Our Thoughts on All Things Home

Organization with kids. Is the impossible...possible?

If your kids are in school, your family is probably blessed with a multitude of artwork and worksheets coming home daily. While many of these items are treasures to be displayed, others may not quite make the cut. Here are some solutions to help manage the plethora of paperwork.

Make an art gallery. One of the most gratifying ways for everyone in the family to admire and display works of kid art and artistry is on a gallery wall. We have frames in our playroom that are rotating art shows. If you have a child who is more of a sculptor than a print artist, consider adding some shadow boxes or wall shelves to the mix--they are perfect for displaying 3-dimensional creations.

Create a zone for each child. Give each child a bulletin board in the kitchen. On this board, they can hang any item they adore. When the bulletin board is filled, each child can place items that must come down off the board into a basket of artwork in his or her room. And when that is filled, you make one of two choices for the contents: into the recycle bin or into an heirloom box for the extra special pieces.

It must be saved! For those extra special treasures, we like this idea for creating an heirloom box for each child: have your children decorate their own large cardboard box from IKEA. In that box, we keep all of the really fabulous items that must be passed along in the future, such as first drawings, first report cards or anything that tugs at your heartstrings.

It must go! So, there are things that just don’t merit display or long-term storage. In our houses, it is usually the kids' worksheets or doodles. To manage the piles of paper, we have an "art basket" in our kitchen. All of this type of work goes into the kitchen art basket. The basket gets filled for two weeks, until recycle day. If the kids haven’t gone back to the item to look for it, then it leaves on the recycle truck. To minimize anxiety over a completely empty art basket, we always leave a few of the most recent items in the basket.

In short, we definitely believe that with a little effort and kid cooperation, your home can both support your kids’ love of creativity and be a place of adult sanity.