Storing Her Creations without Clutter

August 14, 2012 in Creativity,lessons for moms,Organization

School is starting soon. I wish I was the organized person who used the end of the school year to organize things, but really, it is the start of a new school year that kicks me in to panic mode and makes me start organizing. I feel a need to get it under control before the papers starting pouring in weekly again. 

I’ve been writing about creativity, why it is important for kids, how to nurture it in kids, and today, what to do with their creations. Almost every creation is special–either because of the memory of when or how it was created, or because it represents a stage in their creativity. I say almost because sometimes my girls spend 2 minutes doodling and scribbling on a paper. They put little thought into it and even less effort. And my girls, even though it brought tears, have learned that anything done with minimal effort isn’t very valuable. I sound like the Tiger Mom, but really, we don’t do our kids favors if we praise everything they do. 

So all those creations? From 3 until …… What is a sentimental mom, who fears being a pack rat, to do? My mom, bless her heart, saved much of my elementary art work in a box. She passed it on to me. Very sweet. But it wasn’t even that interesting to look at. I doubt there time or technology to do much more than store art in a box when I was growing up. But now? There are options. And what about the creations that don’t fit in a box? Once-in-lifetime-Lego models completed or forts that show off a budding engineer brain?

Here’s my idea. I am hoping it is more fun than a box of old art. I take pictures. Of all quality (see paragraph 2) creations. I store the photos with date labels in folders on an online photo site (I use Snapfish but there are many others). And when the girls finish elementary school I plan to take all those pictures and put them in a photo book. I don’t scrapbook, but I love the simple photo books you can make online. I make one each year to document what we did that year, and sometimes there are 500 pictures but the spine of that photo book? Not even 1/2 inch wide. Beautiful memories. Beautiful space saver.
Storing kids artwork
Top: photo books and my attempt to show you how skinny they are. Bottom: One of Bird’s preschool art projects and one of her 4th grade art projects that will eventually go in her elementary art book.
Bug’s art gallery. It is in a stairwell so it is hard to photograph.

I do have galleries on the wall full of the girls’ most recent, hangable art. But when it is full, I take down the pictures and (don’t gasp) throw them away. 

Art clothesline. Image from Cozi, see link below

One friend uses the clothesline method. She picks two of her favorites creations and lets her son pick two favorites. And when new work comes along that trumps old work in terms of favorites, the pictures switch. I love her method because when you, as the parent, save only the art you love, it increases the value. And when the kids decide what to save, it teaches them to make special places for prized accomplishments and that saving all our work does not add value to our lives. (Thanks to Simple Mom for sharing this philosophy).

If you need more ideas for your princesses creations, check out these sites:

So what do you do with your kids’ creations?  

Sharing with In the Studio



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Raquel August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Love the displays. I have saved a select few, but I think a picture is great. There are so many creations over the years that we cannot keep them all. I did save every pottery project they made 🙂


Mothering From Scratch August 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

{Melinda} What great ideas. I used the clothes line method for a while when my kids were younger, too. My friend used the photo method, too, and she is the most organized person I know so there must be something to that! 🙂

I keep “favorite” art in bins … someday when they go to college and I have more time, I plan to do something incredibly artistic with them. I have no idea what that is … wish I’d had a plan during those days when the artwork was pouring in! No more pretty pictures now that they’re 15 and 12. *Sniff* 🙂


Kristin Leamy August 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Wow, what a great idea! I love the photo book at the end of the school year idea. We do a lot of photo books, but I hadn’t thought to capture elementary projects this way. You can bet I’ll be using this idea!


The Røsviks August 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm

This was good for me to read because I sometimes feel REALLY bad about throwing away my kids’ creations. I too grew up in a home where all my childhood art was saved, but because we move so frequently (and also because I have such an aversion to clutter :-D), I just can’t keep that much. I too take pictures of their quality artwork and plan to one day compile the pictures for them, and I really like both the photo book idea as well as the clothesline method for displaying artwork. I also LOVE the idea of taking pictures of special lego creations – I’ve been wondering how to preserve my son’s lego creations without just sticking them on a high shelf where they get covered in dust and he forgets about them. Great post! 🙂


JDaniel4's Mom August 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

The clothes line is such a great idea! I have fridge covered with artwork that needs to come down.


Blond Duck August 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

I’m such a pack rat. Now that I’ve started painting, I’ve run out of walls. Who knows what I’ll do when we have a baby!


panamamama August 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Thanks for visiting me today! Love your blog. I have art portfolios for each kid, but think I’m going to try your idea of taking pictures of them. Especially the little ones that get all wrinkly. A book would be so much nicer to have when they are grown ups!


Angie Nelson August 18, 2012 at 11:21 am

The clothesline is such a great idea! It looks like it can be a real space-saver.


Jennifer @ Studio JRU August 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm

These are awesome ideas! I would have loved to have a book made of all my art. That is so neat! Is that a little koala bear drawing? It is adorable!! 🙂


courtney defeo October 14, 2012 at 1:39 am

great ideas. thanks for sharing!


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