Art and Stories By My Kids

Both my kids have shown a renewed interest in drawing and writing. It’s been pretty neat.

About six months ago, Crappy Boy and I were talking about how I draw pictures and write stories. Only I draw pictures on the computer. He says he wants to draw a story on the computer. So I open up photoshop, show him a few things and he illustrates the following story and asks me to share it on my blog:

The Apple, by Crappy Boy


Crappy Baby says he wants Crappy Boy’s apple.


Crappy Boy says no because it is too yummy.

But then he changes his mind and gives the apple to Crappy Baby.

But then!


Crappy Baby played a trick. He gave the apple to the cat.

The End!


(Is that cat not the most perfect sad sheep? I also love that although he has drawn bodies on people he refuses to because “it takes too long”. Efficient, like me.)

Then a couple months ago, both kids had their stories acted out by The Story Pirates. (Which is an acting troupe that selects and acts out kids’ stories on stage and it is hilarious and awesome.) Crappy Boy’s story involved a robot who “turns bad” and Crappy Baby’s story involved something that “smells stinky like the sheep’s butt at the petting zoo” an ice cream truck and an evil cat.

It was great, they were stars for the day. Well, except the part at the very end where the actors invite the kid writers onto the stage to bow and answer a couple questions and Crappy Baby yelled into the mic:


Then he ran off the stage. So honest. (And exactly what I say inside when I’m being interviewed.)

But sometimes the things they write and draw are rather, um, disturbing. Remember a few months back when I posted the artwork that I was having turned into silver jewelry by KidzCanDesign?

This was the art I picked:


The house is just one of Crappy Boy’s classic houses. He draws them exactly like that every time. They remind me of him.

The crazy looking Igor guy was drawn by Crappy Baby. I think the guy itself is cute but the story behind it is rather disturbing. “He is a baby locked in a cage and he doesn’t know how to get out of his cage.” Um. What? The art therapist in me twitches. What does it mean!?

Anyway, the house and caged baby have been forever replicated in silver and here is a photo. This makes me feel a whole lot less guilty for the inevitable tossing of thousands of pieces of original artwork. These will last forever. (The reflection made it tricky to show the lines of the art and I just couldn’t get it to look right in a photo so the bottom photo is after I filled it the lines in with a sharpie and put them both on one chain to wear them together. I can never leave things alone. I suffer from DIY disease. Huge thanks to KidzCanDesign for sending these to me, they are lovely.)

Seriously, what DO you do with all the art? Other than hide it underneath other trash to make sure they don’t notice that you put it in the trashcan, of course. Why no, I’ve never done that. Never. Ahem. The piles of artwork have reached hoarding level and it is surely a fire hazard. Help!

I’m in spring de-cluttering mode. It’s fun. I cleaned out the junk drawer yesterday. I found…things. Indescribable things. Indescribable because I have no idea what they were.

Your kids ever draw or tell a story that was eyebrow raising? Artwork de-cluttering tips? General de-cluttering tips? Come on, enable me.


PS – It bugs me that the word is ‘indescribable’ instead of ‘UNdescribable’. English is weird. ‘Indescribable’ doesn’t even look right. Actually now neither of them do. Sigh. 

PPS – Awesome giveaway of FIVE copies of my book is happening on Rants From Mommyland today.

PPPS – And another awesome giveaway of my book (and Jill’s book & Nicole’s book too!) here on People I Want to Punch In The Throat



This entry was posted in crafting for kids, crappy pictures, doing art, six, terrible threes. Bookmark the permalink.

214 Responses to Art and Stories By My Kids

  1. emma says:

    my mom saved it all… when they moved out of the country when i was in my 20s my brother and I helped her go through about 2 huge boxes of stuff. half the fun was trying to decipher what the heck we had drawn!

    • Lynnae says:

      we did this at my house too! too funny.

      i read about an idea that i thought was really cool – take pictures of all of the artwork and make a scrapbook out of the photos so you can toss the work itself (except a few special pieces, of course!)

      but of course, scrapbooks require effort and energy, so instead of de-cluttering, all i’ve managed to do is add to the clutter of his artwork with my scrapbook supplies. :/

      • toni adams says:

        I scan mine and make photobooks using the cheap online vouchers – its fantastic

        • Emily says:

          Wow, awesome idea! My four year old daughter is Prolific when it comes to drawing and painting. I thought scrap books were the way to go (loosely in chronological order – if I can figure it out. It’s a big pile.) but photo books sound awesome. Thanks!

        • Monica says:

          Love that idea Toni.. photobooks full of kiddie art.. just LOVE it!!

      • Monica says:

        lol.. I do EXACTLY that.. take photos of them all.. will scrapbook all the cute ones. And then there’s some great artwork I where I’ll keep the originals 🙂

        • mijjones says:

          A teacher/mum friend told us about that. take a picture of the child holding the art object then toss it. keep a few good ones. will clear up so much clutter and the picture is still there with the child and how old they were when they created it

      • Ali says:

        *Sigh*, me too. I read about that idea, too. Now I have pictures of artwork in a box somewhere, and artwork that hasn’t yet been photographed somewhere else, and scrapbook supplies someplace else. Basically, clutter of many kinds in many locations. Arrrrghh!

    • amy says:

      2 boxes isn’t much. I bet she did throw out most, but just kept two boxes worth, of the best ones. 🙂

  2. June1 says:

    Oh, man… Your description of Crappy Baby’s caged baby made me laugh out loud at work. 😀 This is seriously my favourite website in the world right now. I’m going to ask my husband if I can buy your book for myself as an early birthday present. I NEED IT.

    I came up with an idea for the artwork that my three-year-old son produces. I date and write his name on the really nice ones (the ones that aren’t just a line or dot or something ^-^ ) and put them in a special box. When he is older (I’m thinking ten or so), I’ll ask him which ones he wants to keep for memories and which are garbage. Hopefully, he can actually let go of most of them. Of course, there have been a few that I just had to frame! 😀

    • Laura says:

      We do that too! We have a plastic bin, and the nice ones (e.g., not a smeared glob of brown paint–seriously, that came home from daycare), I date and put in there. When he’s older, we can decide what to keep.

    • JenB says:

      I’d wait til he’s older than 10 (I’m thinking 18-25) cos most boys just aren’t sentimental about stuff they made when they were kids unless they actually remember it. Even then it’s a short moment of laughter and “Oh yea! The green booger guy!” before it too invariably gets tossed out. The exception to this is my hubby who, at 28, still had every knicknack and bit of blu-tack he’d collected as a kid stuffed into an old Milo can. When a hoarder marries a hoarder the marriage will be great but the house will be doomed…

  3. Chaya says:

    I have file cabinet where I file the art that i want to keep 🙂 the rest I take pictures of and file digitally!

    • Heather says:

      I do the same, but instead of putting it in the file cabinet, I put the art in acid-free boxes for long-term storage. The stuff I keep for the long haul are my very favorites, and have NO GLITTER and NO FOOD PRODUCTS.

  4. Val says:

    Scan it in, shrink the image, and then make a collage of the artwork. Have the collage printed and frame. Done! =)

  5. KpMcD says:

    I love your solution with the custom jewelry! How beautiful. There are companies that make plush stuffed critters out of your children’s drawings now too – though I think those are a little less lasting once the kiddos see them and want to play with them.

  6. My kids are famous for telling stories and drawing pictures. In fact, they could take over my blog if I let them (and some weeks–like the last few weeks when I we are trying to buy a house and prepare to move the family cross country–it’s tempting to let them). Last week, my son drew a picture of church that was out of this world hilarious! I won’t post the link for fear of being called a spammer, but it’s in the post titled “I’m Pretty Sure That’s Not What They Meant.”

  7. Hilarious. I can’t wait to have kids so I can stop having to draw stuff for my blog and just let them do it. It would look about the same, anyway.

  8. Suzy says:

    Once the kids were in school and artwork reached EPIC proportions, once a month (or whenever the pile threatened to overtake the home office) I would tape everything up on a large set of accordion doors, place the artist in front of it all (preferably wearing some hat or other wearable art), and snap a photo. The photo went in the scrapbook, the artwork went in the trash. If they felt really strongly about a piece, I might keep it, or give it to them to keep in their room. (Then, three weeks later when it resembled a crumpled tissue, I’d toss it.)
    Sentimental, I’m not.

