Parents often face the dilemma of what to do with their kids’ art. From the tracings of their little hands to the stick figure drawings of their families, kids want to see their work displayed. But the reality is, we can’t keep it all of it, much less showcase it.

When it comes to displaying kids’ art, try simplifying the process with three rules: 1. Keep their favorites. 2. Display it in a way that it becomes part of your family’s home décor. 3. Choose a method that allows you to change out the art often. Check out more organization tips here.

Here are some clever ways to feature your favorite artists’ masterpieces.

1. The yardstick and clothespin method

For an affordable and easy solution, try picking up a yardstick and a bag of clothespins and sticking them on a wall. As explained in the blog, My Domestic Daybook, you can also paint the yard stick and the clothespins. This blogger chose a neutral white but painting each clothespin a different color could add some punch to your playroom wall. She adhered the clothespins to the yardstick with tacky glue and the yardstick to the wall with velcro (but Command Strips are another good option). With this method, kids can feature up to nine pieces; it is so simple to change out the artwork, they can even do it themselves.

2. Curtain wire and hooks from IKEA

IKEA sells this to hang curtains but parents have discovered it is a genius way to display artwork. The silver cable wire and matching hooks give walls a shiny, industrial look. The Dignitet curtain wire comes with all the pieces necessary for mounting it to the wall and the price is usually under $10.

3. Turn it into something useful

This method breaks rule number three (since you can’t change out the pieces) but still, it is a great option for people who prefer not to hang kids’ artwork. Instead, take photos of your children’s pieces and upload them to a site like Shutterfly or Snapfish and turn them into household items like a mug, a photo book, a pillow, a reusable shopping bag or even a puzzle. These also make perfect gifts for grandparents.

4. Cork Boards

Old-fashioned cork boards are versatile and super easy to use. But for a prettier and more customized way to feature artwork on a cork board, pick up the kind with a frame like this one from Hobby Lobby and stick the child’s initial on the board. In fact, you can get a cork board and initial per child so each one has their own little gallery.

5. DIY Art Gallery

All art looks best framed but framing children’s creations is both costly and time-consuming. With a few open frames and clothespins, you can create your own art gallery. There are several ways to accomplish this. One blogger bought six frames, painted them yellow and attached fishing wire. Then she and her child hung pictures with a clothespin. Another simpler approach is to mount a clothespin to the middle of the frame.

6. Clipboard wall

This idea is exactly like it sounds–a wall of clipboards. Parents will love that this method is cheap and makes for super simple art change-outs. They may not love that they have to nail them into the wall. Still, 15 or so clipboards with colorful artwork can spark some cultured conversation.

7. Hinged Storage Frames

The hinged storage frame may not be the cheapest option, but it is certainly easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. The frame makes it really simple for parents to feature their children’s artwork and store other pieces. Hang the frame on the wall and open it every time you want to showcase a different masterpiece.

8. Curtain Rod with Hooks

Similar to the Ikea cable wire solution, this option gives parents a little more flexibility in style. Buy a curtain rod that goes with your decor and ring hooks to attach to it. The hooks should have clips on the end like the ones pictured above. Then mount the curtain rod to an empty wall and boom–instant art display area.

9. Magnetic Frames

For parents who are content to keep their children’s artwork on the fridge, but prefer the less cluttered look, magnetic frames work wonderfully. Most magnetic frames are made for photos and are too small for a child’s typical 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Try magnetic document holders like these or, for an even cooler look, make your own magnetic frames.

10. Frame Tape

When parents can’t bear the thought of hanging anything else but want to frame their children’s art, there is frame tape. Yes, this actually exists and it comes in all types of colors and styles. Simply unroll the tape and stick it on the wall in the size of your choice. Hang the artwork using mounting putty or push pins. This easy solution will brighten up any space, and is best suited for a kids’ room or playroom.

Organizing Kids’ School Papers and Art Projects

If you have school-age children, you are likely dealing with an ever-growing stack of school papers and artwork. Some of it may go straight to the recycle bin, but what do you do with the important papers and special art you want to keep?

Start by sorting

Before you start organizing your child’s paperwork and art projects, decide what to discard and what to keep. Set aside papers that show your child’s writing skills and artwork that you feel is  unique to your child’s personality. Discard worksheets or daily papers. Make another stack of papers that have information you need such as calendars, directories or spelling lists. Try to sort items at least once a week so the paper stack doesn’t get out of control. “Parents may want to feature their child’s artwork by hanging it in frames on the wall; this gives them the opportunity to enjoy it, then change the pictures over time,” says Stephanie Davis, a Certified Professional Organizer with Let’s Get Organized.

Start a keepsake box

A keepsake box is a space for you to save items that mean something to you or your child. “A  keepsake box causes you to constantly purge and evaluate what you really want to keep,” says Davis. Some parents may have a box for each grade level, but Davis suggests sorting items by type, such as artwork, invitations, pictures, projects and adventures. This will give the boxes a more defined purpose and makes them easier to maintain.

Create a family binder

Creating a family binder for important information can help families stay organized. Each family member has a tab, and their sports calendars, school directories and medical information are stored there. When you need something in a hurry, you know right where to look. “I encourage families to use a family calendar app so everyone knows what is going on and important papers can be scanned and computerized as well,” says Davis.

Go digital

Some parents may find it easier to go digital when it comes to storing their child’s artwork and school papers. Joanna Cline, mother of three, says, “I use the Artkive app to store my kids’ art. At the end of the year I will make a photobook of their artwork.” Other apps that help save artwork are DearMuse or Keepy. Many of these apps have family sharing available.

As your child grows, the items you want to save in your keepsake box may change. It’s okay to discard items to make room for something you value now. The important thing is to keep the items that mean the most.

-Sarah Lyons

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