I get asked this question all.the.time! If you’re finding yourself reading this article, my guess is that you have tossed this question around, too!
As you may know, we live in a tiny house (here’s a look at our home maker space), and storing art is a real issue for us. Even if you live in a big space with plenty of storage, I wouldn’t be surprised if storing and saving art also has you in a bind.
Today I’m sharing a few ideas that we’ve tried (successfully) with the hope that some (or all) of them will work for you.
Note: This article contains affiliate links. I only include links to items that I adore or that I think you’ll find valuable.
1. Use an Art App like Keepy
Save your kids’ memories and remove the clutter.
If you’re ready to pitch (ahem, recycle) the art, you could go with an app like Keepy. I was introduced to Keepy about two years ago, and I’ve been using it to save photos of my children and of their artwork. The basic app is free with the option of signing up for a small annual fee of $9.99, which includes unlimited uploads.
There are a few things I really like about the app:
- One the BEST features of Keepy is that you can have your child add their voice recording to an image and DESCRIBE their artwork. This is an amazing way to preserve memories. On top of that, your fans (grandparents!) can leave voice memos back!
- You can invite family members to join and get access to all of the photos that you share. This can be so much easier than sending texts with photos, although I do both 🙂
- It’s 100% private, unless, of course, you want to share.
- The photos are organized by child, so you can easily find images or artwork and add them to individual timelines. If you have a photo of multiple children, you can easily tag them both or all and the photo goes into all of the buckets.
- You can easily turn photos or artwork into photo albums or objects. I just ordered a set of mugs as holiday gifts for cousins, and the entire process took around 5 minutes.
See Keepy in action here ⬇️
2. Invest in an Art Portfolio
Store your favorite pieces in a bound portfolio.
My youngest daughter was in a fabulous Young Fives program, and her teacher had all of the parents invest in an oversized art portfolio to keep our memories for the year. We saved examples of our child’s artwork for the entire school year, and then spent a day or so tucking them into the portfolio. I loved the process and outcome so much that I went ahead and invested in more portfolios so that I could go back and save my older daughter’s work as well.
To give you a sense of scale, I’ve added some common toys and objects. This is the largest portfolio at 18″ x 24″. It’s large and bulky, but a lovely option for those of us memory keepers who don’t like to toss things.
3. Turn Your Art into a Photo Album
I’ve been a huge fan of companies like Shutterfly and Mixbook for everything from business cards to photo albums. My friend Jill at Catch My Party recently hosted a party with Mixbook, and I have fallen in love with this company.
The quality is incredible and the interface so easy to use. I just made three 2016 photo albums for family members and ordered our holiday cards from them.
Because I never took the time to make a photo album of arts and crafts when my kids were little, I’m now in the process of digging up old photos to create a memory book of my kids’ art. Given that my children are now 6 and 8, this seems daunting to go back and find all the work, but I’m finding that it’s not too bad, and actually a pretty enjoyable trip down memory lane to look at all the old photos and work.
You can create your own spreads with tons of layout and design options, and they also offer a really cute “Arts and Crafts” book template for those of us who are short on time. I’m a DIY gal, but I love the template and I know my kids will enjoy looking at the whimsical layout.
Here’s what I love about Mixbook:
- The interface is ridiculously easy to use.
- The templates are fresh and gorgeous.
- There are 100’s of DIY options for those who like to create their own look.
- The quality and aesthetics of the merchandise is high.
- They are always offering amazing deals. At the time of writing this, they’re offering a fabulous 40% off site-wide, and 50% off orders over $100. I used this code and saved over $100!
4. Find Display Cabinet Frames that Open
This 8.5″ x 11″ frame is designed to hold multiple pieces of children’s art. My dear friend Sarah has these in her kitchen for her three children, and swears by them. She often swaps out the work inside to reflect the season or what her children are currently working on.
My kids went to a preschool that made these useful frames that have a slot in the back that can hold up to ten paintings. With the high level of paintings that came into our home, these got a lot of use. You can read more about how we hang art in our home here.
5. Store Art in a Large Container
Save favorite artworks in an air-tight bin.
This is least fancy option of the bunch, but it works for those of us who just can’t get around to storing and making decisions about art. I’m sure Marie Kondo would have a thing or two to say about this, but let’s be real. Amidst the chaos of parenting small people, not all of us can muster the time and energy to organize art. And you can always go back and photograph it for your art app when you have some time.
I know this is less than glamorous, but it is practical for those who are short on time and big on storage. Get a weathertight bin like this one so keep moisture and critters out, which is extra important if you’re storing this in a garage or basement.
How to Organize Art Supplies
Now, if you’re wondering how to organize all of your art supplies, I’ve got you covered:
Read my best-selling book and get tips on how to foster creativity and independent thinking at home: TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors