How to Organize Kids’ Art and School Work
What to save and how to save your kiddo’s school work a common challenge for parents. The papers flood in weekly, there’s so many papers, and there is no time to review that papers. Handwritten stories are mixed in with worksheets. In May, a entire desk worth of supplies, papers and possibly yucky food comes how in a bag from school. For families with multiple kids, this is repeated over and over. Many of us are too busy to do something or too overwhelmed. Help is here!
Define what is precious
Through many years of working with parents, it is hard to know what is defined as precious. There are multiple scribbles, holiday place mats, spelling quizzes, prolific art work, macaroni necklaces and science boards. There is a massive compilation of stuff! By defining what is precious before you begin helps you sort through the papers and stuff.
My definition of precious may not match your definition. It is an emotional attachment depending on many things. Try to drill down this definition. Here are my thoughts.
- Artwork that shows personality, effort, and originality.
- Paper work that shows accomplishment and originality.
This gives you a lot of open ended options for you. You can best decide with a little thought ahead of getting your work started.
Sort and edit
Sorting and editing are difficult. Many times it depends on how long it has been between the arrival of the papers, the amount of papers and the way you are sorting. Pace yourself and set up bins to sort into as a first pass on organizing. Label the bins to be clear what goes where.
- If your art is a combination of all your kiddos’ stuff, sort first into bins that are named by child.
- Next group art by time period, such as pre-school, elementary, middle school and high school. Add summer camp and art school if necessary.
- Assess how precious the art is for you to keep.
Organize and Display
There are many options to organize, display and share your kiddo’s art. It helps to know what you want as the end result. Your vision can guide what you keep and how you want to organize the materials that remain.
- Take a photo or scan the keepsake and create a coffee table art book. This is by far the most fun and popular. It is easy to keep on a bookshelf.
- Send art work and papers off to grandparents or other special family friends.
- Keep the keepsakes in a large fed ex box by year in the top of a closet.
- Keep the art in a portfolio under a bed, in the back of a closet.
- For a monthly art rotation, set up a “clothesline” with 6 clothespins on an wall in their bedroom. Another Create a “gallery wall” in your kiddo’s room for an art display area.
- Use a file tote for each child and a expandable folder for each school year.
Maintain Your Organization
Maintaining your organization takes practice. Start by gathering your kiddos’ art and papers each week in your Command Center. That is the hub of all active papers in your home. Have a slot for each kiddo’s stuff and have them drop it in weekly. After a month, go over the items and share what was special. This is a great time to display or edit. It prevents a year’s worth of editing at one time. Items can be moved to an auxiliary space to keep until the end of the year. Each summer plan to create your special keepsake item or move all the items to archive storage. If you are able to sort quarterly, that still keeps your routine together.
Apps to help
There are several options to help you with organizing your kiddos’ stuff. These work a variety of ways to help you document, scan and do the next steps.
What’s best about sorting, editing, and organizing these keepsakes is the joy you have in seeing your kids’ skills, strengths and talents!