Ask-Design-Mom Question: Hi Gabrielle. As the mother of 5 creative children, I think you are the perfect person to ask this question… I was wondering if you have creative suggestions for what to do with the blizzard of artwork that my kids bring home each week from school (not to mention the work the generate at home)? I have a pre-schooler and a first grader and they generate a LOT of precious “art”. I like having it around the house and proudly hang much of it, but would love some creative ideas for how to preserve, display and manage the volume. Thanks for your wonderful blog and Happy New Year! Regards, Brenda

Design Mom Answer:
Great question Brenda. This one is a non-stop challenge for all parents. I’ve detailed my own storing-artwork-philosophy before here. (In short the philosophy is: keep it moving. Post current artwork. Replace it when new items come home. Save a very few select items and only projects that are true originals or that your child is particularly proud of.) But today I’ve got 3 cute ideas I’ve seen recently that might help you out.

1) Lizzy had the brilliant idea to use her daughter’s artwork to make her grocery lists and to-do lists. Child friendly and earth friendly. I’m sure her daughter feels so important when she sees mom carrying around her drawing as mom goes about doing errands.

2) In the most recent issue of Good Things for Kids (one of the Martha mini-magazines — this issue is titled “Get Crafty” and just came out last week), there are dozens of amazing ideas, some dealing with the exact question in mind. I loved their idea of putting a year’s worth of artwork into mailing tubes. The tubes are especially good at accommodating oversize pieces of paper.

3) Another great idea from Good Things for Kids, is to turn your child’s drawing into something practical by mounting a small paper calendar directly on the artwork (see the pic at the top of this post). We happened to get one of those mini calendars in the mail yesterday from our oil company and decided we should try this project immediately. Instead of mounting the whole calendar on one masterpiece, my kids collected 12 pieces of artwork, trimmed them down and mounted the artwork and one calendar month on 12 separate sheets of paper. Double-stick tape and glue sticks were the mounting adhesives of choice.

When we were finished, we bound the 12 pages together with an oversize paperclip and slipped them in a happy red envelope. We’re sending this off to Grandma for a belated birthday present. If your utilities company/real estate agent/gardening catalog isn’t as forthcoming with the mini calendars, you can also buy them from this site.

One last idea: if you find your child is particularly taken with drawing, introduce a sketchbook into their life. When they fill it up, introduce a new one. That way, their artwork is already bound and easy to store and they can see their progression easily.

What about you, clever readers? How do you handle the oceans of artwork that come into your homes?