I was at a friend’s house the other day and we went down to her basement to look at the new laundry room remodel. As we were heading back up, I noticed a wall peppered with her girls’ artwork. Mostly projects they had done at school – some new, some a few years old. And she asked, “what do you do with all your kids’ art?!”
“Truthfully”, I answered, “I throw most of it away”.
I know, that sounds horrible, but maybe also freeing?
With four kids who are always working on something creative plus schools that encourage art-making (yay!), I would be drowning in all of their drawings/sculptures/paintings/engravings/etc if I kept and displayed them all.
So, I don’t.
To be fair, I should also mention that I am not really a sentimental keeper of things. Also, I have gotten in trouble by my kids for recycling things before they are ready to part with them, so I can probably swing a little too far on the pendulum. Ryan is much more of a saver and so he will often put a sweet note or cute drawing away in a file he keeps for the kids.
I don’t get rid of everything, though. Some are too adorable or impressive or smile-inducing to toss.
As I was thinking about my conversation with my mom-friend, I realized I do have a few methods for keeping, displaying and storing the kids art. I walked around my house this morning and here’s where the art is in our house:
ON THE FRIDGE
For seasonal things that are not necessarily long-term keepers, we’ll tape them up to the side of the fridge. It is fun to see some of the cute things the younger two bring home from school, and I know Audrey, especially, enjoys seeing her creations on display. Once they bring home new artwork or the artwork is out of season, we’ll either toss it in the recycle or put it in a special box.
For the things too precious to part with (said with a slight eye roll from this non-sentimental mother), the kids each have a lidded box they keep under their beds. They can fill it up with all their special treasures. This box is Ethan’s, our oldest, and he has a random assortment of race numbers and medals, old Seahawks posters, and art – like this skiing man mask – that is impressive, but not really easy to display.
IN A SKETCHBOOK
Brady, our second son, particularly likes drawing and he keeps a sketchbook next to his bed. It is nice to have it available for before-bed winding down, but also nice to have all of his drawings in one place. It’s much easier to keep and store a full sketchbook than 25 loose sheets of paper.
I am not completely cold-hearted when it comes to their artwork and sometimes I just love a piece so much, I’ll put it in a frame to display and enjoy. This silly drawing Brady did of me is a favorite. He actually was just playing around and did it with his non-dominant hand, but I think it is adorable. And sort of Wilma Flinstone-ish.
The youngest cousin on the Jones side looks up to all his older boys cousins so much and they will often draw together. This limo picture was one Griffin did and gave to one of the boys. We all thought it was the cutest thing and love the way he labeled and spelled and it felt like the perfect thing to put on the shelves in their hangout room.
One of the most beloved drawings my kids have ever done was this family portrait by Ethan when he was about four years old. I scanned it and used it to create family stationery.
The older boys take ceramics at school and have come home with the sweetest gifts for me. They know I’m a neutral-girl, so their vases and jars have been thoughtfully plain and perfectly wonderful.
But when they come home with obscure things like a purple elephant mug or trompe l’oeil ham piggy bank (true story and it was actually quite clever), I don’t feel obligated to keep them. Part of the joy of art is the act of doing it and for a majority of the finished projects the kids come home with, we just celebrate the process.
Or at least that’s how I rationalize not keeping everything they make :)
What’s your method for keeping/displaying/storing your kids’ art?