Now that school is underway for most kids in the Northern Hemisphere it is inevitable that the artwork is going to start arriving home en- mass. Every parent I have ever spoken to has felt they should hang onto every scrap their child has graced with a sticker or doodle or a scribble. Amongst many parents there is an underlying feeling of guilt for throwing out or recycling their budding mini Picasso's masterpieces. Lets face facts people that while it would be nice to hang onto everything ever made by your child it is an unrealistic expectation- especially for those of us city dwellers with limited space!
Keeping this in mind I have become quite conscientious about what we keep and what gets recycled or thrown out. Much of our Little's art work is given away- turned into cards, postcards, gift wrap or just as nice drawings. The best gifts - in my opinion- are the ones made by hand and at this age drawings are what our Littles make best! Some artwork does hit the recycling bin but only after first being enjoyed on the wall for a time- we go through things together and decide what goes and what stays. Making it their choice is what is important- I don't sneak it into the recycling when they aren't looking- that would be heartbreaking should they discover it there!
The question then arises- what to do with every thing you want to keep? At our house we have a series of portfolios in a variety of sizes that work quite nicely, these can be found in any art supply store and range in price. I find the sleeves that the art is slipped into are great as the Littles can easily look through their books when ever they want to. The portfolios are also easy to store which is important when a family of four lives in an apartment!
Another way we enjoy the Little's art is to have it sprinkled through out the house- actually living with art made for specific spaces like the hall way or living room. Having children's artwork in communal living spaces gives them a sense of importance and belonging. Our space is not just a space for adults nor is it one over run by children- instead we strive to have a living space that is respected, used and taken care of by all of us. Of course this idea is the real work in progress!
There are so many creative ways to hang onto and store your children's art work- enjoy it first- hang it up on the walls or fridge or doors! Then move on from there making the decision together as to the final destination of your child's artwork. A few other great ideas that I have come across; a memory box- similar to a filling cabinet for your child's art, digitally photographing the art before disposing of it- this way your child can always reference the photos and finally a very simple cardboard portfolio that you just slide art into which is a great solution for larger pieces.
I am always interested to hear about how parents deal with the massive amounts of creative outpouring from their children. If you have any really cool storage ideas I would love to hear from you!