What to do With Your Children's Artwork

Ideas on how to save all the kids' artful creations.
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We all love our kids' artwork, but how do you keep it organized?

For the first four years of my first child's life, I kept a lot of artwork, including just about every paint-smeared piece of construction paper that five years later I had no idea what it was supposed to be. Kids' artwork accumulates fast. I ultimately threw a lot away, keeping only a few extra special pieces. But still what to do with all of those?

There are ways to keep those memorable pieces without acquiring a pile — a mountain — of "amazing masterpieces of orange paper decorated with colorful leaves in the fall, hand prints expanded into plump turkeys for Thanksgiving or cottonballs glued into the shape of a snowman in winter," says Meg Ragland, co-founder of Plum Print that digitalizes artwork and creates amazing books of all that childhood artwork.

"For most of moms, tossing it is just not an option," Ragland says. "A recent study found that 90 percent of parents feel guilty throwing their kids' artwork out. And most grown parents admit that their children’s artwork, while never sent to the dump, has ended up in a moldy box in the basement or a cobwebby bin in the attic."

So what are we to do? It’s not a problem we can ignore, for experts estimate that the average child produces at least 800 pieces of art by end of her elementary years. Here are Ragland's favorite artwork solutions:

  1. Brighten up a playroom or your children's rooms by attaching their art to a string with colorful clothespins. This makes it easy to change up the art on a regular basis.
  2. Frame it and send it to Grandma for her birthday and every other special holiday.
  3. Use it as wrapping paper. The most colorful packages are a combination of 3 or 4 different pieces of art.
  4. Have a cherished drawing made into a stuffed animal from a company like Budsies. This really allows kids to see their art come alive! 
  5. If you just can't bear to part with your children's art try a creative storage solution. Keepsake Portfolios from Lakeshore Learning have colorful dividers so you can organize the by school year or child. 
  6. Make it into a beautiful coffee table book via Plum Print.