It's paper that means something, certainly, but I am a minimalist at heart and it is tough for me to hold on to all of it without feeling overwhelmed. Now that my first child is a junior in high school I know even better—I would probably need an entire extra room to hold all of the wonderful art and amazing writing my children have created over the years.
But you can't just throw it out either! All mothers know that kids will somehow find the artwork you threw in the garbage, even if you carefully hid it underneath banana peels and yesterday's newspaper. It doesn't matter how well you cover it up, because your child will figure out that you threw away their masterpiece and they will never forgive you for it.
Okay, so they'll forgive you, but they will make it even harder for you to get rid of the 20 drawings they did after school today because you've lost their trust. As a mom who doesn't want to drown in paper clutter, it becomes a conundrum.
Here are a few ways you can save your child's masterpieces while still staying organized:
How to Organize and Save Kids' Artwork
1. Display the Very Best
One of my good friends frames one or two of her children's very best art pieces each year. She has a lovely gallery of really cool kids' art in her stairwell, and I always love to look at it. It makes her kids feel special and adds a really fun personal touch to her home decor.
I always mean to follow suit, but I have not done it. I do have a few really wonderful pieces saved for just this purpose, so maybe it's time to just bite the bullet and spend a few hundred dollars on frames. The walls in my stairwell are completely bare right now! The smiles on my girls' faces would be totally worth any money spent, so I think I know what one of my summer home improvement projects will be!
2. Save just a few items each year in a folder or binder
I have a folder for each year in my filing cabinet. In it, I only put my favorite artwork and writing. The girls love to occasionally peruse those folders and enjoy laughing at the cute things they wrote or the funny way they used to draw faces. Because I only saved a handful of things each year, it is not at all overwhelming and is easy to keep organized.
3. Save the rest digitally
When my first daughter was in Kindergarten, smart phones were not a thing—in fact, I think the year she started Kindergarten was the first year I even had a cell phone at all! Since I was already worried about the paper clutter that I knew would begin to accumulate as my children went through school, I began to scan her school work on a weekly basis.
At the end of the year, I burned all of her work onto a DVD and made a cute little case for the disc with her Kindergarten photo on it. We have very rarely looked at it, but it's nice to know it's there.
Now we have smartphones, and that is the biggest blessing of all! I have recently discovered the Keepy app, which is the perfect way to organize and store your children's art and school work digitally.
How is Keepy different from other photo sharing apps?
Keepy allows you to add voice recordings, video, and text comments to describe the photos. Others can also add their own comments via voice, video, or text.
You can also upload just a video of a moment you want to remember, or perhaps a voice recording of your child. I know that I love going back and listening to the way my kids sounded when they were littler—the way they pronounced words, how much higher their voices are, and just how darn cute they sounded!
Keepy is very affordable, even for the upgraded version. You can download the free version, which allows you to upload 5 photos/videos per month, or you can pay just $9.99 per year for unlimited uploads—about 85 cents a month!
Keepy allows you to make fun photo gifts out of your children's art via the Keepy Store. You can make magnets, mugs, cards, canvases, coasters, and even beach towels (among other things). I love the mug and apron I have with my children's artwork on them that I ordered via another website through the elementary school. But I really like how Keepy gets rid of the middle man—no worries about lost order forms or forgetting to send a check to the art teacher—you can order the items yourself, right from your smart phone.
The items in the store are ideal for Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts.
The photo books (pictured above) are one of the easiest ways to keep your kids' art accessible to them without cluttering up your home with paper. And you could also order canvases or art prints to hang in your stairwell—which might be easier than trying to find frames for all the odd-sized art you want to display.
Keepy allows you to invite and share your photos with your kids' biggest fans. They will love to see the comments from their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins whenever a new masterpiece is uploaded. It's a great way to share it without having to share it to all of your Facebook friends.
My minimalist self is very excited about all of the options that Keepy offers for me to stay organized and clutter-free while still making my girls feel special as I save their artwork.
You can get the app on IOS, Android, or Kindle Fire. Click here to download: Keepy App
This post is written in collaboration with Keepy. All opinions are my own. #keepythat
See the linky parties I link up to here.