  9. Pangolin says:

    Photograph or scan the best of the artwork to put in a photobook, then feel free to trash/recycle!

    Another method we use, is each kid has a craft door for storing art they want to keep; when the drawer is full they must decide what to toss. As they get older, they naturally discard stuff made when younger that they don’t remember or are even horrified by.

    • amber says:

      That photobook project is why I’ve kept it all. For SIX years! Ack, I fear I may never actually get around to it.

      • Kris says:

        I’ve been scanning everything but have no intentions of making a book or anything. It’s going to be one big digital file that he can look at one day and say “WTF, Mom. What is all this stuff?!”

      • val says:

        I use the app artkive- its amazing!

  10. penny says:

    Paper Mache and paper pulp projects? Sneaky woodstove starters…? We have reached hoarder status as well. It doesn’t help that the centerpiece of our house is a giant messy family art table. sigh. My thing I can’t throw away now is all of the phonetically spelled stories and notes my 5 year old daughter writes. They are like little codes into her mind. I am glad no one has taught her about spelling so that she can just go for it!

  11. Alison says:

    I throw away a ton of art. I feel bad about it, but I love love love that necklace idea. Thanks for sharing it. The pictures you chose are adorable.

  12. Melissa says:

    So funny! My daughter once drew a story about a cute little snail family. Which was adorable, until the end…. when the snail children were taken down by a pile of salt.

    For art storage, each of my kidlets have a box in their room specifically for keeping their artwork. If it is special, I put it in a file. When their box starts to overflow it’s time to clear it out. And if I find any on the floor, goes straight to recycle, no questions asked.

  13. Josh S. says:

    Crappy Boy Writes and Draws
    How my son landed a book deal with none of the hard work

  14. Sarah says:

    When my little girl gets older, I’d love to make her artwork into a book like this:

    • June1 says:

      Wow, that’s beautiful! Great, now I want a book like this PLUS jewelry like Amber showed us… 😀

  15. Carly says:

    My son ALWAYS finds art that has been thrown away, I just blame dad LOL. But What I did for the art you can tell is art (not just lines of nothing) is buy one of those notebooks with the transparent sleeves (there is a name for this but for the life of me I cannot think of it!). The first page I put a photo of him with the age and then just slipped the artwork in the following pages, sort of like a book. When he turned five, I put a new pic and just continued till the book was full. Now he is six, I’ll need a new book, but he loves to look at drawings he did when he was “little”. I did read a tip online eons ago about someone taking pics of their kids art and when they have enough they upload it to a photo website and get a book made. I thought that was a great idea, but my photo taking of artwork is um, horrid lol.

    I did take two or three pieces of art that I loved (the one he did of our canary KIKI and the family picture) and jut them size and put them on colored construction paper to frame and hung on my buffet.

    By the way, my son used to ALWAYS draw his people like that. It drove me nuts because he only did it cause grandma taught him that is how you make people. It took forever to convince him that people actually do have bodies in pictures and our legs and arms do not grow out of our heads lol

  16. Clare says:

    Art work management:
    We use art work to wrap presents. And as presents.
    We went to the beach, brought a bottle of glue. She drew with the squeeze bottle and then sprinkled sand on it.
    Later, she tells me the picture is of a “Snowman’s vagina.”
    I think she was 3.

    • Safa A says:

      LOL! that is amazing. snowmen must be damn uncomfortable with all that sand down there.

    • M says:

      That would be me, choking on my lunch, as I read this. Hilarious!

    • Sheindal says:

      Yep, we (read I, sneakily) use art for present wrapping. Then godparents and family members have the guilt of throwing it away, ha ha (or recycling rather, I hope), or keeping it sentimentally piling up in their house…Since I give them old computer printouts to draw on mostly it’s not really that attractive even as present wrapping paper, but I don’t care 🙂 I also recycle the ones that end up cut into tiny slivers or scrumpled up on the floor (quite a lot as they are only 3 and 2 at the moment.)

      Can’t help with general decluttering tips unfortunately, I was enough of a hoarder pre-children, having children has dis-enabled me to the extent that we have piles of “will come in handy when they are 10 or 11 years old” items in every corner and sometimes in the middle of rooms too.

  17. Kari says:

    Try using the “ArtKive” app or “Art My Kid Made.” I really need to use one of them. My daughter comes home with about 3 different things on average per week.

    • Leshelle says:

      I use artkive. best app ever. I take pics then toss in garbage.

    • amber says:

      I love that the answer to my post is, “There’s an app for that.” LOL, will check it out!

      • Carrie Z says:

        I use Artkive and I love it! I take pictures of them holding the artwork or just of the arwork itself. The only problem is I can’t get over the mom guilt of actually throwing it away so I still have boxes of it. Baby steps…

  18. songbird says:

    I take pictures of all the art work and then throw it away. If he gets to the point where he wants to keep any of it I will let him have a binder or box or something, but my hope is that over 18 years of living at home the stuff will not exceed one box.

  19. songbird says:

    also, I make photobooks at, which has reasonable prices for the ridiculously-sized books that I make (around 200 pages; I include all the pictures for a whole year, including all the artwork.) I mostly just want them to continue to be in business so I like plugging them when I can.

  20. tara says:

    Your necklace looks way better after you filled it in.

    I love Crappy Baby’s response to being on stage-that would be mine too!

    What if you took pictures of their pictures and then threw them away, but now have a digital copy? That sounds like a lot of work….

  21. Lea says:

    We save a few things each year and scrap the rest. My kids’ school does a square 1 art fundraiser every year so we have fridge magnets and Xmas tree ornaments of art projects too.

    Earlier this year, my 6 year old son drew a picture of his school on fire while everyone was smiling outside. I asked him about it and he said the school was on fire and everyone was going to have to go home since there was no more school. Luckily, he didn’t draw himself setting a fire or anything like that. And, I later realized that they had just had a fire alarm at school too.

  22. I don’t have kids yet, but my parents kept a ton of our artwork from when we were kids, and once we were grown, they just took photos of the art and tossed them. But then I saw this on Pinterest, and I think I’ll be doing this for any future children’s art!

  23. grateful dad says:

    its amazing how much stuff they create.
    best decluttering technique we found is that we save just a few items in bankers boxes, and take pictures of the rest.

  24. neo says:

    What a cool idea! Great way to make mementos of your kid’s art.

  25. Woolies says:

    De-cluttering? Not my forte.
    Saving kids artwork? Tupperware tub – the hugest one you can find. And then get another one too. 🙂

  26. Sarah C says:

    Artkive! I just found this app the other day and it has made me feel a LOT better about throwing away my kid’s artwork.
    Uh, throwing it away after it has been photographed and archived. 🙂

  27. Micki says:

    My daughter, now 24, used to draw this one particular dog on EVERYTHING from about the time she was 5! When I turned 40 and got my first tattoo, it was her dog that I had inked! I’ll have it with me forever! She still brags to her friends that my first tattoo is her original artwork. And I still love it.

  28. Madeleine says:

    We stick our favourites on the kitchen walls which will be our art gallery until they stop bringing art home. A very occasional one gets put in a clip frame. The rest get recycled when they are not looking! I did hear a tip of taking photos/scanning them and having a photo book made but who has the time for that? Not me.

  29. Jenn says:

    I keep nothing!!! I make a pile and when I have time I take a picture of each one. Then I make a book out of them!

  30. Natalie says:

    I only keep a couple of things I really like, the others I take a photo/scan of to file away digitally, then toss it!

  31. Jamie says:

    I put my kids’ art and school work into a pile in my bedroom. Every four months or so, I drink a bottle or so of wine, pile it up on the floor, go through it – toss anything that doesn’t impress me – and then bind the rest using a cheapish binding machine that I got at office depot. It really helps to compress all the pages and obviously to keep it organized. I project that by the time they are out of school, I’ll be able to fit it all in about 6 to 8 feet of shelves.

  32. Kaitlyn says:

    to avoid a build up of ‘artwork’ i buy them canvases and paint, they spend about a week painting then their artwork ether goes on the wall or as gifts to family

  33. Laura says:

    When my son got to the story telling stage, I would cringe at the thought of him regaling anyone we didn’t know REALLY well with his stories. They were completely alarming. His favorite for some time went like this: “When I was outside at night all by myself, it was really so dark and I climbed up the ladder to fix the bullet holes in our house. The End.” Um, what?!
    Also, your son’s drawing of the cat reminds me of an Ant-Ant!! Love it, lol.

