Keeping/Organizing Kids Finished Artwork

I have been cleaning out our school room and trying to file away the special work from this year, and I realized 2 things:

  1. My kids would like me to keep every single paper they ever touched with even a drop of paint or stroke of pencil lead.
  2. Even though I feel as though I am throwing out a ton of stuff (doubtless due to the kids opinion) the binders filled with folders for each year of school state otherwise. It is getting out of hand.
    How do you determine what to keep, and just how much in general? How do you store it for them to see how they’re coming along in school? How do you do it without them acting like you are setting fire the The Louvre?
    I can see that with a 2nd grader and Kindergartener this paper hoarding situation needs to be dealt with in a loving and logical way.
    Thanks for your help!!!

I feel your pain! We have the same aged kids, and they tend to feel the same way!
I do a few different things… not sure they will work for you, but here they are:

  1. We discuss our lack of ability to hold onto everything - mainly space! We brainstorm ways to reuse and recycle projects and papers: pictures = cards and wrapping paper for friends and family, some projects can be disassembled to reuse the different pieces and parts for future projects (for example, we made 7 dioramas this year - instead of keeping them on a shelf or closet, we can take them apart and reuse the pieces for future projects)

  2. During the year I take pictures of every project, and many of their paintings, projects, etc

  3. Now that we’ve discussed reusing/recycling - and shown them pictures I’ve taken - we agree upon a number of paintings/pictures they can choose to keep, and a number of larger projects they can choose to keep.

  4. After pulling out our keepers, we disassemble the rest and/or put into our wrapping paper/ card bin for future gifts.

Storage: All of those pictures I took - I make one of those really fast Shutterfly books - I just upload the pics - have the program assemble the book and order (I don’t get fancy - this is just meant to be a flip book of their year in school). The flat items they chose to keep get put into a pizza box (I like using these because they are free from pizza place, don’t take up much space, and fit larger size pictures) and finally - the couple of larger items they decide to keep go into their room.

Whew! That’s a lot, but it works (for us!) :slight_smile: Looking forward to seeing what ideas other people have!


Yes at our house, too. My solution, at least until my kids are a bit older and they mature in their ability to choose “JUST A FEW”, is to get large brown mailing envelopes for each child for art each year. Those go into a large plastic tote box with along with their completed books. We do not have to prepare folders so I just save the books, assignment calendars and workbooks.
I figure when they are 18 and graduate, they can sort it all out. I hope. :blush:


I am just as bad as my kids - I can not throw anything away! So I keep filing it away in boxes in our storage area - lol and hope to one day make binder books of school year memories. Maybe 20 yrs from now I will be able to get rid of some things :slight_smile: lol

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Every Friday we have what we call “the share chair” where they get to choose one item of school work from the week to share. They can choose the item based on any reason…perhaps they enjoyed the assignment, or was proud of the outcome, or they discovered something. In any case, we then share the items and the item they chose gets displayed while the rest of the work gets tossed. We save the chosen items in a 3 ring binder that I keep as our class yearbook. I only implemented this the last month of school this year, so we will see how it goes. I also plan to take pictures of any larger projects that won’t fit into the binder.


These are all fantastic ideas!! I can’t wait to try some out, I would have never even thought to go to our local pizza place for boxes! Brilliant!! Thank you!


@htfhilltopfarm, I like the idea of them sorting it when they are older too!! =)
@sgrrrbear, I have a hard time tossing stuff too! When I went through my first child’s folder I found about 15 papers with water color streaks all over them, they really just all looked the same!! Why did I keep so many?!?
@mlnunes I LoVe the share chair idea!! Maybe they could do this for Daddy and it would be a performance! What great ideas!!

Thank you all! Bless you!

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