The One Thing Every Mom Needs to Save Kids' Artwork
The other day Isaac came home with starfish artwork from school stuck together with cheerios and glitter. I went to put it in the high pile of his other creations and stopped.
What am I doing? I thought.
Why am I keeping this?
Sure, his little squishy sticky fingers made this. But, his squishy sticky fingers also made a giant mess with marshmallows in his brother’s hair the other day and I didn’t keep that.
So, I threw it away.
Yep, in the garbage.
And guess what? I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt!
Now, before I get hate mail for being the worst mother ever, hear me out. If I keep ALL of one child’s creations, then I need to keep the other two children’s creations as well. Keeping this massive amount of paper just isn’t realistic or necessary.
So, I came up with an idea. I decided the one thing I need to create for all of their keep-able artwork and such is a keepsake kit. I know they will acquire quite a bit of starfish-like “treasures” down the road, generally in the form of paper that has glue, glitter, pom-poms, confetti, popsicle sticks, stickers, cheerios, paint, puffy paint, and any other craft supply you can think of on it.
And everything that is brought home or will be brought home is adorable. And sweet. And special. And keep-able.
So, in order to not go crazy and keep it all or toss it all I developed a strategy, so to speak. A criteria that could help me determine which artwork to keep and which to toss. I had to be ruthless when developing this “To Keep” criterion. I had to keep telling myself that my little guy wasn’t quite Picasso yet and just because his hand touched it doesn’t mean I have to keep it.
Below is what I came up with…..
-Anything with a handprint
-Anything with an actual picture of him
-Anything with his name IN it. i.e. a story, a newsletter, an article, etc.
-Certificates of Achievement or Awards
-Special Occasion items i.e. Mother’s Day poems, written Christmas prayers, letters, etc.
This criteria may change slightly as they get older in order to account for items that are unknown to me as of now. But I think what I decided on is fair, easy-to-follow and really takes into account the important documents that my boys will enjoy looking at later on in life. And with this whole minimalist craze going on, I feel like Marie Kondo would disapprove only to a degree. I mean these kits are sparking joy, here!
Ok, so now for the fun part! Putting the kit together!
The Keepsake Kit Supplies
1. Accordian Files – I purchased these accordion files because they came in this bright blue color (one for each boy), had more than enough slots, was compact and very affordable compared to other options like binders or fancy folders. I created labels (duh!) to stick onto the files, one label for each year of school. I also decided that when the kids come home with artwork BIGGER than the accordion file I will:
a. hang it up for the family to enjoy and
b. take a photo of it, print it out and put it in the file before tossing it. I use the Groovebook app for all of my photo printing needs.
It’s super easy. Just download the app. Take photos and upload them to the app. Every month for a small fee ($2.99) Groovebook will send you out this adorable little book with all of the images you uploaded. No going to the drugstore to pick up pics. It comes right to your doorstep! As a busy mom, we need little conveniences like this! Seriously, family pics would just live on my phone forever if I hadn't discovered Groovebook.
2. Sheet protectors – In order to protect the artwork from sticking together (we are dealing with a lot of glue here!) I thought it wise to purchase these sheet protectors in order to preserve the paper and keep things neat.
To add a little creativity to the accordion file, I added each child's name to the front of the file with letter stickers I purchased.
So, the next time you are staring at a pile of your child's artwork, take a minute to really ask yourself why you are keeping any of it. If you chose to keep some treasures, great! Just be brutal when making your selections. Use my criterion as a guide and don't feel guilty about throwing things away. When you are ready, make your own Keepsake Kit. I promise it won't disappoint! As a little icing on your cake, click below to get your own set of labels for
YOUR child's Keepsake Kit!
What important treasures do you plan on keeping for your kids? I’d love to know!