Who doesn’t love their child’s drawings? Many children express themselves through art far better than the written or even spoken word, so the attachment is understandable. Yet who among us hasn’t thought about chucking every last piece of art when the pile coming home from school, added to what is created at home, threatens to take over every inch of the refrigerator door and fill every drawer in the house?
Here’s the million-dollar question: what is worth keeping and what gets tossed (during the night and placed in the outside garbage under mounds of food scraps so there is no evidence of the cruel mommy who doesn’t think every piece of her child’s art is beautiful and worth saving)? Here’s what I do:
1. Display the Art
Even for just a day. If your child is proud of their artwork, show it off. Right now, we use simple magnet clips on the side of the fridge. For a cleaner presentation, this company produces frames that open on hinges, allowing you to swap out your child’s art easily and often. Just last week I came upon this ingenious DIY frame with the same purpose and I like it even more. A cute little clothesline like this works famously too.
2. You Save, I Save
Each of my children gets their own “treasure box.” They are allowed to keep anything they want in their box, but it must fit in the box. New art often replaces old art in their boxes as they constantly work to make sure the lid stays on the box. I also have my own acid-free “treasure box” for each of them and hold myself to the same rule — I can’t save more than what will fit in the box. I save only the most special drawings. They are usually the ones with good stories attached, or where it’s obvious my child has spent more than her usual attention span, and I always save “firsts”. Like the first time my child drew a circle with arms growing out of the sides and called it “mom” instead of the typical scribbles.
3. Preserve with a (re)Purpose
Preserving your child’s art in an acid-free box is one thing, but using it as inspiration to create something else takes preservation to a whole new level. My children love seeing their art come to life as “softies”, handkerchief embroidery, carved pumpkins, personalized neckties, t-shirt transfers, and Christmas ornaments. I will admit the time I spend creating with their art might partly be my way of making up for the fact that I throw the majority of their artwork in the trash. If sewing is not your thing, this company creates sterling silver pins out of your child’s art and this shop will turn their art into a sweet little pendant, both perfect for gifting.
Whatever you decide to save, make sure to write the child’s name and date on it.Also, remember to record and attach “the story” if it has one. It’s all going to be vital information down the road. You always think you’ll remember, but you won’t.
Thanks to Gabrielle for having me here this week. I’ve had a great time sharing with all of you! I hope you’ll take the time to create, preserve and share your family heirlooms.