Children are constantly coming home with a new art project they’ve created. While these masterpieces are near and dear to every parent’s heart, they can clutter up your home become a messy pile of paintings. Or they may end up as a jumbled assemblage of papers stored on your fridge. Wouldn’t you like a way to compile these creations into an organized collection that you can both display and store for years to come? Here are a few ideas.
Before you begin, you may want to choose only your favorites to save. Or let your child choose. This will result in an art collection spanning their childhood composed of treasured pieces, rather than every page ever brought home. One thing recommended by many professionals is to have a back up. Before you discard anything, consider scanning it into a computer. Keeping scanned images is a great way to preserve things without the added bulk of storing the actual project.
The first step in preserving artwork is to decide how you’d like it protected. Sliding designs into page protectors lets you switch them out as needed. Sheet protectors come in varying thicknesses. Be sure you choose archival quality so the items won’t fade or yellow with age.
For long term protection, we recommend lamination. Now before you start thinking that a laminator is more expensive than page protectors, keep reading. While the initial investment of a laminator may cost more than a box of sheet protectors, you can get a decent machine for less than $40.00 that will cover both letter and legal size items as well as numerous smaller things. For just a little bit more, you can find a quality Fellowes laminator that will accommodate pages as large as 11″ x 17″, which is often the size of children’s art. The protection offered by lamination as well as the versatility in size makes it a worthy investment.
Once protected, decide how you want to store these items. If you’ve chosen to put everything into page protectors, you can easily arrange these in a three ring binder. Putting them in order of their creation date will give you a timeline of your child’s progress. A smaller binder could be used for each individual year while a larger binder could store multiple years separated by index tabs.
Laminated creations can be stored a number of different ways. You can purchase large folders specifically designed for saving wider pieces of artwork created by your little one. Some people keep pictures in a box or scrapbook. Or you could bind them together in a book. A plastic comb binding machine is another inexpensive tool that you can use to save things. Many of these smaller devices offer a built in manual punch. This is another way to preserve creations year by year.
Using these suggestions, you’ll be able to effectively store the masterpieces created by your children without giving up the front of your refrigerator. And they’ll appreciate the compact storage and the time you put into it more than they would a box full of colored pictures. Getting a start on this while your kids are young will help keep you organized for years to come.