To Keep or Not To Keep

Container of artwork all thrown in together
Container of artwork all thrown in together

How do you decide what priceless artwork to keep during your children’s school years?  This is one question I have been battling since my children started school.  I truly do cherish my children’s artwork and effort they put forth in showing their love to me and my husband, but it is so hard to determine which piece of work to keep and for how long.  In one week, they can come home with at least twenty different creations that are valuable to them.  I have listened to other moms who have found a variety of solutions to this dilemma.

  1.  Have your children decide what to keep and what to discard. (My children would likely end up wanting to keep them all.)
  2. Set a limit; allow the children to keep a certain amount of artwork each week.
  3. Keep want you want and throw the rest away without them knowing.

At this point in time, I have been following example #3.  This strategy has not come without its fair share of trouble when my children have found them in the trash.  “Mommy, why are you throwing away my papers?  I made them for you.”  That stings a little bit.  It looks like I need to try a different tactic.

Organized container for each child
Organized container for each child

Once a decision has been made of what to keep and what not to keep, I’ve had trouble organizing it. Out of convenience, I have put the papers of all three of my children in one container.  I decided I needed a better system.  After much research, I came up with a simple method to organize each child’s artwork by year.  I have now given each child their own container for safe keeping.  I know when my children have grown I will miss their artwork.  If nothing else, their artwork will serve as a reminder of their love and affection.  One day, I will return their artwork to them when they have a home of their own and they can see how small their handprint was when they were young.

How do you decide what to keep or discard?  How do you organize it all?



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Angie and her husband, John, live in Edmond with their three little blessings: Addyson (6/2008), Haley (11/2009) and Paige (9/2012). Angie received her Bachelors in Marketing and her Masters in Management both from Oklahoma Christian University. As each child came along, Angie has adjusted her career to accommodate the active life of her daughters. She now works as a Marketing and Development Coordinator for Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care. When not working, she enjoys chauffeuring her kiddos around and watching the latest chick flick with her husband – much to his dismay. When time permits she enjoys a good pinterest project and reading a good novel.


  1. I also organize by year and discard those pages with just one scribble behind her back. I try to get creative with some if it too. Some we hang for a while, even frame sometimes. Someday I want to make a gallery wall with my all-time favorites to remind me of this fun time. A few pieces end up in baby/birthday books (esp handprints) or scrapbooks (esp milestones or holiday pieces). I agree, it’s tough to decide what to toss, so I end up keeping the majority of it. Why not? Love your idea of passing it on to them someday.

  2. That is a great idea to make a gallery of the favorite items. At one time we hung some favorites on the wall in the garage and thst was fun to see everytime we came home.

  3. I also think it is important to keep some of their art work especially if the child has invested very much time or effort in the creation. If you allow a certain amount of space for each child to display their treasures, then they can decide if the new creation goes on display ( which means discarding the old) thus giving them a voice in the decision.


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