How to Keep and Store Children’s Art

In the Paper Pile Makeover we’re looking at every kind of paper that accumulates in the house. One of these is children’s school and artwork: precious, but boundless.

Recently my sweet and sentimental mom decided it was time to pass down the artwork she had saved for me from my childhood. With the number of rainbow drawings and writing samples, the collection was far too vast for me to keep.

I sorted through them and chose a few to keep in a scrapbook.  The scrapbook is low-key and simple:  less than $10 and it has 12-inch pages with sheet protectors to slide the artwork into.

The one deciding factor:

Keep only the papers that make me smile the most.

first grade portraitI love looking through the pages of this art scrapbook.  My mom had written short notes and dates on the backs to explain their significance.  There are paintings, short stories, and drawings.  I still draw birds in the exact same way.

Do you have a plan to manage your kid’s art?

Help from Experienced Moms

What to Do With All of This Artwork? – Kiddio gives help for choosing which artwork is worth keeping, how to store it, and even tips for how to trash it without tears.

Look What I Made! – Holly shares how she keeps and displays the special artwork from her three children, but avoids keeping dozens of glued macaroni pages for posterity.

Like Mother, Like Daughter – Dana shares the scrapbook of her eight-year-old daughter’s art. What I love about this one is how her daughter chooses which art to save and creates the scrapbook herself.

What’s your strategy for keeping your kids’ artwork in a meaningful, yet manageable way?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I ABSOLUTELY love !! This mom has found an affordable, stylish way to keep children’s artwork and I love it!

    Outside of utilizing DandiLyons, we send our artwork to out of town family/friends as “gifts” … small little sunshine perks in their mailbox! Win/Win!!

    Naomi in Ohio’s last blog post..The Secret is in the Sauce: October Giveaway: Photoshop Elements!

  2. Hey Rachel……. I love how your letters in your name were all caps except the “e” too cute. What’s funny is that your drawing of people is still about the same – looking at the title of your blog :) he he. Thanks for the link.

    Dana @ Letters to Elijah’s last blog post..What I wanted to do and what I did do…

  3. During elementary school, the art teacher would have each child make a portfolio each year to hold their artwork. I can’t tell you how much simpler that has been for me than during the girls’ preschool years when they would bring every single project home in single sheet form! Our girls are 15 and 12 and I still have their art portfolios tucked away in their closet. We have gone through them and selected a few pieces to keep and tossed the rest.

    In kindergarden the girls each painted a Statue of Liberty. They are absolutely adorable. I have had them framed and they now hang in our entry way. They are my favorite art pieces.

    When our girls were small, we would share their artwork with grandparents and other family members. I’m sure it made them smile.

    Nancy’s last blog post..Signs of Fall

  4. Thanks, but I only have three children!!

    Holly’s last blog post..Apple Picking Time

  5. This is something I’ve thought about, though haven’t actually taken any action. Ideas: if you have a child who is learning how to cut, have them practice on old pieces of art work – it’s more colorful than plain paper and if it’s their own artwork they might not mind reworking it; mod podge it – take some of their art work, make a collage (maybe even only cut out the best part of art), glue and then mod podge it to an artist canvas or just a piece of paper/cardboard to put inside a picture frame and rotate the collages out every few months or just have them throughout the house – these might also make nice gifts for relatives and mod podge is pretty easy (it might be a great project for kids to do as well).

    Robyn’s last blog post..Flowers for your Wednesday…

  6. smallnotebook says:

    Dana – Yes, quite true, you could say I mastered the art of stick figures early. :)

    Holly – I fixed it, thanks for pointing out the mistake!

    Nancy, I would love to see those paintings together. Will you blog them or send me a picture?

    Good ideas Robyn and Naomi! Kids love sending and receiving mail.

  7. I keep some of the artwork, but I mostly take pictures of it. Then I can still remember it and smile, but it doesn’t take up any space!

  8. I had a blank wall in my hall, (we live in a 2 bedroom apartment, so space is a premium) so I screwed two hooks in the wall (the kind that mugs hang on in the kitchen) and tied a ribbon between them. I then clothespin the kids’ work as it comes home from school, and they each get one side of the ribbon. The new stuff just gets pinned over the old until it gets too heavy, and then I take it down and keep what I like the best in a manilla envelope. I’ve also taken pictures of things that are too big or unwieldy (like 3 dimensional things).

    My mother used to tuck things (like funny notes, little drawings, etc.) into her cookbooks. When she would look for different recipes, she would find them. I’ve continued this, and it’s always a nice surprise to come across something that makes me smile.

    Mother Necessity’s last blog post..Happy Birthday Big Trouble!

  9. What a great idea! :)
    And, sometimes it’s fun to just to look through and see what my mom thought was worth keeping… !

    I have little bins for each child that I put stuff in – when it gets too full, I go through and purge. But, hopefully, by the time they move out, they’ll have a bin of memories.

  10. smallnotebook says:

    Photos are a good idea Sara, especially for those pieces that don’t keep well.

    Mother Necessity – I LOVE the idea of hiding notes and little drawings inside cookbooks. Perfect!

    Kelli, you had a great post and photos today about kid’s art! You all can see it here: Can’t see the Forest for the Ziti at her blog Me in Place.

  11. This is a hard task; I’m very sentimental over my little ones art. We do the bins and the folders and I frame it for the house. I guess I’ll let her decide when she is older.

    tabbyintexas’s last blog post..2 Oct 08

  12. I do like Sara does. But with a twist. I take a digital photo or scan it and put it in a folder on my photo sharing site. All our relatives are out of town so it’s an easy way to share.

    I also have been keeping special papers in file folders. But I think I need to cut down ALOT. Especially since the best is saved digitally.

    Avlor’s last blog post..Organizing Roundup Continued: The Office

  13. I came across this the other day and thought it was a good idea for temporarily displaying artwork especially since I have 4 little ones to show off their work.

    Mindy’s last blog post..55 Questions

  14. Thanks for posting this topic – my son just started preschool and I love all these ideas!

    Alana @ Gray Matters’s last blog post..Thrifty Green Thursday – Craig’s List Find

  15. When my daughter started kindergarten, I started filling a large plastic bin with her stuff. I threw some things away, but kept more than I knew I’d save in the end.

    Now that we’ve started first grade, I plan to go thru the box and do some serious purging. Then I’ll put a divider in and start saving the first grade stuff. I figure if I end up with two bins over the course of elementary school, it will be pretty reasonable.

    Vintage Mommy’s last blog post..Adoption Book Review: The Day We Met You

  16. I have scanned a lot of my daughter’s artwork into storybooks! They are great. We are able to sit down and flip through them and see all of her amazing drawings over the years. You can check these great books out at

  17. I was making a get-well card for my daughter the other day and drew a picture of me on it. I realized I draw myself exactly as I did when I was 9 years old. I remember this because my mother framed and saved a picture I had drawn of me standing in the snow. You would think I would have improved a little in 21 years. Nope. But I’m glad I have an original to compare it to.
    Joanna´s last post…Freshly Fallen Laundry

  18. Thanks everyone for the ideas, my daughter isnt even 2 yet and her art is already stacking up. I have so far got a box for each year since she has been born that I keep her cards and art in but I dont think it will be long and I will need to use a lot of this different ideas.
    Deciding on the best ones is going to be the hardest. She is already so talented with her colouring, drawing and painting.

  19. All great ideas and to add to the list- SovenarteBooks. I made a book with them and it was just beautiful. I still kept the art but now we enjoy it!