“Move the tree made of tiny little handprints!” I yelled to my husband as my coffee started getting ever closer to the crinkled tan page with various shades of red, yellow and orange. “Which one?!!” he quickly yelled back.
I had just knocked over my drink and as usual, my island (along with my desk and kitchen table) were covered with various pieces of artwork, spelling tests, and lovingly made keepsakes from my 2 children.
None of which I knew just what to do with…
If I was being really good, I would gather up these little pieces of my girls, quickly jot their name and date on the back, and cram it in the plastic organizing bin in our back room closet.
But more often than not, I would stack each piece neatly with the intention of actually doing something with it…only for it to be left in random piles throughout the house…most of which were in the kitchen.
And then I did what all moms do when they have a problem – I sat down that day and realized there had to be a better way. A better method of treasuring these pint-sized masterpieces and evidence of my girls’ academic growth. A better system of saving these items or of actually using them.
And you know what? There is…
Now when a spelling test marked “SuperStar” or a Christmas themed handprint tree comes across my kitchen island, I use one of these 5 Easy Ways To Manage Your Child’s Artwork.
1 – Laminate and Save – There are some special treasures from my girls that I just can’t imagine not having. The poem about handprints that I would miss one day from my daugthers’ preschool, accompanied with their sweet little prints…will always hold a special place in my heart. Because I know this time will be gone all too soon…But if it’s important enough to save, it’s important enough to take care of and put away safely.
2 – A Place On The Rotating Wall – Okay so the wall doesn’t actually rotate…but that would be REALLY cool – but the artwork does. This is a magnetic framed area on our kitchen wall that my husband made (he’s pretty handy). During the week, I toss up report cards, spelling tests, Letterland characters, and the many sweet handwritten notes or coloring pages that say I Luv U Momme. These items are special and deserve special attention but after a week or so, I usually have just as many to replace the old ones so these aren’t items that are particularly unique.
3 – Share The Love – Why keep all of your child’s school progress and coloring to yourself?! Make a weekly “care package” by choosing a handful of their best work and mail it to grandparents! Even if your parents live nearby (like mine do), they will treasure these periodic surprises in the mail!
4 – A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Or a 1000 pieces of paper…to keep you from having that many pieces laying around the house, take a picture of that great Valentines Day paper headband and save it to your computer. At the end of the year, compile all the pictures into a cute Shutterfly book! Read here for more easy ideas and ways to use all of your digital images!
5 – The Trashcan – Okay friends, this is a legitimate way to “organize” your child’s artwork. Let go of the guilt…not every piece of paper can be kept. It’s just not possible…and when we put a high value on everything, it really only shows that we don’t value anything.
So I ask myself, is this something that will have any meaning to me in 5 years? If it doesn’t, AND it can’t be used with methods 1-4, the trashcan is where you will find it.
IT’S OK…LET IT GO…Come tomorrow, there will be 4 new “keepsakes” in its place. And guess what? You will have some free space on your kitchen island to stack them!
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