What to do with kid art before it gets trashed

Kid art. It’s everywhere. But what do you do with all that kid art if you can’t bring yourself to throw it away?

I have one son in kindergarten and my second son just started preschool, so the amount of kid art coming to our house is intense.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing what their little imaginations come up with and how they see the world around them, but the question is what are we supposed to do with all of it? I can’t save it all, but I can’t bring myself to let that art that they are so proud of pass from their little hand into mine and straight to the trashcan.

So I have a little system. Yes, I am an organized nerd. One of my most popular posts was how I organized my whole house room by room! So yes, I kid art system! But it’s easy and it works. Here’s how it goes:

1. Kid art wall

The boys had a big blank white wall in their room, which, as a designery-type person, sort of makes me makes me twitch. So I made it into an art wall.

We screwed cheap, thin cuts of wood onto the wall, painted them and screwed in bulldog clips for easy hanging.

We have used it for all sorts of things from their art to nature posters to images of things of the moment they are really into.

It’s cute how proud they are to see their things hanging on display and I love the way the colors pop on the white wall.

Kid art

2. Magazine file boxes

The art that doesn’t make the art wall goes into these magazine file boxes I got at Ikea. There is one box for each child and I just plop it in there after he gives me his masterpiece and I’ve oohed and ahhed over it.

Sometimes we send one to grandma and grandpa. Sometimes they sit there waiting to meet the wastebasket at the end of the year. (Don’t feel guilty!).

3. Kid art phone collage

And then there’s one more thing. At the end of the school year I’ve started making a collage of our favorites pieces of art from my phone.

It doesn’t take long and it’s not fancy, but it’s a great way to save all those memories without keeping stacks of bins in the garage.

I take a picture in natural light of each piece and then use one of the free collage apps available to compile them.

I’ve seen some people make posters of them or frame them. I put mine in a yearly photo book.

What about you? How do you organize your kid art? I’d love to hear if you’ll be trying any of these ideas and how it worked for you.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Clare O'Dea
    Reply

    These are great ideas. You definitely need some kind of system because it is a constant flow. I struggle to find somewhere to put the sculpture type objects. We get lots of these so our houss is like an abstract art museum. At the end of the school year the teachers send them home with a stack of art. That’s when it gets extreme!

  • Hanka
    Reply

    Wow, that´s unbelievable, but I´m using the same system (hello, fellow-organized nerd :)). On one wall we have attached an old net from football goal and using washing pegs I´m adding my son´s artworks. It works really well.

  • Tamara
    Reply

    My son is not overly attached to his master pieces, so we pin some, take pictures of others, and we keep the important ones in an oversized artist portfolio case until it’s full – then he decides which ones to part with. Works for us.

  • Claire
    Reply

    Nice ideas. I mostly just chuck it out so far. I’m pretty ruthless!

  • Shinta
    Reply

    This is system that works for me as well! Since we live in a rented apartment, I use stick-on hooks instead of nails. I run a string between 2 Tesa hooks running the length of our corridor wall and string all recent artwork. Usually it lands up being seasonal, so all Christmas themed artwork was on display until recently. I love your pictures and filing system!

  • Rachel
    Reply

    Great ideas! I was thinking of doing the art book where I take pics of the “good” ones (IE: not scribbles) and make an art book of all his stuff. Right now all the art is just in a pile ready to be photographed! (baby steps)

  • Tanya
    Reply

    I’ve been taking pics of the art, but I love your idea of the yearly photo book! I sometimes take a pic with my kid in the pic so we can see how old they were.

  • Dawan
    Reply

    Great ideas!
    This is the same reason I dont like getting postcards, birthday cards..any kind of cards because I wish to throw them but I feel so quilty and at the end I always throw them. My husband keep ALL his card since childhood.. We have a big box full of it. So I am fearing now that he will do the same with our daughters craft. I will tell him to take photo of them…

  • Kate Prinsloo
    Reply

    Great ideas and absolutely gorgeous pictures. I love the yearly photo book idea.

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