  34. Stephanie says:

    My house looks like a preschool art gallery- pictures are taped up on most wall-type surfaces. I’ve tried to remember to photograph special art projects because I love making photobooks. We save some and recycle many drawings.

  35. Wendy says:

    Both of my kids wrote and illustrated stories when they were about 6 or so. DD’s was called, “The World’s Biggest Snowball,” and involved pictures of lots and lots of snowballs. DS’s story didn’t have a title. He drew a picture of two birds–a hawk and an eagle. The eagle said to Hawk, “Where’s my hair?” Hawk said to Eagle, “Get a wig.” In the last picture, Eagle is flying through the sky wearing a George Washington-esque wig. DS drew a thought bubble above Eagle’s head that said, “I hate Hawk.” I am saving both to display at their graduation open house celebrations. 🙂

  36. Jennifer says:

    My friend gave me this idea: All the 8 1/2 x 11 things I want to save, including awards etc, I have a 2 inch binder and page protectors. I put them all in the page protectors. My older son is on his 2nd binder, but hey, all consolidated into the binders are great!
    If the papers are bigger, I’m sure they make bigger binders. And yes, I have had to determine which are save worthy, and some just have to be recycled in the trash. A couple that especially warmed my heart were framed and are hanging on our walls.

  37. Aim says:

    My 6 YO son recently drew a picture of what appeared to be me with something in each hand, but I said, “Tell me what’s going on in your picture” to get clarification. His response: “That’s you, Mommy, holding TWO BOTTLES OF WINE!”

    I’m just really glad he didn’t draw it at school and have to caption it in his daily art journal at school.

  38. Michelle says:

    Mail artwork to grandparents and out of town friends/ cousins/ penpals with a short note from your child (written by you or dictated or a little of both). Let them throw it out when they want to! Actually, my friend did this to us, and I have not thrown out her son’s artwork yet. 🙁

  39. Jaclyn says:

    I use the Project Life (by Becky Higgins) idea for my son’s artwork! The inspiration came from this website and I LOVE it because I can keep all his stuff 🙂

    I love the jewelry idea too!

  40. Kay says:

    Love Crappy Boy’s drawing. The cat looks like a short-legged AT-AT Walkers.

  41. Monica says:

    My 7 year old son has always been interested in science. When he was 4 and in pre-k he started asking me all kinds of questions about lightning and we talked about how it could be dangerous. Fast forward a week and his teacher asks the class to draw a picture of something that is living and something non-living. I go to pick him up from school and he proudly shows me his picture of a man flying an airplane for his living thing and a man flying an airplane that’s getting struck by lightning as his non-living thing. Yikes.

  42. Amanda says:

    Once they get replaced on the fridge I take pictures of my kids artwork then print them out in wallet or 4×6 size, we have fund making a scrapbook of the pics with the kids and don’t have huge piles everywhere 🙂

  43. Donna says:

    I take pictures if the art they simply can’t part with. Works like a charm and then you could make a photo album for them one day. Best part all you need is a flash drive. 🙂

  44. Aliya says:

    The topic of what to do with children’s art came up recently in conversations with a bunch of mom. My favorite suggestion combination is to scan in the art to make a photobook (maybe 1 a year or every 2 years or something) of the best of it and give or mail the originals to elderly persons who would love a little bit of kid art to brighten their days.

  45. Aim says:

    When my 8 YO son was in pre-K, he had to draw daily in an art journal and the teacher would write down what he said was in the picture. He brought the completed journal home at the end of the year and there was one picture with the caption “Octopus Pie”. Confused, my husband and I asked him about it and he said, “No! I told the teacher it’s Optimus Prime (from Transformers)!

    I think the picture actually looked more like Octopus Pie, though.

  46. Melissa says:

    I save their art throughout the year, only if its unique and something I want to remember, not the daily scribble fake notes and random drawings they’ll redo a million times. Art from school, notes for me, etc. At the end of the year I take photos of each piece and build a photo book on shutterfly or somewhere. So I get to keep the art forever without…keeping the art forever.

  47. Kierstin says:

    For the “important” art work, I slip them into sheet protectors and into a 3-ring binder. I get the sheet protectors that have a little flap thingy at the top so any 3-D project will stay put and only minescule particles of glitter and sand will get in the box in which I keep said 3-ring binder.

  48. Kennedy says:

    I mail some of their art work to the grandparents (we have our parents and then there are three great-grandma’s as well so that helps) but most of it gets a picture taken of it, then it gets prime time on the fridge or the wall wire thing and then makes its way to the recycle bin. I have binders and the really special stuff makes it to a binder. Each kid (I have four but only three currently doodle) has their own external hard drive to store pictures on. So far its working and maybe one day I will make them into photo books to gift them when they get married or something. :o)

  49. Lisa says:

    We have one of those plastic file bins for each kid (2), and there is a folder for each school year (mostly for my older one who is in school). I pick out the projects from each school year that I really like, and they get filed. Some I pull out and put up for holidays. The others go in the trash. I have always liked the idea of taking pictures of it and making a photo book though. Can’t feel bad about getting rid of some of it, I don’t want to find myself on an episode of Hoarders one day…

  50. Mandy P says:

    We have started labeling them and scanning them to put into a book for my middle son. However, in the last week or so he drew over 500 pictures (my husband actually counted them). So now we are going to wall paper their room with them;)

  51. Tin says:

    With my kids’s artwork I scan it then make scrapbooks on the Walmart website. I can have a nice looking book with hundreds of their artwork in it and it takes up very little space. 🙂

  52. Leslie says:

    We do a lot of craft “recycling” at our house. Literally…and by we, I mean me. I recycle at the local park to the chorus of, “Mommy, what did you just put in the big green bin? What GOES in that big green bin?” I tell them that is a place for used paper. They haven’t caught on yet to what used paper might specifically be entering said bin. I also have a pile of “bests” and “firsts” on a window bench. My husband refers to this as flat surface syndrome. (If there is a flat surface to be found, I will locate it and place something–like artwork–on it.) The pile never gets higher than one foot. I have a friend that uses an app on her phone that I’ve most helpfully forgotten the name of; you take a photo of the drawing and it saves it. Kind of like a camera and a memory card, but an app, because apps are cooler.

  53. Chantie says:

    I LOVE this app. They offer one for both Android and iPhone. You basically take a picture of the masterpiece, and it uploades to your Artkive. You can order books, share with friends, etc.

    This app hugely removes my guilt from throwing away all the wonder pieces that come home from pre-school with my daughter.

  54. Bonnie says:

    Take some pictures of things, keep the special things, then put it all in a box and mail it to grandma and grandpa to do with what they will. Generally they’ll keep a few and throw the rest out, then you have no guilt about throwing it out yourself. 🙂

  55. Krista says:

    My son’s teddy bear Mr. Tweedles was apparently sick one day, so my son (3 at the time, I believe) drew him a get-well card. I looked at it — a sad looking child surrounded by circles — and said, “Great, honey…. What is this a picture of?” And he explains: “It’s a little girl in jail.” Saddest get well card ever! Perhaps, as my friend pointed out, he wanted Mr. Tweedles to know it could always be worse. I have a photo of it if you’d like to see!

    BTW, I love your necklaces and have to try this!

  56. Karol Michelfelder says:

    My children are twenty-nine and twenty-four and I just told my twenty four year old I had recently disposed of the box of their artwork that I had saved for twenty some odd years and never once looked at…..her reply was….I hope you scanned them all. Bless her heart.

  57. I love kids’ drawings – the expressions, movement or character they capture is often amazingly apt, or hilarious. For example, I’ve had the picture of me ‘dragging my son towards my birthday presents’ – drawn by my then five year old – photographed and digitised; it brings tears of laughter to my eyes every time I see it. Most pics though are in art storage boxes or trimmed and used for book-marks – kind of like we do with postcards. I chuck away a fair amount too though – only if I can bear to do so!

