Step-by-Step to Organizing Children’s Artwork

Ah Paper – I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I LOVE great paper stationary, paper planners, scrapbook paper, invites etc but what I hate about paper is how quickly it piles up.  Bills, flyers, catalogs can pile high but then add kids artwork, school papers and more and its through the roof right?
Well here is just one way I tackle Isabel’s artwork.  As you can probably tell by now I love to have her create art (she did have an art themed birthday after all) but between what we do at home and what comes home from school the piles get out of control.

Step 1: Centralize your collection
Make sure you have an “inbox” or place to put all the projects that come from school or are created at home.  I use a great wooden tray I picked up at Garden Ridge Pottery.  It holds 8.5×11″ no problem and the 11×14″ can sit on the top of it.
 
Step 2: Sort it
When the pile starts getting large…what I do is scan all of the 8.5×11″ pieces on my HP flatbed scanner and then photograph the larger scale pieces
 
Step 3: Repurpose it
Pick the pieces you want to display, the pieces that work for a baby book or childhood scrapbook and the pieces that can be thrown out and actually throw them out.  Project life is my scrapbooking method of choice and sometimes I will cut her art down to either 4×6″ or 3×4″ to include in my weekly spreads for the family.
Step 4: Organize them
Take your digital copies and create a folder on your computer.  I organize mine by school year.  Once they have been cropped, straightened or otherwise edited they live there.
For the hard copies that you keep – I slip what I can into sheet protectors with a post-it telling me what the general content is.  I then pop those page protectors into a large 3 ring binder to keep them organized and out of the way until I am ready to scrapbook, frame or otherwise document them.
Step 5: Back them up
I have a huge hard drive that backs up all my photos but I also upload them to Shutterfly.  That way they are always handy when I am ready to print them

Step 6: Display them
In Isabel’s playroom there is a dedicated wall to displaying her artwork.  I use wooden clothespins on a ribbon to make sure that there are no holes put into the piece itself.

Finally, how I am planning to display all our favorite pieces at the end of the year is with a Shutterfly photo book.  Have you seen them?  They are great quality and have lots of options.  This way you have the entire year of artwork documented in one small book.  The Pictogram book is currently my top pick for a layout.

Here is a great post from Mixblog that gives you other ideas of what to do with the art and how to get started.  Check it out and hopefully you can find what works for you!

Happy Organizing!

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