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Artwork, oh my!

It’s adorable, right? All that cute artwork that our kids produce starting as soon as they can hold a pen.  We save it, of course, capturing the wonder of their artistic abilities. Then they go to school and do even cooler projects and bring those home for us to admire. And to save. They do crafts. We save them. Then we have more children who also bring home their treasured works of art. Before we know it, we are up to our eyeballs in artwork.

My name is Kerry Stutzman and I am a recovering saver of all artwork. After a couple of moves that forced me to reckon with the many bins I had saved of my children’s artwork, I have three strategies to share with you that will preserve the memories and release you from any obligation to store mountains of paper:

1. Instead of saving all the artwork itself, I started taking pictures of my boys with their creations. I can’t tell you how much more I treasure this photo of Landon with his Thanksgiving art than I would enjoy the same pieces of paper stuffed in a bin in the basement.  When Keaton used to draw dozens of pictures each week, I had him spread them all out on his bedroom floor and then I took a photo of his cute little face surrounded by a 6’x8′ carpet of his drawings.  That photo gets looked at more than a bin full of drawings ever would and it captures how much he loved to draw.

2. Instead of saving artwork in separate bins organized by each kid, my friend Shelly saved a small collection of holiday-themed artwork with corresponding holiday decorations.  When she pulled out her Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc, decorations each year, she hung 6-10 pieces of art on a wall in her kitchen.  When her kids were young, they loved seeing their art on the wall.  As they’ve grown into high school and college age, those seasonal displays have become priceless.

3. Another idea that I think would be cute is to pick a particular place to take photos of your kids with their creations. Then whenever they bring home new pieces of art, take a pic in the same spot with them holding up their masterpieces.  Down the road, it could be cool to stitch the pics together into a freeze-frame video of them growing up, displaying their art over the years.  Talk about a tear-jerker for their graduation parties!




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