  58. Carrie Anne says:

    wow, after reading through these comments and seeing all the ways I could have saved years of my daughters artwork and didn’t…I’m feeling soooo guilty. To be fair I did save everything for the longest time, but then we started running out of storage space! My husband loves drawing and painting, and he was actually the one that said we can’t keep everything…I usually let something that my daughter has made sit out for a couple of days, and then if she doesn’t mess with it I also slide it under some trash/junk mail and “accidentally” throw it out…we still keep some of it, of course 🙂

  59. Francesca says:

    I am also an art hoarder. Paper is cheap and my daughters produce about 10 art pieces a day, most of which they hand to me, saying “I made this one just for YOU, Mommy!” My intention is to keep only the ones that demonstrate a new subject, skill or treatment, but since I didn’t grab the appropriate ones out at the right time the entire set of everything they’ve ever produced (that they didn’t immediately shred) is in about 8 boxes in my study. This is most definitely a fire hazard and I need to find time to go through them!!!

  60. Julie C. says:

    Back in their preschool days when their artwork was particularly cute & creative, I photographed their best pieces and made a calendar as a Christmas gift for extended family members. Killed two birds with one stone!

  61. Stephanie says:

    Every couple of months- or weeks if you have a ton, we sit each kid on the sofa and neatly arrange all of their artwork around them and take a picture of the proud artist with all their artwork visible. They can choose ONE to keep (until the next shoot ;), and one to give to a grand parent. The rest goes in the trash while the kid is busy admiring his photo 😉
    I still love the photos of my older kids with their artistry surrounding them. And no cluttered boxes!! Except of photos, but we’d have those regardless.

  62. Lissa says:

    I feel you. 90% of the stories that my daughter tells these days make me think I need to rush her into therapy.

  63. Jenny Trickett says:

    As far as disturbing things kids say goes….

    Driving out of our driveway and my 3 year old says “Mommy I want to hit a cat. I want to hear it go Crrrruuuuunnnnccchhh and it be alllllll SLIMY and yuck so you don’t wanna eat it…. ”

    Considering by some miracle nobody has ever run over any animal while my son is in the car…… WHAT inspires this?? I’m expecting a drawing of the crunched up slimy cat any day now.

    • KimM says:

      Can’t breath .. laughing too hard .. that is hilarious!

      How do they get such detail in such a short story 🙂

  64. Denise says:

    My daughter’s first grade journal was full of natural disasters. I was concerned a little at first, then realized she thought it was fun to draw volcanoes and twirly tornadoes.

  65. Jen says:

    Take photos of each piece of art then toss. You can make it into a printable book

  66. Angela H. says:

    I am already saving all my sweet baby’s artwork…. I plan to photograph it all every few months and publish it along with our annual family album via Snapfish or Shutterfly or some such site at the end of each year or two.

  67. Gretchen says:

    My husband insists we keep everything our daughter produces. She’s 8 now, and we have heaps and heaps… Fire hazard idneed!

  68. Lauren says:

    My parents had one box of art for each of us (those long, shallow plastic Sterilite bins you can get at Walmart or Target would be awesome). They saved some of their favorite pieces from each year- maybe 4 or 5, sometimes even elementary school homework or stories- and kept the boxes in an easy-to-get-to place to add to it. They rotated out our big artwork in frames around the house, mixed in with all of the “grownup” artwork. I remember thinking it was cool that we got to have some legitimate frames and spots in our house. It is fun going through all of those and seeing how we progressed and what my parents really loved. I’m glad they did it.

  69. Wendy says:

    My son drew a picture recently of a cat walking on a hill with poop coming out of his butt and falling into the ground and all the worms were coming up to eat the poop. I just smiled and nodded!

  70. Kristy says:

    I got this tip from a parenting magazine once… take the kids’ artwork and cut out pieces to glue to blank greeting cards (like the crafting ones you can find at Michaels), then give them to family for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. instead of buying overpriced cards at the store. Family especially love it; my grandmother has kept several of her birthday cards on the fridge for a few years now because they have the kids handprints and stuff (from finger painting).

  71. AH says:

    When artwork has ended up in the recycling bin and found by the 4-yo artist, my girlfriend told him, “Oh, that…yes, I put it in there for the recycling man to put up on his fridge. I know he will really appreciate it!” It worked. If only they’d believe that when they are older.

  72. Lucy says:

    I keep the best pictures and put them into one of those A4 folders with the clear plastic sleeves. Others go on the cupboard door in my son’s room. The problem is the ‘sculptures’. For Mother’s Day my son made me a ‘shooter booter’ out of a small box, with loo rolls stuck on each end, bound round with sellotape. I’m not sure how much time should pass before it gets buried at the bottom of the recycling box, or whether I could bear the guilt if that happens.

  73. Estela says:

    I take pictures of the art and then make a photobook. It’s handy because it all stays inside the book and you can make the books all the same size. And you can also write a description of what they are and when they drew them.

  74. Jennifer says:

    If it hasn’t been mentioned yet, check out the Artkive app for digitally memorializing the reams and reams of artwork.

  75. Elly says:

    My middle son when and in nursary, used to draw the whole family as pigs…. couldn’t help but wonder if it was a clever reference to consumer culture etc…..
    Interesting but not as disturbing as my daughter (3) who drew some random “people” on some red paper and described them as, and I quote(!) “swim-floating in a big puddle of their sticky blood-goo”
    shudder…….tha’ts what growing up with two big brothers will do for you… either that or we are heading straight for serial killer central, stopping at psychoville and crazytown……I’m going with the tomboy vibe myself. xx

  76. jenny says:

    I was volunteering in my daughters kindergarten class and she drew a very cool picture on the white board. She described it this way. “This is a picture of me in your tummy as a baby and you are in a monsters tummy because it ate you.” And that was about what it looked like too. A large furry monster with a person in it’s tummy, and another smaller person inside that persons tummy. Gotta love how the mind of a 4 year old works!

  77. Sandra says:

    We use the toddler as wrapping paper. He likes that we are giving it to someone as a gift. Maybe when it stops being just scribbles we will do something else with it. I like the idea of taking pictures of it and making a collage or something out of it.

  78. KC says:

    What to do with all the art… We just moved to the south of France and so before the move I went through all the kid art and the best of the best I photographed. Then tossed everything. Somethings I sent off to my mother’s house.

    It was harder to get rid of all of my stuff from college. So many sketch books and paintings, and boxes and boxes of duplicate photographs.

    My oldest who is 3.5 likes to draw stories all on one page in the same spot so most of the things she draws ends up looking like a horror story of scribbles.

  79. Julie says:

    I take pictures of all her art (well not the scribbles in a coloring book, but the stuff that we do together or the stuff they send home from “school.”) and my goal is to one day compile my favorites into a photobook. Nice, neat, compact.

    I LOVE those necklaces though, and hope to have something worthy of making into a forever keepsake like that some day.

    My daughter is only 2, so for now she doesn’t care, but we’ll see how it goes when she is older.

  80. Kathleen says:

    Right now each kid has a binder that we save drawings in. Plus a bin for the bigger stuff. No way can we keep everything, but we keep at least one thing from each year of school.

    The weirdest drawing by my older sun is a snowman holding a gun, another snowman bleeding, and “Violent is not good.”

    On the kids’ first day of school, I asked them to draw a picture of their favorite part of the day. My older son and daughter drew the playground at school. My younger son drew two people with big loopy squiggles over them. He loved when the tornado visited the school and carried two people away.

    My daughter (6) is awesome. I save almost all of her artwork – she loves mixed media collages. Watching her create is hard because it’s hard to imagine the end project looking decent with all the colors and patterns, but somehow it all works.

  81. Sarah says:

    I love the jewelry idea. My child is only 6 months old, and already I have a couple of favorite pieces that he made in daycare. I don’t think he had a clue what he was making, but I smile each time I think of him gnawing on the end of a crayon while the care providers helped him draw a picture for mommy.

    But yeah, at this rate I’m going to have to come up with a game plan to deal with the inevitable volume.

