Fine Art – Part II

In this second installment by guest blogger, Janna, she reveals the system she set up for her daughter's artwork and school papers.

When Kate was little, she created a “masterpiece” (or more) a day. I loved them, hung a number of them on my ‘fridge or in my office and saved them all. Once in awhile I’d pull out a really special one, frame it simply and hang it on the ‘art wall’ that was located in our center hall.

That art wall made us smile everyday and Kate was so proud to have her work on display. Her friends would come to play and comment, “you have your own art wall”! It was there until we knocked it down as part of the remodel.  A happy and sad day all at the same time.

I knew all of those pieces were created with every bit of Kate’s heart and soul. This was probably the only organizing project where I saved more than I tossed. However, I did come to realize some pieces were awesome stand-outs and some were not.

In yesterday’s post, the story I told helped me to organize this often overwhelming task.

Here is the system I created for sorting, saving, tossing and archiving all of those special projects. One day, I’ll pass it all on to Kate. My hope is that the system I created will help her to decide what to do with it all.

1. Date everything! Each time your little one hands you a ‘special piece’, write the date on it. If you start now, it will make filing so much easier later on.

2. Sort. This is the hardest part. But, as I mentioned above, some things are stand-outs and some are not. Every piece of paper with a crayon stick drawing or a paint swash, while special at the time of it’s creation – may not really tell the story later on. I found I had saved a lot more swashes and crayon marks than I had masterpieces! Soon, sorting and archiving became less daunting.

3. Once your special pieces are sorted, make piles for each year. Some things will be much larger than others.

4. Purchase a variety of envelopes, flat portfolios (or make some with large cardboard, bookbinding tape and a few pieces of ribbon for each), and labels. Local office supply stores have good selections.

5. Label each portfolio with the year. You will quickly notice, that as the kids get older, the artwork, papers, etc. become less frequent! You’ll find that you can combine years. Just remember to label each portfolio appropriately.

6. Group smaller pieces into suitable sized envelopes. Date and label their contents and slip into the correct portfolios.

7. For pieces that are not flat, (the hand print in the plaster for instance,) either make a pocket on the front of your portfolio or create a box for these special items. Date each item, label the box and keep it with the rest of the archives.

8. Keep all of the portfolios in a convenient to get to space. If possible, keep your archives in your home where the temperature is a little easier controlled.

That’s it! It really is that simple.

A few things to note:

  • Once the kids have grown and you feel it’s time to pass down the archives, select a few of your particular favorite pieces and hang onto them. Display them once in awhile and revel in the memories.

Finally, visit your archives often. At different times during the year, I’ll pull out a special little ‘gem’ and put it in my kitchen window or on my desk. For Halloween I always seem to select the same one. This year in particular, it’s a dear reminder of my college freshman, a special memento that always tugs at my heart.