Drowning in Your Creative Child's Artwork?

Like many preschoolers, Trevor produces dozens of pieces of artwork each week.  At home, at preschool, at Sunday School, at playgroups... Trevor generates a lot of stuff.  If I kept everything, we would soon be on Hoarders.  Clearly, not all of it can stay.

Here is the first step in my solution to avoid drowning in artwork.  
I've hung a piece of gold cord that stretches the length of our family room / playroom.  It holds about 25 pieces of artwork, depending on their size.  I keep a jar of mini clothespins from Michaels on a nearby side table.

When Trevor finishes a project, I ask him if he wants it on the art wall or not.  If he does, then something has to come down to make room.  This forces him to decide if the new object is more special than something already on display.  Sometimes he likes to display certain items for a long time.  The penguin has been there since winter.  That's OK with me.

For the most part, he is free to display whatever he wants.  There are a few exceptions:
  • I don't display work that someone else did.  For example, I don't hang up the drawings we do together (unless my contribution was very insignificant), nor do I hang pretty cards that his friends make for him.  
  • I don't display folded, crinkled items.  Trevor has a very bad habit of making beautiful artwork, then folding it into a tiny rectangle and jamming it into his pocket.  Those items, no matter how nice, do not go on the art wall.
  • I don't hang multiple copies of the same thing.  He made two windsocks- only one is hanging on the art wall. 

What happens to the items after they come down from the art wall?  Well, it depends.  If they're seasonal and in good shape, I put them in the appropriate box of decorations in the garage.  It's always fun to see the previous year's artwork when we decorate for a holiday.

For all other items, I decide whether the artwork shows a particular skill or developmental milestone or something unique about Trevor.  If so, it goes upstairs.  I photograph the large items and then recycle them.  I scan the small items, recycle most of them, and put a very special few into a folder.  I will keep these forever, whether it is in that folder or in a scrapbook.  

What happens to the items that never make it onto the art wall in the first place?  Some go upstairs for photographing or scanning.  Some go directly into recycling.  I try very hard to get Trevor to recognize that we can't keep all his art and that some of it needs to be recycled.  It's difficult for him- like most kids, he's attached to pretty much everything that he creates.

How do you manage your child(ren)'s artwork?


  1. What a great process you have in place!! Love it!! :)

  2. What a great idea!! I loveeeeee his art wall! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  3. Thank you for sharing this link with me! It is so hard for my boys to figure out what to keep and not to keep.


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