  82. Sara says:

    We have a ribbon strung across our dining room cabinets and when we run out of space she has to pick something to come down to make room for the new stuff. I keep the really good ones and we toss the rest together. 🙂

  83. Cassie says:

    I love love love the drawing turned into jewelry! What a wonderful idea and an even better gift!
    Here’s the mothod I have developed to help battle the mountain of artwork- When my daughter draws me something or writes me a story, poem, card, letter, note, etc… I put it on the fridge, inevitably it will fall off and when that happens we take a picture of it with her camera and then throw it away. That way it has been suficiently admired by all who enter the kitchen and then it’s captured on film to be preserved forever! Works great.
    She recently wrote up a “contract” for me to sign- stating that by signing said contract she will be given a whole day to do whatever she wants and in turn will not be allowed to ask for or accept help with anything for the entire day. It was surprisingly well worded and thought out. That one won’t be going in the trash! 🙂

  84. Cindy says:

    LOVE the charms! I have a charm bracelet that I wear everyday and basically have all the charms I originally wanted but this gives great possibility for more!

  85. Dave says:

    My oldest son drew a picture of a Robot with arms outstretched, microphones in both hands. He’s a rapper, you see. Unfortunately, in huge letters on top of the robot he wrote: “Raping Robot.”

    I put it on my wall at work.

  86. Anne says:

    I have large portfolio things I bought at the art store for each child. I date the artwork and slip it in there when it comes off the wall. Every year or so, I go through & only keep the best stuff from each age.

  87. Megan says:

    My 10 year old has some story suggestions for the caged baby: “I suppose the caged baby had his head severed. He tried to get out of the cage by sliding out but ended up with his head being cut off. So now he’s just a severed baby head in a cage, I suppose” I’m hoping she’s commenting on the drawing skills of crappy baby, and not just coming up with that all herself…

  88. Lisa says:

    My (almost) 4 year old says she can only draw slugs and jelly fish. Though, her jelly fish look JUST like crappy boy’s people, only with a LOT more legs.

  89. Jess says:

    When my #2 son was about 3 1/2 he said he wanted “500 corpses so I can poke out the eyeballs with a fork” o_O I have no idea how he came up with that since we had nothing resembling horror movies in our home.
    My art de-cluttering tip is this: 1. Eliminate anything that is crumpled/stained/torn unless it is THE MOST AMAZING PIECE HE EVER DID.
    2. Eliminate all but the best one or two of anything there are multiple versions of.
    3. Keep a few pieces that represent the best of particular phases/techniques/motifs.

    Oh, and my current spelling peeve right now is “unsweetened”… no, it’s not UNsweetened, it’s NONsweetened, unless some how the previously existing sweetness was removed :/

  90. Heather says:

    I just downloaded an app the other day called artkive, meant to store and share kids artwork. i haven’t used it yet.

  91. What a great blog post! I am the creator of the free ios and Android app Kidpix: Save Your Kid’s Art. As a mother of two young boys who crank out art at the speed of light, this was a huge problem for me. I couldn’t bear to throw out these masterpieces but my filling cabinet, walls, fridge, drawers etc. were stuffed with art. I created a way to digitally organize, personalize and share their art with my app. You can also back everything up to Dropbox through the app for safe keeping just in case. That feature is paramount! It was a huge labor of love and an app that has gotten some good reviews. I want every parent to have it so that they too can save their kid’s art history. As an unintended benefit, I use it for my own photography. I also have a “milestones” collection for each kid with their first potty poop, first lost tooth, first steps, first day of school, first whatever all with a pretty frame around it. Please check it out and let me know what you think. I love feedback both positive and critical from mom’s to make it the most awesome app it can be!

    • Carla says:

      Ha at the first potty poop – my husband took a photo of it and texted it to my mum, the only person he could think of who would be as excited as he at the achievement! I believe it’s still on his phone, too . . .

      My daughter is only two, but we draw/paint etc every day so there’s no way I could keep everything. I take photos of most things, and throw the art away. She’s so comfortable with this process that today she ‘proudly’ showed off her drawing to her dad then went straight to the bin and threw it in!

  92. Monica says:

    Both our boys are in school now so the papers get to the point where they could fill a room. Each child has a “SMALL” storage box… in that is one report card from each year, 2 or 3 art pieces from each year, and about 4 “Great Job!” homework papers…Once they get into High School it will probably only be Report Cards added. But this has really helped us keep the paper monsters under control. 🙂

    (we are going through Spring Cleaning too, we still have boxes from when we moved from IN to TX 6 yrs ago…this is a no no…they WILL be gone through and donated! LOL we are also expecting and propelled us into “oh my gosh our house is sooo not baby proof!” cleaning mode too) Hang in there on the de-cluttering!! it looks like it will take forever but it wont 🙂

  93. Emily says:

    I photograph most of my daughter’s artwork, and keep the best of it. I list by year (though now that my eldest is school age it goes by school year Sept-Aug). You can save a ton of artwork on a blank DVD and save a lot of guilt!

    I feel for my mother, who couldn’t save it all and had to pick and choose. She kept this one worksheet I did in kindergarten. You had to color in the three objects which should be blue and leave the fourth object uncolored. I dutifully colored the blue objects in and the fourth, a picture of the sun, I placed an X through and wrote, “No way!” I’m so glad she kept that. Hopefully my girls will feel the same way one day! 🙂

  94. Gina D. says:

    I saved everything for my girls in big boxes, and am doing the same for my son…17 years difference between the girls and my son. Then, sometime during the Senior year, it is/will be pulled out, and they decide what to keep and what to toss. The whole process brought a lot of laughs and tears with my girls, and I am sure it will with my son, as well. I also decided what to keep, and not let them have, for my own memories. I just couldn’t trash it all.

  95. Jessica says:

    I just read in a magazine that one mom takes pictures of the art then tosses the stuff

  96. Heather H says:

    I scan/photograph my daughter’s artwork and then toss it. That way I have a much smaller file of artwork to ignore! I actually did use her work last year to make an “ABC” book using artwork from school.

  97. Melissa says:

    I doubt you still read the comments this far down, but I had to say that Crappy Baby’s picture is great, it reminds me of a two eyes Mike Wazowski!

  98. Sarah says:

    I actually scan most artwork and save most originals. With it scanned, I can share with my far-away family. 🙂 – when I scan it, I name the file the date it was drawn (if I am caught up!)

  99. Emily says:

    I’m not inclined to keep most of our drawings… and neither are my kids. “Oh, look mom, you found an old drawing with my name on it… oh, I didn’t write it well… ugh I forgot fingers… what was I THINKING putting her in a yellow shirt! I can do better” then into the bin it goes whether or not I want to keep it.

  100. jade says:

    With 115 comments, this has surely been said, but here goes: Awaken your inner archivist. Scan & photograph, then put the images on a digital frame that rotates through the pictures (a cheaper option would be to use them as your rotating screensaver). Back ’em up to another hard drive just in case. Keep a handful of the very most wonderful pieces and frame. Turn many into a crazy decoupage collage on a wall. If you can’t part with tossing the rest, shred them and have some fun making thick funky paper with the kids. Maybe the pieces could become the cover for an handmade book that holds some of the survivors.
    Not that I’d ever have time to do any of these things…

  101. Ellie says:

    That was great! I think Crappy Boy has already demonstrated his creative capabilities (Crashy Cards) but it’s nice to have this further insight into his ability. 😀

    Amber, if you want to highlight the lines on your silver pendants and didn’t want the Sharpie ink to be a permanent fixture, you can scrub it off and then patinate the silver by using either a chemical compound that jewellers use called Liver of Sulphur (stinky) or, rather more healthily, stick the silver in a small tupperware box with a boiled egg (broken up) and the sulphur will patinate the whole pendant. Then you just have to polish up the raised areas with a silver polish (or impregnated polishing cloth) and you’ll have the lines of the design highlighted, where the polish couldn’t be buffed. (Apols if this is teaching you to suck eggs, or if someone else suggested this already!)

  102. princessq says:

    what i plan on doing when my kid gets old enough to draw is to scan all of his artwork and either display it in a digital frame, or print it out into a photobook. or maybe just scan it and keep it in shutterfly lol

  103. Miki says:

    Wow those silver trinkets are FABULOUS I want a set! Of course, these ones are your special treasures…but so gorgeous! You can get the kiddies designing more and market them!

  104. Angel says:

    If you really need decluttering help, check out FlyLady. She is a domestic goddess, specializing in 15-minute blessings, basic routines for your home and family, and seriously letting go of perfectionism.

