Paper Pile Purge Series – Organizing Kid’s Artwork

If you have young kids, you also have artwork. Tons of it….oodles of fingerpaintings, construction paper dinosaurs, and pipe cleaner caterpillars. What in the world do you do with it all? I have some thoughts on that… (keep in mind that these are my opinions and feel free to ignore any suggestion. My objective is to reduce clutter, but each person has a different level of attachment to their kid’s art.)

First, learn to discriminate. I know the 448 drawings your 3 year old did of your cat are adorable. Seriously, I know. My son draws ‘maps’ to our house every other day and they are so cute. But do I really need them all? Do I? Absolutely not. I know you feel like you’re committing some sort of crime as you toss a piece of your kid’s art into the trash, but you HAVE to if you don’t want them to engulf your house! If you keep everything, not only is too much clutter, but then your brain just gets overwhelmed with Cheerio dinosaurs or whatever the current trend is. Just keep a few pieces and they become a lot more meaningful.

Don’t let your house become a shrine to fingerpaintings. For me personally, I like to display the most recent art and then replace it as new pieces are made. This lets me proudly show off my kid’s masterpieces without them becoming the wallpaper of my home.

Kids love to doodle or draw or fingerpaint as an activity. That doesn’t mean you have to keep them all, but it’s nice to do something meaningful with them. Check out this adorable way to recycle your kid’s art into gift wrap from Roar Sweetly.


She punched fingerpaintings into heart cutouts and attached them to wrapping paper. What a sweet and adorable way to personalize a gift.

I have made bookmarks out of fingerpaintings and laminated them. I plan to send them to family members as cute little keepsakes.

Evan's Bookmarks

I also take pictures of my favorite crafts that my kids make, whether I keep the actual craft or not. That way, I have a digital record of their growth as little artists. At the end of every year, I plan to make one 8″ x 10″ printout of my favorites from that year. Here is Evan’s from 2012:

Evan's Art - 2012I actually had this printed on a mug for husband for Christmas and it turned out great.

Of course I do keep quite a few of these little masterpieces. So I needed a way to organize them. I decided to put them in a regular size binder in clear plastic sleeves. This is great for a few reasons:

-I have one for each kid so the art is organized.

-The clear plastic sleeves protect things from getting damaged

-It allows me to put actual crafts/ drawings in the book, but I can also put photos of the art I didn’t keep (Yes, I mean you cotton ball ghost and paper plate rabbit!). Some crafts are bulky or big and wouldn’t fit in a binder. But a 4″ x 6″ photo fits just great.

-I also put a few photos of the kids making or holding their crafts. That way I can see their cuteness as I look at their art.

Here are a few pictures of one of the binders:

image imageimageI love having an organized portfolio of their artwork. What are some ways you organize your kid’s art?



6 thoughts on “Paper Pile Purge Series – Organizing Kid’s Artwork

  1. My son is only 2 but he loves painting, don’t know what is trying to paint yet and I don’t think he does either but I love keeping his work and show it to dad when he gets back from work. Now, it’s easy because I throw away his cute work but for the future, I think I will be making a binder for him :-) thanks for the inspiration Erin

    • I threw away a lot of fingerpaintings when Evan was a toddler. But there was some that I loved and held on to and now I have a place to keep them all. It’s fun to look back through them and see how he is growing through his art!

  2. I love my boys art work. My “system” is keep everything for the year and then go through and throw away and keep and put in a huge envelope according to year.
    I take it out now and then and sob my head off and put it back. Works for me. (sob sniff) :)

    • Ha! I know, it’s so bittersweet to look back on the adorable things they have created. I feel the same way. It’s great that you have it separated by year so you can follow their growth through art.

    • Great, thanks so much for reading! Please let me know how it works for you if you try this system. I love being able to easily flip back through their precious artwork creations!

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