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Best Ideas for Storing Your Kid’s Artwork (So You Can Make A Million Dollars Off It Someday)

By Melissa Summers

I haven’t done a lot of back to school talk as August comes to a close, and there’s one reason for that. I am currently an emerald shade of envy because unlike many of your children who are already sniffing lovely new school supplies, my kids are not allowed to start school until after Labor day.
They’ve legislated a post Labor Day school start date in Michigan because my law makers would like to kill me. Or, conversely, they just want to extend the summer tourism business a couple extra weeks. Either way, I’m not quite ready to discuss back to school things, except this weekend I remembered the massive amount of masterpieces our kids will produce in this coming year. All this artwork needs a place to be and the front of a refrigerator can only hold so much before you’re flinging papers every time you get a glass of milk. What to do with all that children’s art?
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Real Simple always has something to say about raising kids. This article doesn’t offer up terribly stunning ideas for storing kids art but they do, as Real Simple is prone to do, offer a simple process for sorting your child’s artwork. Sort through your child’s collection using a four pile system. To Frame (Display), To Store (highlighting milestone pieces, handwriting and new skills), To Mail (to friends and family) and To Disappear (very carefully, remembering a lot of child’s art is created with the process as the goal, not the product).
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I’ve always intended to buy an art storage box from Exposures, literally since my daughter first picked up a crayon. (I actually have a drawing in storage labeled, “First Crayon Drawing.” Wow.) But the $25 price tag has always been a turn off. Still they are lovely and if you can have two kids and can whittle down the amount you have to store using the Real Simple process, you may be able to get away with a $50 outlay of cash for a life time of art storage. Still can’t do it? These boxes are brightly colored and on sale.
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The MeBox is a simple and customizable solution to storing your child’s art. The larger size would accommodate more than art, like tiny baby sweaters and previously loved stuffed animal lovies. I try to be judicious about the artwork and baby mementos I consider archive worthy and a box like this seems like an ideal size for storing just enough but not too much.
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Martha Stewart is like that kid in your high school english lit class who always had something to say. No matter what the topic, there she is raising her hand in the corner of the room. Still, I listen. She suggests using cardboard mailing tubes to store your child’s artwork labeled year by year or child by child. She also offers up an easy tutorial for making a cardboard portfolio for storing your child’s art.
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Repurposing your child’s art is another way to keep it under control. I love the idea of creating digital versions of your/their favorite pieces. Once you’ve collected 12 of them, you can create a simple calendar for them or a very special grandparent.
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Grace at Design Sponge used wrapping paper to create decorative drawer liners. My daughter would love to use her art, combined with contact paper to create her very own drawer liners. These could even make a lovely gift to give at the holidays.
No amount of weeding and sorting is going to keep any parent from having a huge load of art to display. A refrigerator can only hold so much however and at some point the refrigerator isn’t the place of honor it started out being.
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My friend has created a display in her girl’s room using small cup hooks, elastic bungees and clips. The girls can hang their artwork on the long wall of their room and the pieces make a great statement in their room. Each year Andrea clears out a selection and files them away in each girl’s individual folder. You could also use a clothesline with some cute clothespins (like these for example) for this project or something like this wire and clip set from Ikea.
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In our last house we created a ‘Really Big Art Show’ as the kids dubbed it in our back hall using the art clips we originally saw in the Pottery Barn catalog. In true DIY style, we cut the cost by 80% using simple painted pine boards cut to fit our space and large clips. You can read about the process here.
Whatever you do, you have to find a way to save your child’s art. You never know when you’ll come across a masterpiece like this one my daughter created as a 4 year old. She’s 8 now and not much has changed.
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Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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Comments

  • Maiken

    My cousin scans her son’s drawings onto 4×6 cards then adheres them to magnets which she displays on the fridge. As new ones are done she rotates the old ones out and places them in photo albums with the clear plastic slots.

  • We got a great idea from one of the monthly art hops here in Kalamazoo…we placed hooks on the walls high up near the ceilings in the kids playroom and strung a series of strings like clothes lines. We hang the art from the strings with clothes pins and the room has a cool hip arty feel.

  • I was thrilled when I figured out that my kids’ art portfolio (they bring it home at the end of each school year) fits perfectly into the new gigantic Ziploc bags (size XL). There’s a space on the front to label them w/the ol’ Sharpie pen and we’re off to the attic. For the “must be on display” stuff, we do the hallway gallery using cork strips outside their bedrooms.

  • I love that wire and clip set from IKEA. One note — the set you linked to is designed to go inside of a window frame. They do have other kinds, however, that go around windows which could also be used on a wall.
    Thanks for the great ideas! I really needed this post.