  105. I photograph their stuff and then file it in the recycling…. Just today, my little girl who has just turned 4 drew me a picture. It had a roundish brown area with a taller pink pointed part protruding from it. Apparently it was a palace tower in a garden where the flowers hadn’t grown yet…

  106. Rebecca Letts says:

    A friend of my husband had the good idea of taking photos of every peice of art and then downloading them onto a digital photo frame. So, I diligently snap photos of my stacks of art before I hide them in the trash.

  107. Amy Annett says:

    We use artwork as wrapping paper. Everyone smiles when they see it, and it leaves my house.

  108. Ashlee says:

    I use my kids artwork as wrapping paper… it’s awesome and free! And they feel special too.

  109. teresa says:

    A few years ago we had a building burn down in town. We never saw the fire but the morning it was smoky and you couldnt drive down the street. My son, then 3, would draw pictures of the building on fire, using reds and yellows and oranges. Then he started to add people to the drawing or what he described as people running because the building was on fire. Before his fire pictures died out he would draw dad on fire. That was bothersome, but then he would scribble him blue and say that was water being pored on him.

  110. jennifer says:

    I mail some to the grandparents and let them deal with tossing/hoarding. The ones that dont get mailed are also “at gammys or papas”. Ive also heard of taking a weekly picture of all artwork spread on the floor or bed then toss originals. Makes nice little picture books for grandparents at the end of the year…

  111. Natalie K says:

    I totally understand the need to keep the artwork. I am an auntie to a pile of lovely lil girls. They draw me all sorts of lovely pictures. And I always hang them up in my house and then tuck them away to save. I will have at least one of them ask if I kept their picture. I keep them for at least a year or so and then I take a picture of the artwork and save it that way. I also have the girls pose with their artwork. I find it eases the anxiety that comes with tossing out pieces of childhood treasures. Hope that helps.

  112. Jen says:

    I have one project I’m not at all sure what to do with. A few weeks ago I opened my son’s preschool backpack to look over the week’s treasures. I unfolded a large white sheet of paper used for some sort of symmetry lesson (put paint on, fold, press, open and let dry). My little artist happen to choose pink paint. Once it was dry, his very sweet and very Baptist teacher asked him a question and then wrote at the bottom “Anderson, Anderson, what do you see? I see a pink clam looking at me.” Yup…that’s what’s written at the bottom of a painting so unexpectedly and unintentionally graphic it would have made Georgia O’Keeffe feel awkward. I don’t think I’ll include that one in a photo book.

    • crystal says:

      Omg u have to save it though!!! At least a pic of it for when he is older!!! Lmao!!!

      • Jen says:

        It will be saved, but probably not framed and displayed. Honestly, I laugh myself silly just thinking about it. Then, when I look at it and realize it is even MORE (unintentionally) realistic than I remembered, I laugh more. If the picture was rotated 90 degrees, it does more closely resemble a large, fake pink clam at the Monterrey Aquarium. The kids sat inside of it for pictures last summer. I am assuming that was his “inspiration” for this painting.

  113. Annie says:

    We have two loooong strings hanging horizontally across our kitchen wall, with lots of clothes pegs on. Artwork gets hung up there the moment it is presented to me. I adopt the “glowing with pride” facial expression and avoid too many questions about what it is, so as to avoid offence, then peg it up and wait until both strings are full to snapping point.

    When the livestock are in bed I then empty the lines and make two piles. 1. Recycle. 2. Keep (because it is exceptionally good, or the first example of some new skill (e.g. putting bodies on people) I cannot and will not keep 500 princesses that all look the same.) I name, describe and date the “keepers” so I know what the heck they all are in 20 years.

    5 yr old girl believes that I keep EVERYTHING in a special folder upstairs. 2 yr old boy does so little artwork I could keep all his and it wouldn’t fill an envelope. You can use paintings as wrapping paper, or keep a few of the nicer drawings and send as thank you notes for gifts, writing a message on the back that skirts round the fact that the artwork wasn’t created specifically as a thank you….

  114. Kate says:

    a) you mean I had a chance to get a copy of your book without paying for it??? hmmm….j/k I am sure the money form my ecopy of your book has gone to a much worthy cause (your, and hers, and her, and hers lifestyles…) enjoy!!!

    b) As for the piles upon piles of awesome cutesy things kiddos draw and make…I have no room in my home and I am heartbroken when i have to clear out, sooo, I have started taking pictures of them, artwork, drawings, stories, etc. and saving them to CD…when they (I have twins) are out of elementary school (the largest producer of said crafts and artwork) I will make a photobook on one of those trendy websites like to forever immortalize my kids arts & crafts from their childhood. Not to mention an awesome new torure device for when they bring home the boy/girl friends as teenagers!!! 😉

  115. cathy says:

    I’m just honest with the kids. I have a “favourites bin” where I keep, you guessed it, my favourites of their art. They know I toss everything else out in the trash. They’re okay with it.

  116. Jennie says:

    My daughter once drew a picture, cant remember what it was, but it was a nice picture. Maybe it was of a house? Oh well, that was not the point, the point is at the upper corner she made a box, and inside the little box she drew a little person. Her definition was “that is the no room grumpy box, and it has daddy in it!” Too funny!

  117. Kate says:

    When I was pregnant with my second child, my daughter (then 2) drew multiple pictures of me with upwards of 6+ babies in my belly. I kept feeling like I was never going to live up to her expectations! LOL

  118. Kate says:

    You know, I think there is an app for photo-ing and displaying your children’s artwork in an online gallery. There is one called Art Site. It is a paid app, but there are probably others.

  119. Kimberly says:

    I take pictures of the kids’ artwork and then every time I get a good coupon for a photo book – bam. That way I can keep everything, know when they made it and don’t have piles and piles of faded construction paper in every closet of my house.

  120. Renee says:

    My 3 year old is still a budding artist, and I luckily saw an idea on Pinterest before we were to hoarding levels: I photograph the artwork, then recycle them as wrapping paper or…at the recycling place. The photographs will be made into a small photo book…someday.

  121. jbee says:

    We save the artwork in a bin, and every few months bring it out to the garage for our “art gallery.” The kids help decide where it goes, and I use a staple gun to put it up on the walls of the garage, where we can enjoy it and it doesn’t clutter up the house. Over time it gets faded and dusty, and by then they’re ready to look at new stuff. So we recycle it and start over.

    As they’ve gotten older the quantity of artwork has decreased by a lot, and the quality has increased.

  122. Danielle says:

    My daughter is a prolific artist and she attends this fancy pants homeschooling school that has a woodshop and a ceramics studio. So now I have all that art work from home and the questionable woodshop cretions and ceramics stuff that’s not really anything.
    Early on anything on paper was used as wrapping paper. Didn’t matter who it was recieving the present. Now we have these cardboard boxes from ikea. Each kid (yeah there’s another one but he isn’t as artsy) gets one each year all there stuff needs to fit in it except a few pieces that get hung on a cord (ikea curtin line) in their room. This has mostly worked and helped the girl cull her work and keep only the very good stuff.

    Recently we were at a author/illustrator event and the author (Henry Cole) spoke about how he was inspired by his mother hanging up and kepping all 20 some odd variations of a drawing he did of the Empire State building. After hearing this, I had a little stab of guilt for all the works I’ve thrown away.

  123. Ophelia says:

    Every couple of months I box it up and post it to the grandparents. That way everyone is happy :). (They only get to see her once a year so this helps them feel connected)

  124. Karyn says:

    Hilarious pictures! We get some, umm, curious ones as well.
    Re: All The Stuff: My oldest is barely 4, but I have mentally filed a plan from The Amazing Trips (she has school-aged triplets and a younger child, ie: lots of crap). Each kid gets a small Rubbermaid bin to save whatever he/she chooses, as long as it still fits in the bin. Each semester, mom sits down with each child individually and winnows it down to what fits in a single hanging file folder. That file is carefully preserved along with the file from every other year, to be brandished at important lifetime events (graduation, bringing the new beau home to meet the parents, etc). Those may not be the exact details on her blog, but it is how my memory has chosen to preserve them at least; I think it sounds like a great plan.

  125. Amanda G. says:

    I’m thinking of getting one of this handy little devices it can scan even huge paintings and things without damaging them. I plan to make some photo books full of all the adorable artwork so I can keep them forever without hording all these massive, wrinkly papers.

