Don’t you love all the precious artwork and projects that come home with your kids each school year? Nothing quite captures time like the papers kids have worked so hard on at school and then bring home for parents to enjoy.
As sweet as their work is, over the years the bulk of it can become overwhelming. What was once cute artwork becomes cluttered piles of paper stacked in different parts of the house, hard to manage and not enjoyed. It’s true, we all want to do our best at preserving our kids work throughout the years, but it’s sometimes not an easy wish to balance.
The reality is, we can’t keep it all and honestly, I doubt the last thing our kids want when they are grown and on their own is a huge box full of everything they ever did in school. Here are a few tips for how to preserve schoolwork without letting it take over your house.
Take a Picture
We live in a very digital world, so instead of keeping physical copies of everything your child brings home, take pictures, or scan items for safe keeping. Then, once you take the picture, throw it away. It may be hard to toss, but think of all the space you’ll save. Plus if you store the images on a cloud or in a couple of places digitally, you can feel comfortable knowing that your backups are safe.
Tip: Once you scan or take photos of the artwork and projects from the year, use a company like Snapfish, Shutterfly or Picaboo to have it turned into a keepsake photo book.
Limit What You Save
During the school year, as projects come home with your child, sort through items immediately to decide if you are going to keep them or not. Keep a small plastic container on hand to hold the keepers, then either take pictures or discard the rest. Be sure to limit the container size so you can get a good idea of how much work can be saved each year. Also consider giving some of it to family members for safe keeping, but let them know that they can toss whatever they want. If they decide to keep it, it’ll be a pleasant surprise, years later, when your child’s work pops up at a family dinner.
Storage Tip: Use pizza boxes, file boxes, shoeboxes, empty wrapping paper rolls and binders to contain artwork and papers in one spot. And don’t forget to color code and label each container so each child knows which is his.
What good is awesome artwork if it’s shoved in the bottom of a box? Instead of storing it, frame and display it. Rotate what goes in the frame every month or so. You’ll love seeing their artwork on display, and they’ll take great pride in knowing what they created was good enough to share with others.
Create t-shirts: Scan a few favorite pieces, then print them on iron-on transfers. Adhere to plain T-shirts for your kids or family members to wear and enjoy for years to come.
Repurpose for gift giving: Use large pieces of artwork as homemade wrapping paper. Glue smaller pieces to cardstock to create heartfelt greeting cards. Make a paper mosaic with scraps of different pieces, and laminate it to create a placemat.
Blog it: Register for a free WordPress blog account, and upload photos of projects as they come home from school. In each post, describe the work and what it means to you and your child. You’ll have a digital storybook to reference forever.
Make puzzles: Glue a painting or drawing to a piece of cardboard, then cut it up into puzzle pieces to create a fun activity that’ll make the artwork stick around a little longer.
Bottom line is, we love our kids and we love everything they bring home to us. Their schoolwork often holds special meaning and memories. Make sure to tackle the preserving of it right away so it continues to hold a special place in your heart. You’ll be glad you did!