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The Art of Managing Artwork

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Pittsburgh Moms Blog readers: I need your help.

You see, my daughter loves to draw and create artwork.

When I say she loves to draw and create artwork, I mean she really, REALLY likes to draw and create artwork.

“Look, mama! I made this for you! Hang it up!” she’ll say, beaming.

I want to encourage her budding talent, so I oblige and pin her latest creation to the fridge, or to a door, or onto the file cabinet near my desk—or onto any spare surface that hasn’t already been occupied by one of her drawings.

I love her art. Really, I do. It’s been awesome to watch her talent progress over the years. Like most kids, her initial drawings of people consisted of an awkwardly drawn circle with arms and legs sticking out directly from the head, sort of like a cross between a four-legged spider and a tail-less dog. Eventually, over time, her people began to look like people, and now she’s drawing super heroes and fairies and mermaids with all of the intense creative focus a newly minted 7-year-old can muster.

Despite our appreciation for her creativity, however, our pint-sized Picasso’s portfolio is starting to overwhelm us. When she was 3 or 4 and used to scribble on page after page after page, I didn’t feel as guilty about, um, “recycling” her artwork. Now that she’s putting such time and effort into her pieces, I can’t just toss them. Call me sentimental, or call me a packrat…but these are the ones worth hanging on to, at least for now.

I’ve seen reviews for apps and other web-based services that you can use to scan in your kids’ artwork for safekeeping. But then what? Do we trash the originals? What happens if the app crashes or stops working? The art is lost forever.

Others have suggested that I take photos of the pieces and then bind them into a photo book. But then, again, would I throw the originals away? And wouldn’t that essentially be the same thing as holding onto the originals and filing them away in a binder or ten?

Right now, I have dozens and dozens of pieces of her artwork stowed away in a box, not including all of the projects she brings home from school. This system is not working; if it keeps up, by the time she’s 13, we’ll need to either move to a bigger house or rent a small storage shed to contain it all.

So, Pittsburgh Moms Blog readers, I’m asking for your advice: What is your favorite strategy to manage your kids’ artwork?

I’d love your feedback – and would love to turn whatever suggestions you have to offer into a future blog post. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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2 Responses to The Art of Managing Artwork

  1. Dawn December 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    I am working on organizing artwork and schoolwork for my 3 children. I have a 2 drawer file cabinet for important schoolwork that I can’t bear to part with. Each child has a file folder for each grade and I really try to pare it down at the end of the year.

    For larger artwork, I have a 12×16 Pearhead children’s artwork storage frame for each of them that will be hung to display their most recent artwork and a spot to store older stuff inside. I also have some artist portfolios to use too.

    I am in the process of scanning everything in so that if they get damaged or I downsize even more I still have a record of them. I was very into art when I was a kid… As far as I know there was nothing kept. And I wish there was.

  2. Jennifer Brozak January 12, 2017 at 10:01 am #

    These are all fabulous ideas! Thank you for sharing!