January 22, 2015

organized art work: our system

After at least 5 years of saving every single piece of paper that my oldest two boys brought home from school or even scribbled on at home, Tyler convinced me that our house couldn't hold all the boxes of paper that I was keeping?!?!?!  I had no idea where to start – and wasn’t ready to throw out any of their drawings without a perfect plan!  After lots of attempts, I think we're almost there . . .


After a lof of procrastination and online searching (which always led to the photo books - which just wasn't going to work for me!  I had to keep some of the actual art), I found these artbooks at Michaels and finally have a system that works.  Now, when the folders come home from school, I’m able to throw away most of the math tests, handwriting samples, etc. that I know don’t have a shot of making the final cut!

Our System:

Each boy gets only one book per year (no matter what!)  I combined all artwork from birth (those first finger paintings where I slathered their hands in paint and pushed their hands on the page) until they started their first real 3 year old preschool.  So far, the 48 page books (with a  few extras jammed in the front folder) seem to be the perfect amount of artwork memories to save for a year.  I worry that as they get older and their school days become filled with more math and less art, we may have to think about merging more than one year into a folder.  Until then, this the our system.

Twice a year: (1) over Christmas break and (2) at the end of the school year, the boys and I pull out the over flowing file folders and get ready to sort!  It always surprises (and thrills me) to see how excited they are to sit down and sort through all their work from the year.  It must be genetic, because Tyler can’t believe they enjoy sorting and making the books!  Fingers crossed I get at least a few more years of this before they get bored with it.

This is what our May 2014 piles looked like – one the smallest to date!  As I get more confident that this is the right system for us, I more quickly toss the papers I know will never make the "Top 48" pages in the final book.
I’ve finally learned that this is best done one boy at a time!  I send the other two with Dad or let them play video games. It gives me the precious one-on-one time that is so rare between work and just having three boys!
I use the 9 x 12 portfolio books and usually buy them at Michaels or from Amazon.


Once Drew's papers were all sorted, we got to the fun part of adding the winners to the book . . .
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Sweet Drew was so proud of his new book . . . one more step closet to being one of "the boys"!
A completed book, ready to file away in their closet:

All done and on their bo
okshelves . . . ready to be pulled out for bedtime stories (which they actually do sometimes!)
Proof they make it off the shelf . . . this little guy is particularly excited to now have his own “art books”!
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And sometimes they even sneak in and take their brother’s artbook off the shelf . . . for reference purposes only!!! (that’s Ben’s 1st grade art book in the background – Nick wanted to make sure he was doing his puppet book report right!)
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