Bee is both collector and crafter, wildly imaginative and unsurprisingly resourceful (sounds not at all familiar). Her desk lives in Ken’s office, and often, the pair can be found whiling away the afternoon in tandem, fully immersed in their own respective projects. In Bee’s world, Q-tips become fishing rods. Pom-poms become hedgehogs. To say nothing of the popsicle sticks between the couch cushions.
The next morning, and the morning after, the mess lingers (I’m still in the middle of it, she says), until I declare the project finished or paused and the mess moves into the (over-flowing) credenza.
Where then? Where to?
Here are a few systems I love:
- Archive It
This is my personal favorite and the one we rely on near-monthly, because it’s free, quick(ish) and simple. I use this app to scan in a photo of her artwork and email it to her directly. (For more on why I have email addresses for my kids, right this way.) Bonus? Emails are timestamped, so you’ll have a frame of reference for the date each piece was created – a foolproof way to witness your little’s creative evolution. From there, the original piece goes off to the recycling bin.
- Bind It
For a far fancier option, Plum Print sends you a prepaid box to fill with artwork (paintings, sculptures, doodles and more), and $75+ later, a softcover portfolio arrives printed with your kids’ beloved creations in one handy spot. Duplicate portfolios are 50% off, so Grandma gets a copy, too. Similar: Artkive Concierge.
- Wallpaper It
Bee’s favorite pieces get a designated spot above the half wall in her bedroom, secured with none other than your average workhorse masking tape (you can take a small peek here). As her collection grows, we simply layer over the old, creating an odd little time capsule of her work. To keep the aesthetic somewhat organized, she paints or draws on the same white paper (this!) each time, so yes, there is a bit of method to the madness.
- Gift It
Artwork is a lovely way to teach kids the value of giving simple gifts with thought and care. We like to make a list of friends, family and neighbors who might like a pick-me-up, then mail away a beautiful creation straight to their door. Off our fridge and on to someone else’s – can I get an Amen?
- Keep(y) It
For a clutter-free virtual experience, this brilliant app offers a full digital archiving system organized per child (free up to 5 pieces each month). Save art, schoolwork or memories with the option to record a voice over story and description for each piece. Then, invite friends and family to view or comment on select favorites instantly.
Tell me, what are your tried-and-true methods for corralling kids’ arts and crafts? I’d love to hear!
p.s. Speaking of crafts, these paint markers have been gaaaaaame-changers over here.