I must admit that when it comes to my children's artwork, I have a soft spot. I have a really, really hard time throwing their little creations away. At the same time, I have an equally difficult time figuring out where they will all be stored in our small apartment here in NYC.
For each child I have a 3 ring binder (filled with plastic sleeves) that I fill up with a years worth of their standard-sized creations (anything 8 1/2 x 11). I also have started including some pieces of school work, as my daughters have entered pre-K and kindergarten. So far, this archiving method is working well for us. Although, I will say that it is daunting that with 3 kids we may some day have 54 binders in our house if we keep this up every year. What keeps me going is the fact that my kids LOVE their binders. They beg to see their past artwork, and go through and look at how they used to write and draw. I am discovering that kids really, really love a connection to their past.
So, what to do with all of that non-standard size artwork? You know- the sculptures from preschool, the mommy jewelery creations, the winter artwork with cotton balls affixed. What to do? Some of it is easy to just toss, you can tell after a week on the fridge if your child wasn't all that into the creation anyway.....but what about that 30 inch rainbow that your daughter still takes proud credit for many weeks later? Not exactly binder size.
To solve this problem, I started taking digital pictures of my children's over-sized artwork. Natural lighting works best to capture these little treasures, but I will say a LOT of my photos have ended up being from flash photography- because I am working on the art-graveyard at night after the kiddos are asleep.
Yes, there is dissapointment when my kids have found out that their projects are "no more", but, at the same time they LOVE to watch slide shows of their work on the computer. "Oh, mom, remember that turkey?" and "Oh, that is when we painted on tin-foil!" can be heard as they excitedly remember the past.
I saw another art-work idea on Design Mom several weeks back. Love this idea. Too bad it is several thousand dollars to have this custom made. I am sure you could replicate something like this- if you got really creative with a nice scanner at Kinkos.
Have any other ideas on creative art-work storage? I would love some!!