  126. Avigayil says:

    Re: hoards of artwork…..I started throwing away the scribbles and just keeping the “best stuff” and then I bring it to work and scan them in color as a PDF file and just keep adding pages to the same file. That way I have them and can print out their pictures if I ever wanted to, it saves storage space and I can email the file to grandparents overseas from time to time. An idea…..

  127. M says:

    Those necklaces are amazing! I saw an idea on Pinterest for kids’ drawings. Take a picture of the artwork and minimize it, then put it into a frame as a collage.

  128. Matthew says:

    In and Un in the English language.
    In is often used as a negative/opposite of the follow word. eg. An indestructible object couldn’t be destroyed.
    If this was the case all the time, wouldn’t it put a funny twist on a popular superhero name: “Mr Incredible”. Does that he’s really good at telling half truths/lies? I bet he does nothing but update Wikipedia pages all day everyday with statements that couldn’t be verified.

  129. Jenni says:

    My mom passed away in September, and when we went through the stuff in her house, we found several storage tubs’ worth of pictures from when we were kids. She kept all kinds of things that I don’t remember, even drawings we made on napkins. Some of them even had the date written on them.

    My personal favorite is a picture I drew of my younger sister – the drawing itself looks like I was maybe 6 or 7, which would have made my sister 1 or 2. But I made her look like a kid, not a baby, and gave her red spots all over her face. She saw it and said, “What? Did I have really bad toddler acne or the measles or something?”

  130. Sara says:

    You know all of those relatives and friends that just love photos of your kids and “why don’t you send us more photos?” and “we miss seeing you, why don’t you visit more?” Send them artwork instead! Tell the kids that Uncle misses them desperately and would just love this drawing of an octopus, and then ship it out. Uncle can ooh and aah and put it on his fridge (or in his trash and deal with the guilt), and everyone feels like you did something special. Save the very best for your keepsakes or scrapbook or scan and make the collage picture that someone suggested (stellar idea BTW), and the rest fly off to a new home. Of course, that might make your artists a little more prolific….

  131. Erin says:

    I hate throwing out my daughters’ artwork out too. So every year before school and preschool begin I go buy two big pieces of poster board. I fold a piece in half and staple up the sides leaving the top open to make a folder. Then I write their names and grade or age before I let them decorate and draw all over it. Then as the year goes on I fill each with everything they bring home from school, and most pieces of artwork they do at home. When it is full or before a new school year begins, I just put them in their big tubs of childhood keepsakes until they out grow using their hope chests as toy boxes.

  132. Melanie says:

    Ironic that this is your post I read this morning. Last night my daughter and 2 boy nephews were telling my dad a story about poop. They were talking about how Rowan (oldest nephew) took poos on the grass, in my daughters boot and on my youngest nephews nose lol They were in histerics laughing about this. Don’t know how or why they chose to tell us this story but quite entertaining lol

  133. Bethany says:

    I bought some cheap, decorative picture frames, sans glass, from a thrift store. I spray-painted the frames a fun color. Then, I took chalkboard paint and painted squares on the wall that were the same size as the frames, and nailed the frames to the wall over them, forming a decorative “art gallery” that is kid-height on the wall. We keep a huge bucket of colored chalk next to it, and the kids can just draw whenever they want. The nice thing is, when they do a real masterpiece, it’s “framed” and “hanging” on the wall, and I can snap a photo of it. When they get tired of it, they erase it and draw something else. It’s an endlessly rotating gallery, and digital storage of their art takes up a whole lot less space. There are also sites where you can upload or mail in your kid’s art, and they make a coffee table edition art book out of it. Then you can toss the originals if you want and still have the art to look at.

  134. tearese says:

    my daughter is the only one of my kids that makes keepable artwork. I save them in a pile for about a month, then go through and throw away anything that looks half-hearted or the same as something else. For the rest, I scan them into the computer. I made a book on Shutterfly of all the artwork I saved, with like 5-10 pictures on each page, with a description underneath of what she said it is. that way, I won’t have to feel too bad throwing away any of the ones I saved…because there are waaay too many to fit in a binder now.

  135. Jennifer says:

    I have 3 long curtain rods with curtain clips (one on top of the other) hanging on a wall in the playroom. I hang all the art for the year (my son is 3 and has been in Montessori since he was 8 weeks old), August to August is the “year”. In July I gather all the artwork that is hung, take pictures of it and then make a photobook from shutterfly or snapsish of all the artwork for that year along with his school pictures etc. Then I choose extra special ones to save (i.e. things with handprints or especial genius works of art) and chunk the rest.

  136. Chrisy Schulz says:

    I take a photograph of them holding the artwork and sometimes I scan it. (Going to check our artkive app now!) I know many parents tape the artwork to the insides of their kitchen and pantry cabinets so they can enjoy it and not feel cluttered. Then they swap these out over time. As for unique artwork, my youngest son’s first written word was “FART” in a Tom & Jerry comic strip that he drew at age 5. He didn’t ask for any help spelling it. The first word he could spell out loud was B-U-T-T because his older brother would spell it versus say it because he knew it was sort of considered a potty mouth word. I’m so proud. Reminded me of the “peacock” story from your book.

  137. Angela says:

    We wallpaper his bedroom with things we’ve kept. He even managed to get a couple on the ceiling! I made a point of hanging a few doodles that were in pencil or didn’t fill the paper – because art includes “negative space” right??

  138. Tanya says:

    Ikea makes these great cable wire display thingies with little metal clothespins. We have one on the wall in our kids room and we hang all their artwork there. The nice thing is it came with 20 or so clips, so when the line is full we pick which picture to take down to hang the new one up. I hand my kids my cell phone and let them photograph the old one and then we get rid of it. (Or, more accurately, I put it aside to get rid of it out of sight later.) One day I plan to print all the photos in a soft book for them.

    Here’s a link to the cable line:

    We did one long display – probably 6 or 7 feet long instead of short ones.

  139. Elizabeth says:

    My oldest drew a picture of our family while at school one day…all the boys were atomically correct…even the dog…i received an email from his teacher letting me know they had a talk about how he can’t draw stuff like that…yikes!!!

  140. 12tequilas says:

    What’s the turnaround time on KidzCanDesign? I am thinking this would be great for Fathers Day.

  141. amy says:

    Our 3.5 step plan for art decluttering:

    1. Display the art any way you choose. I really like the ikea curtain rod trick that Tanya (2 posts prior to this one) shared and will be implementing something like it asap. (I like to date the art when it’s put up in preparation for step 4.)

    2a. Explain to your artist(s) that once the display is full if he wants to put up a new creation one of the old ones has to go. Let him choose what goes and what stays. (You can do this with lego creations too, btw.)

    2b. Save YOUR favorites. (And don’t spend any time worrying about whether or not it’s too similar to something you’ve already kept, that gets dealt with in the next step.) The rest goes in the garbage with the full knowledge and consent of the artist. So no more burying it underneath other trash.

    3. At the end of a given time period (or just whenever the pile gets too big, we usually end up doing it every six months or so) go through your secret stash and keep just the best of those. Enough time has passed that you should have the perspective needed to spot the real gems. Preserve these in whatever manner you prefer.

  142. Jessica says:

    A pair of weird alien head things with googly eyes drawn by my 4 year old son. He proudly displays it to his father. “It’s me and daddy! But mommy’s no there because she got dead.” He seemed to sense something was amiss in the awkward silence, so he looked imploringly at me and added, “…sorry mom.”

  143. Laura M. says:

    This could feed your DIY self and your declutter self:
    Basically you scan pieces of kid art in color, shrink them down and then frame ’em.
    Mini art hoarding!

  144. Anne_Hedonia says:

    1. Long time lurker, first time typer. LOVE your blog. You have a good sense of humor. I said it like a kid because it seemed appropriate. Then I almost typed ‘apropos’ just then and nearly blew it.
    2. Re: Kid stories, have you seen this? Epically delightful:

  145. Cristin says:

    I only keep my favorites, but sometimes I take pictures of a group of arts & crafts with a common theme and make a collage in Photoshop. For example, I made one of all the fall crafts and one of all the Christmas crafts my daughter made.

