Organize Your Children’s Artwork

Guest Article by: Jodi Taylor

How to Keep On Top of Crafts and Children’s Artwork

For many, the end of summer and the start of the school year mean adult craft projects as well as an endless stream of children’s artwork being brought home for praise and review.   There are really three things that can happen in this scenario:

1) paintings, drawings, bits and pieces, thread, crayons etc. will be strewn about the house getting damaged and lost and creating a disaster,

2) all of these items will be thrown into a cupboard, drawer or bin where they will disappear until you are forced to deal with them at a later date and discover that you have 152 dried up markers, Or

3) you can set up a place for treasures to be displayed, non-treasures kept under control and supplies fresh, in stock and at your fingertips!

If you enjoy living in construction paper hell, then don’t read on.  Otherwise, stay tuned for great tips on keeping your home tidy and peaceful throughout the school year ahead.
Supplies Required

* 1 large and 1 small portfolio per “crafty” person
* A sturdy magazine rack that sits low to the ground to stand the portfolios up in
* 1 cork board
* Either a book shelf with colourful bins or a plastic dresser with various sized drawers
* A work table beside your supplies is preferable but not necessary if there is no room to put it.  The kitchen table works well as long the supplies are returned to the cabinet after each use.
* Labels!

Organizing Tips

As with all organizing projects, the first step is purging and sorting:

* Gather all of the craft supplies and art work from all over the house and sort them into categories.  Start off by separating out each type of item (tape together, paint together etc.).
* Keep a garbage bag and recycle bin handy so that you can throw away any items that aren’t in good shape (dried out, torn etc).  Keep a box handy for all items that you don’t use any more but are in good shape and can be donated.
* Then, look at how many drawers or bins you have and try to make that many categories.  They don’t need to be extremely specific.  For example: you can group glue, tape, clips and staples together and label it “fasteners” or group glue, paint and sparkles together and call it “messy stuff”.  It all depends on what kind of supplies you have.

Create a specific area for each group:

* Place each category of supplies into its own drawer or bin and label.  Involve your children by asking them to make the labels using pictures and words.  They will be more prone to follow the system if they help out and know where everything belongs.
* When putting the categories into their drawers, it’s a good idea to put adult supplies up higher and children’s supplies lower.
* If you just can’t fit everything into your drawers, hang a shelf above to store rarely used items.
* Place all small artwork in the small portfolio and all large and odd shaped pieces into the large portfolio.

Managing the stream of projects:

* Children think that everything they create is special and so it is!  Go ahead hang those really special pieces on the corkboard but be sure to remove them when new art comes in instead of just piling it on top.  Save everything that’s not on the corkboard in their portfolios.
* It’s important to go through the portfolios with your children when they are full and bring the pile down to one quarter of the size.  Be sure to include the children in this process so that they learn organizing skills at a young age (something that my client’s often lament about).  Don’t forget about your own portfolio if you have one!
* At the end of the year, you will have a manageable amount of art to create a special scrapbook for the year.  Now you can have beautiful memories bound together in an easy to store book!

I’m always amazed at how long these articles end up being but it’s important to follow a step by step plan when tackling a project so that it runs smoothly and actually gets finished!  I hope that this will provide you with plenty of help for preparing for the school year ahead.

If you’re just too busy to get this done on your own, be sure to give us a call right away so that you don’t find yourself living in a paint, sparkle and construction paper disaster zone by October!

For the rest of you who can find the time, this is a fun project so don’t forget to enjoy it!

Jodi Taylor
Whatta Mess Professional Organizing

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