Sunday, August 14, 2011

Moms! I need ideas for storing kids' art!

Right now at the beginning of the school year I want to put systems in place that will keep me organized all school year long.

This is my first year with both kids in school, and I already know that the art and papers they bring home will quickly get out of control if I don't set up systems now to deal with them from the very beginning!

I already have a folder for each child to hold class newsletters and information from the school, so that's set. My big dilemma is how to deal with art, writing and other "creations" the kids bring home.

I want to keep everything they bring home until the end of the school year, then I'll go through it all and decide what to keep.

So, experienced Moms, what's my best bet? Should I get a bin or basket for each kid and put everything into it? Or is there some kind of binder system that would work better?

My other issue is what to do with their backpacks, library books, ongoing projects and such. Our walls are solid concrete so I can't install hooks in the walls, but I can use tables, shelves and/ or racks for such things (although I don't have major retailers like Target or Ikea so they have to be something made out of wood, which I can have made for cheap here).

And, I need to keep these things in sight without being in the way constantly. (My kids inherited my out of sight out of mind tendencies so anything "put away" gets completely forgotten about!)

I would appreciate any ideas for keeping school items organized and under control. Please post a comment!

Thanks! :)


  1. You are smart to anticipate the paper deluge. With our four, it can get insane and out of control very quickly.

    I have a mesh desk in-basket for each kid. They are labeled plainly with their names and folders and artwork go there first before the kids tear through and lose things.

    My kids hang up their packs in a designated area--maybe you could set each kiddo up with a kid-size landing pad for their backpack and lunch box? If it's wood (I remember--concrete walls) paint it and add their name. I reinforce with mine that their pack doesn't hang out on the floor--it is either on their person or put away. The floor is not an option!

    As far as storing artwork and other memorable papers, I have used a medium sized plastic box with lid per kid. Last year I sorted only at the end. This year I will do a mid-year sort at Christmas time. I cannot keep everything! Good luck!

  2. i really liked the ideas on here

  3. As far as creative "art" and school papers go, I put up a small cork board for each of my kids (actually leaned them because I can't attach things to the walls either). I let them choose what to put up. Sometimes it was a great quiz, sometimes art, around Valentine's Day it was usually a card from someone else. This was their domain totally - plus it saved me the angst of deciding what was "important" because I always knew what was important to them. So anything that went on the board was saved in a flat file under each kid's bed. At the end of the school year, I scanned what I could and kept a few paper copies for memory's sake.

    Since we used the kitchen table for homework, they hung their backpacks on the back of the normal chair they sat in at dinner. We went through the backpacks for stray stuff on Sundays so every week started out pretty organized. The joy of having their backpacks on the backs of the chairs was that they could immediately stow their stuff away when homework was over - and I could drop things in when needed.

    When the kids were really little, we would just count the number of things they should have in their bags - 1 folder with paper, 1 pencil box, 1 lunch, 1 reading book, 1 laminated envelope for papers. If we noticed that there were more than five things, I let the kids figure out what was extra and then we both figured out what to do with it. (Special artwork on the cork board, tissues in the trash, etc.) Easy!

    As they got older, my twosome came up with their own organizational strategies. My son taped a piece of paper on the front of his notebook and wrote his assignments there. My daughter was the tab queen - her notebook fairly bristled with them.

    Because I've always had to work, I needed a structure that kept us all sane. Plus, I think kids crave a certain amount of structure. Our nights were always the same after I picked them up - dinner/homework/bath/bed. After their bedtime, I would start on any work I had to do.

    Even though one is out of college and the other will finish up in December, they still fall back on this routine!

  4. I don't know if this would work for you, but it might be an idea to start from: You could store the "less current" works of art there until year end and go through them then?

  5. Ok, this might be right up your alley as there is a planner involved!
    Here is what I do:
    1. Collect a few days worth of 'art', which here normally consists of paintings/drawing on cheap (and very thin) butcher paper.
    2. Have one large A4 sized daily planner for each child
    3. Glue or paste in each picture or painting into the appropriate day
    4. Scan or photograph anything that wont fit in the book, and paste in the image
    Then, each year you have a lovely book for each child that they (or you) can keep.
    Normally, i will make notes on some of the days, or paste in other momentos or photos that are relevant. Keeping them in order means I know when each event occurs, and every year for Christmas I go through the books and my photos, and upload them to a photobook maker (most department stores do this now), and order a couple of nicely bound books for each child featuring the highlights of the year.

  6. Thank you for your ideas everyone!! It really helps me a lot to hear about how other people manage these things. :)

  7. I just finished the artwork project last month and here is what I did. I had 4 tupperware boxes full of artwork and it took me a good day to go through and put into piles. The first pile was "frameworthy" and I for the moment took all of those and put poster tacky putty on the back and hung them all over the wall against the stairs to the basement. Eventually I will get frames for them all. The 2nd pile was "bookworthy" and I bought a large 3 ring binder for each boy and purchased a box of plastic 3 ring page protectors. I slipped the artwork into the page protectors and instantly had a nice book which I will continue to add to. The 3rd pile was "scrapbook pieces" which were cute little things that can be used someday if I ever get around to making a real scrapbook (little paper pumpkins or hearts, etc. that they made) The 4th pile was trash (you just get around to realizing that a line drawn on paper does not necessarily have to be kept). I was thrilled to get rid of all of the tupperware! and I smile when I walk down to the basement now at the new art gallery in progress.