book. I have to admit that I am pretty selective about which pieces go in here. The not-so-special ones do go in the recycle bin. But you can't hold onto everything, right?! As the kids get older, I want them to be the ones that choose their 'best' pieces, but for now it's harsh mama!

These are some of my daughter's artworks from when she was 16 months... her first painting and first scribbles.


And some of my son's when he was 2. Such beautiful memories to look back on. #sob

I quickly record, either in the front corner or on the back, how old they were when the piece was completed, and the date.

I make sure that I'm selective about which pieces go in the display book, as I don't want to be storing 100s of these folders down the track. For now they are stored in our home office, but I'm thinking it might be more meaningful in their room, so they can flip through it and look back on what they've created.

Another great idea I've read about is to take a photo of each piece and make a photo-book or a framed piece, like the one below. This is still an option I may go with, but for now the display folder is working perfectly.

A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words

If you've got young children, how do you store and organise their artwork? Are you ruthless with getting rid of old pieces or do you like to hold onto everything? It's a tricky one!

Want to learn how to make your family life run more smoothly through routines, productive habits and goal-setting? Discover the steps in part 5 of my online program 'Making Your Paper Work'. Find out more >>