Children’s Artwork – Sort, Organize and Store

Max's Art work on 12x12 construction paper.
Max’s artwork on 12″ x 12″ construction paper.

Schools have begun letting out for the summer. As children come home for the long summer holiday, with them come a year’s worth of school work. Reports, works of art, ribbons, and awards all stuffed into the bottom of a back pack waiting to be discovered by an adoring mom.
I’m going to venture off topic (well kind of off topic) for a moment. I was recently cleaning out the garage when I came across Max’s old back pack. It had been in the garage and unused for at least 2 years. As I pulled it off the shelf, dusty and trailing cobwebs I could tell that he had put it in the garage without emptying the contents. I had a moment of “Mom Joy”, thinking I might find something sentimental and cool. I began pulling things out of the pockets; a completed but never turned in math assignment, several broken pencils, 2 AA batteries, a LIBRARY BOOK, and 1 still-in-the-wrapper McDonald’s Hamburger. This is not a joke. Other than the fact that it was hard as a rock, it looked brand new. The bun was still shiny. There was not one sign of insect infestation. It was the same size and shape as it had been when it was acquired. Max has always eaten his burgers plain – meat and bun. I’m sure this contributed to success of the preservation – no rotting veggies, or acid filled ketchup. Amazing nonetheless.
Okay, sorry about the side trip down memory lane, let’s get back to all of that wonderful stuff your children have carted home from school this year.

I regularly get asked about kids’ school work/art work:
How to store it?
Where to store it?
How much to keep?

These are the most common questions. If you’re participating in our current Get Organized Challenge, we’ll be talking about this very topic in about a week.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, so I’ll give you a couple of suggestions that may help guide you through the process.  Here are the steps I recommend:

Gather all of you child’s school work together in one place.

Chose a container.  This will help you limit the amount of stuff you keep – forcing you to choose only the truly important pieces.  This container should be large enough to accommodate a 12″x 18″ sheet of construction paper if your child is still in grade school.  Older children will most likely only need something that is 8.5″ x 11″ – or large enough to hold a school yearbook.  I would recommend our Jumbo Fab File  for grade school children.

Our Jumbo Fab File is ideal for Construction Paper (12x18) creations.
Our Jumbo Fab File is ideal for Construction paper (12×18) creations.
You'll easily be able to store a dozens of treasures in one Jumbo Fab File.
You’ll easily be able to store  dozens of treasures in one Jumbo Fab File.









Or our Large Fab File for older children.

Fab File, Folders, Box, and Yearbook.
Fab File, Folders, Box, and Yearbook.

Set aside a time with your child to go through the pile.  Make this a “special” event by including some type of treat like a milkshake, rootbeer float, or purchasing a new album/song to listen to together while you sort.

Mementos from London's Senior year. Stored in a Fab File.
Mementos from London’s Senior year, including his Yearbook are all stored in our Large (8.5″x11″) Fab File.

Grab some sticky notes, a pencil, and paper before you sit down to sort. There’s a good chance your child, regardless of his/her age, will give you some good information about 1 or more of these pieces of work.  You’ll certainly want to capture the story.

Working through the pile with your child accomplishes 4 things;

  1. The pile is no longer a “pile,” it’s a thoughtful plan.
  2. The things that are important to your child have been preserved.
  3. Everything is safely stored away.
  4. Quality time has been shared and the value of saving memories has been instilled.

Now you can easily access the items you need for scrapbooking and you’re ready to pass on the remaining items when your child moves into his/her own home.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Organizing,






2 Responses to Children’s Artwork – Sort, Organize and Store

  1. Dear Miss Tiff:
    As I was reading what you wrote about you Finding Max’s old backpack, I weld up with tears, remembering when my 6 daughters would come home with handfuls of art work, school assignments, ETC.. I would always tell them Put all of your papers in your “Memory BOX” they each had a box, and would fill them to the brim. Now, they are all grown in their 30’s and a couple in early 40″s( am I dating myself, I am still 38 lol) and I am alone now just me and my 4lb. poodle, The girls have husbands and children, and they have carried on our tradition of the Memory box, with their children. I recently started going through all of the boxes, and there are quite a few. I needed to try and get them in a more Organized order, so I started laminating the contents of each box, and what a tear-jerker that turned into I was reading a lot of their reports essays, and the like and to see each year how they had grown and what they had learned. (No Mcdonalds hamburgers though). I am using all of your organizing items to store the Memory boxes contents in and I can say they are coming in very useful. When I am done I will present each of my Daughters with their very own memory box contents all laminated and stored very nicelyin chronological order in Totally Tiffany’s organization products. I will be at this for a while. While I listen to and watch your classes, I have learned so much, Thank you so much for offering us a simple and economical way to store our craft supplies and “Memory Box contents, and the classes are amazing, I have watched several classes starting with the 1st one and am currently watching the current class everytime I watch one of the same classes, I learn something new. You are a remarkable Lady. Thanks for letting me tell my story to you all.

    Kind & Sincere Regards,
    Jamie – Denver, Colorado

    • Jamie,
      Thanks so much for sharing your story and your kinds words. The Christmas I was 25 my mother presented me with 2 Scrapbooks she had put together using the mementos I had left at her home and family photos. It was a completely unexpected gift and to this day it is one of the best gifts I have ever received. Your daughters will truly appreciate these gifts, and so will their children.
      I hope you’ll share some pictures with us. We would love to see your process, progress and the end result.

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