5 Solutions to Organize the Craft Clutter

I’ll never forget when my daughter Emily caught me red-handed throwing away an art project of hers. She was crushed. But what’s a mom to do? The onslaught of arts and crafts pouring in from school, church and other extracurriculars can turn into a clutter nightmare!

We feel your pain: you want to preserve those preschool and grammar school masterpieces that come home each day, but the landslide of arts and crafts is taking over! Try one of these five solutions to keep what’s truly special and have an orderly home.

1. One Year at a Time. At the beginning of the school year, purchase a large flat container for each child and place it in an accessible location. As the art projects come home, enjoy them for a few days on display and then place them in your child’s memory box. At the end of the year, go through the box and select the best of the year for permanent preservation and discard the rest. The “Keepers” can then move to more permanent storage in the attic, etc.

2. Photo Books. If storage space is at a premium, take those best projects from the year and scan them into your computer. You can then easily upload them onto one of the online photo processing sites like Snapfish or Shutterfly, and have the images bound into book form—often for less than $20! Then your kiddos’ creations can live forever on the coffee table, clutter-free.

3. Creative Displays. There are some great ideas out there for displaying kid art in a way that adds to, rather than detracts from, your home’s look. Try stringing picture wire between two painted or affixed “posts” on a wall of the playroom—then hang the most recent creations up like colorful laundry. Frame up some favorites in inexpensive frames of various sizes to create a collage in the hallway. At the end of each school year, the kids can choose their new favorites to freshen up the display.

4. Seasonal Decor. Some moms use their kids’ holiday arts and crafts to decorate a fun, family-oriented space like the kitchen. Run some yarn or wire across the tops of cabinets or from the ceiling to create a holiday-themed wonderland.

5. From 3D to 1D. You know it took your child hours to assemble a model of the Empire State Building out of popsicle sticks, but there’s no way you can store his two-foot tall wonder indefinitely. Snap a picture of bulky projects, and preserve them that way! You could even include the photo in your annual photo book (see #2).

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