From the moment your son or daughter does their first 'drawing' it seems us parents are hardwired to keep every scrap, every scribble and every sticky creation.
However usually, around their 4th or 5th birthday, it begins to dawn on you that you're definitely going to need a bigger house - like five times bigger - if you plan to do these all through their school years.
But we've got some great suggestions for how to reclaim your home, make space and get organised - with these storage ideas for the endless art being created.
Not so much an idea for storage but rather a step to ensure you only keep the very best pieces of children's arts and crafts efforts. Keep a folder for each child for each month and at the end go through and keep only the best pieces.
Let's face it reams of paper is not eco friendly. Why not take pictures of each piece of art and then save them to a hard drive? This could make a fun 18th birthday present!
Use an App
There's a number of apps that provide a service for you to snap and store kids' art. The benefit of these is that you can add notes to each piece and it will digitally log the date of creation too. We like Keepy for an easy to use service.
Share the Joy
Why not split the burden of storing kids art and get the kids to send some of their pictures to friends and family who can enjoy it? It will be one less piece of art you'll have to store at home and grandparents will love the sentiment.
Grab yourself a scrapbook and fill it with all of those colourful pieces of art. If you store them in chronological order you'll have a timeline of how their skills have progressed.
Folders are your Friend
Stock up on folders to store precious kids' artwork in a way that will keep them flat and neat - pop them into clear pockets for extra protection. But what about those pieces of cards covered in pom poms, pipe cleaners and egg boxes? Go for box files. You can store smaller pieces of 3D art and stack them on shelves.
What parents hasn't already tried the box method - but why not upgrade it? Gather artwork from your children and sort it into years, bundling each year into a large folder. Write the child's name and the year covered on it to make it easy to find at a later date. Then stash it all away in a box or trunk.
Filing cabinets are practically purpose-made for storing glitter-covered pages, childhood doodles and school art projects. It's up to you how you choose to organise this - into years, children or theme. The initial set up may take time but once you're done it's easy to store each new piece.
Celebrate Budding Artists
Save the very best work from your little artist by investing in a portfolio. It will enable you to safely file their best drawings and many are expandable meaning even the most prolific of artists will have to go some to fill it.
We're not suggesting doubling up on copies here. But instead, upload the artwork to one of the many online services which will collate it and turn it into a beautiful book full of wonderful kids' artwork. It's far easier - and neater - to house a row of books too.
If space is tight then use a large sturdy cardboard tube. Ask children to pick out all the pictures they like the best and then roll them together and keep them organised in the tube. Don't forget to note what's in it!
Read All About It
Pick up some magazine files and use them to corral the kids' drawing efforts. Each file should hold a decent amount of work and you can even use this to keep some slimmer pieces of 3D art - such as when your kid painstakingly glues random objects to card.
Set up an email address for your child and send their artwork to their own name email address to access when they're older.
Sometimes those lumps of clay, painted eggboxes and loo roll creations can be the hardest to preserve - but also the hardest to get rid of. This method makes it easy to hold on to the best of what they make. Grab yourself a hanging shoe rack and attach it to the back of an out-of-the-way door or inside a cupboard. Now you have lots of pockets in which to secrete away these treasures.
If your method of storage isn't going to be the bin bag then consider another type of bin to preserve memories. Use old gift bags as clever art storage. You can designate two bags to each child - one for flat pieces and another for those bulkier items. Cut down on the space it takes up by asking kids to edit the collection every year and keeping only the best.
If you're handy with a sewing machine why not make your own fabric pocket. Sew two pieces of material together - make sure its large enough for those over-sized pieces of art - and leave the top section hemmed but open. Once you fill it with paper you can carefully roll it and then secure with a ribbon.
Channel Their Efforts
If they love drawing then encourage them - but why not investigate competitions and TV shows that they could send their artwork to. Not only is this a great way to minimise what you hold at home but as a bonus, they may get to see their hard work displayed on the TV or win a reward.
As great ideas go we love this one. Encourage children to organise their art themselves. Get some wall racks and teach them to file their artwork as they go - they'll like choosing what to retain and what to bin and the paper mountain doesn't take over the home.
Get A Desk With Storage
Treat mini Monets to a new desk - but ensure it has plenty of drawers and storage for them to squirrel away their masterpieces. Be sure to tuck a bin underneath too so they can learn to prioritise and assess their own hard work.
This is a great halfway house between ditching the children's work and displaying. Buy a cheap laminator and sandwich each piece of paper between the plastic. You've now got wipe-clean placemats that are put away and only bought out at mealtimes.
Stack Them High
Repurpose your old shoe boxes - they're the perfect size for bulky pieces of art like hand made clay vases, trinket dishes or cardboard jewellery boxes. The lid will ensure they stay dust-free and they can be easily stacked in your wardrobe.
Paste Them Up
You may not want them on display but equally, you can't find it in yourself to bin them. So why not use wallpaper paste to paste them to the back of a wardrobe or even on a sheet of MDF that you can slip under a bed. You'll know they're there but don't have to look at them all the time.
Create A Memento
Why not select the pieces you're happy to part with and have the image transferred on to mugs, personalised calendars, tee-shirts and more. There are plenty of companies online able to do this and you can then let go off the physical item without guilt.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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