    Totally guilty of the hiding artwork in the trash rule! Then my daughter caught me doing it. I told her that we can’t keep everything because our house is too small, so I just keep my favorites. She accepted that more than I thought she would.

    I also do something similar to Amy’s suggestion above, where I save favorites and pare them down further later.

  146. Erica says:

    Oh My!! Our 3.5 year old draws people just like crappy baby does!! His animals look like that, too! I just showed my husband and he asked if our son drew it 🙂 I just love them, and also plan to have one of his turned into a pendant.

    Love the blog. I love your honesty, and always good for a laugh. I always feel I can relate!

  147. Karon says:

    I must be the only mom in cyberspace who has no interest in scanning and/or taking photos of every piece of artwork. I don’t have time for that. 😉 I save artwork/schoolwork that is: really good (i.e. the art teacher hung it on the wall at school), features a picture of himself or our family, has personal writing about himself, is really funny, or is generally something I think he might possibly want to see again someday. For everything else, I spread out a pile and say “you may keep __# of items” — if there are 10 things out, he can keep 3 — if there are 5, he can keep 2, etc. (I do this with toys as well). It works well, and he often chooses things that surprise me and I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen to keep.

  148. Wendy M. says:

    You’re making me want to pull out my 9 year old’s 2nd grade work. The entire year, all her stories were about a squirrel and they always ended with everything blowing up. The stories were very varied. But they always had a squirrel and an explosion. They were both mysteriously gone by 3rd grade.

  149. Erica says:

    Artkive. It’s an app that stores pics if your kids’ artwork and files it for you. You can also share AND print books. Love, love, LOVE it!!

  150. Lisa Lutes says:

    Every few months I tape it all to the bedroom wall and take a picture of her standing in front of it. Then I throw 99.9% of it out.

  151. Di says:

    When my kid paints on larger sheets of paper, I use it as wrapping paper for gifts. If it’s something “special,” of course I keep it. But there’s always plenty to use for wrapping.

  152. Goodness, breathtaking thought! My four year old little girl is Prolific in terms of drawing and painting too.

  153. Kristy says:

    191 comments…I wonder if you’ll ever see this. 😉

    Hey, I suffer from DIY disease too! Why would I buy something when I can send twice as much money and all my free time to make it myself? The silver does look better with black.

    You crack me up. I think we would be friends.

    Clothing gift boxes, like from the department store, make good art paper holders. I throw a lot out and save piles then every now and then (once a yearish) will go through it and put it in a gift box. Then label the ages.

  154. MAMAtoFOUR says:

    Frames that hold 8.5×11 can hold MANY pieces of artwork that are that size… on top of another(;. NO GUILT.

    Another thing I do is make a keep and give to grandparents pile. I take care of my pile then I get big mailers and mail all of the others the the various grandparents. WALA! I don’t have the guilt of toss…..and if the grandparents want to toss instead of keep their precious grandchildrens’ drawings & artwork-well, thats their deal(: . I have done my job.(:

  155. Laurie says:

    3-ring Binders…as soon as the artwork comes through the door, 3-hole punch it and put it in the binder. When the binder is filled, mark the dates on the edge, and move onto the next. Easy to store and go through later in their life…

  156. Alice says:

    Is The Doctor in? That’s clearly a TARDIS not a house. I’m betting it’s bigger on the inside.

  157. Judy says:

    God bless you that you read all these comments. I skimmed, so if I am repeating what someone has said please forgive me … I bought a big 5″ binder for each kid and filled it with those plastic sleeves. If the artwork is flat and 8.5×11 or smaller, I slip it into one of the sleeves and write their age and a brief description, if needed. This is only for special pieces: something funny or sentimental, something that shows a major step forward in their development, or something I just thought was pretty. Everything else gets put in the recycling bin. It pains me to do it, and they do sometimes get upset. But we have talked about it, and they know I just cannot store it all. They each have a mementos box in their room, and I always give them the chance to put it in their box if they don’t want it recycled.

  158. Trish says:

    I totally do the “hide stuff under other trash so my kid doesn’t see”. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who does that! Not only do I do that to my kid’s artwork, but also the artwork that her friends gave to her. I’m sorry, but I can’t keep artwork from kids that don’t belong to me.

  159. dreamyowl says:

    Is there a way to hear/read the kids’ StoryPirates stories? We love to listen to them on KPL, but insider see a link for finding stories on their webpage 🙂

  160. Sara says:

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments, so forgive me if someone else already mentioned this. Have you heard of ArtKive? It’s a smart phone app designed to take high quality photos of your kids art work, then you write a caption about what the hell it is, and when you have a handful you can choose to print it out in a neat little book (think shutterfly) and store it easier. And it’s not limited to paper art work. Photos of block and Lego structured are encouraged too. And then you can throw out the originals if you want.

  161. Amy says:

    Your book arrived the other day and I loved it very much. I was sitting I. The living room with my boys (nearly 7 year old twins) while they watched some pre-bed telly. Several of the stories made me laugh out loud and my you gets son asked if he could read the funny book.

    I thought about it for a while and when I finished it decided to let him because I wanted to see if he would ‘get’ the humour. Boy did he! He read the whole thing the next morning and regaled his brother with the ‘poop’ stories (his favourites).

    A couple of days later I noticed a drawing sticking out of his school bag. Turns out he had recreated a comic strip of your penis-pizza scenario and had taken it to school to share with his teachers.

    I am, in equal measures, proud and mortified so, um, thanks 😉

  162. Amy says:

    Holy bejesus, where did all those typos come from? I blame that damn puppy.

  163. Lyndsey says:

    I didn’t read all of the comments… Sorry if this is a repeat!
    Artkive!!! Take pics of “art”, put on artkive, make book later!
    Or, my friend who lives far away who also has. Very talented toddler, uses them as wrapping paper or pen pal gifts. It’s way easier to throw away some ones else’s “art” verses your own kid’s art!

  164. Amberwj says:

    I use artkive too and love it, but am waiting for just the right piece to try out this 3D awesomeness

  165. Hilary says:

    So many good suggestions here for decluttering! Thanks everyone! My favorite suggestion was kidpix. Very cool app. I spent about 30 mins taking photos of art and then recycling it today. Then I made a few postcards to send to grandparents and a neat coffee mug for my husband. Love it!!!

  166. Kimberly S says:

    My 20 month old daughter saw the picture of the cat that looked like a sheep…and promptly mooed.

  167. Rebecca says:

    In our house each kid has one Rubbermaid bin for treasures and memories — favorite artwork from daycare, each year’s Christmas card, special birthday cards, etc. I figure each time it gets full, I’ll weed out more. Prevents me from keeping too much, but also makes me feel less evil for tossing out 99% of the artwork, etc. that comes in. And, yes, I hide it under coffee grounds and pasta sauce too.

  168. Beth says:

    Awhile back I found a link for a website where you can make a coffee table book of your kids artwork. That way you get to keep it without having all the clutter of all the loose pages. Here is the link:

  169. Tracy says:

    OK as others have said I take a picture, and throw away the original. I’ve never made a book though.
    I was an art teacher for years before I had my LO so I’d get TONS of pictures from my kids. I liked them and felt really bad about throwing them away so I saved nearly all of it, which meant after only the first 3 years of teaching I realized I had several boxes of art. I will admit I’m a pack rat, but even I realized I could not keep everything or I’d be drowning in it very quickly. I went through it all, kept only about 10-12 of my absolute favorites, took pictures of the rest and recycled them. That’s what I do now. I save only 3-4 a year take a picture of the rest and get rid of all the others. I don’t feel too bad since I still have a picture, and the only space they take up is on my hard drive.

  170. Play Possum says:

    I love those early drawings of people that they all look like Mike Wikowski from Monsters.
    One of my most treasured possessions is a drawing my now 20 yr old son made when he was 5 and I was pregnant with his little brother. They were told to draw a picture of their mom…so he did…the teacher asked him what’s this right here …. “our baby”. He even drew a tiny baby in my belly…

  171. Kate says:

    When my daughter was little, the daycare would put all of their artwork into a 3 ring binder. I have seen other people scan in their kids drawings and make photo books out of them.

  172. Hilsinger says:

    whoah this weblog is magnificent i like studying your posts. Stay up the good work! You already know, a lot of people are searching round for this information, you could aid them greatly. |