Now that school's more than halfway over, you may notice that your home has been transformed into an ad hoc art gallery. And that's putting it nicely. To put it not so nicely, every scribble and scrap that has ever been created in your child's art class might be taking over your tabletops, office walls and refrigerator.
Thanks to technology and innovative ideas, there are better ways to store and organize a little one's works of art.
"Creativity is one of the facets of growing up and learning -- and, especially at a young age, a child's scribblings and drawings are more of an indicator of advancement in learning than anything else," says Allison Cruz, director of the Smithtown Township Arts Council, based in St. James. "Keeping some of that art is a good way to show them that you value creativity."
My Keepsake Portfolio
This handy organizational My Keepsake Portfolio is made out of cardboard and has nine expandable pockets that can hold paper up to 12 by 18 inches. Each pocket has a tab for labeling, so you can organize any number of ways -- by grade, subject matter, etc. $20 at lakeshorelearning.com.
Mini Masterpieces Album
Snap photos of all the artwork -- and of the artists at work -- before throwing out the art itself for the Mini Masterpieces Album. Then, each year, make an album of the highlights. Your child can even title the pieces and describe them in the album, and he can flip through his album of work. You can also send a copy to grandparents so they, too, can see your child's masterpieces. $40 for a 20-page book at shutterfly.com.
Send a Plum Print box filled with your child's masterpieces (you can send them everything from paintings to pottery) and they'll digitize them and put them into a hardcover or softcover book for you. (You can also choose to get the digital images only.) The company takes photos of the art, organizes and artfully puts them into the book before shipping it (and the art) back to you. Starts at $85 for a softcover book at plumprint.com.
My Art Portfolio
The My Art Portfolio has nine expandable folders, which can hold dozens of 12-by-18-inch papers. You can also personalize the portfolio with a 4-by-6-inch picture or drawing in front. The carrying handle makes it convenient for your budding artist to bring it to his art station. $25 at alextoys.com.
Blick Archival Storage Boxes
For a more sophisticated look, go for these extra-durable, acid-free clamshell Blick Archival Storage boxes, which come in various sizes. The strong metal edges on the corners will prevent the art from being crushed. Starts at $9.75 at dickblick.com.
Store and protect oversized artwork up to 12 by 18 inches in this nine-compartment Art Portfolio. It's also got a cover pocket for a photo and a handmade label. You can get it personalized for an additional $6. $18 for one or $28 for two at onestepahead.com.
Art Storage Box
Grab one of the Art Storage boxes per child per year, label the box and store your favorite (or their favorite) pieces of oversized art. These eco-friendly boxes are made from heavyweight 80 percent recycled fiberboard and have metal reinforced corners and edges, so they'll hold up to years of storage. $12 at containerstore.com.
Dignitet Curtain Wire
Hang the Dignitet Curtain Wire in your home for a rotating display of your child's best artwork. It comes with hardware and curtain wire, and it can be mounted directly to the wall or to the ceiling. Instead of hanging a curtain, use it to hang all the art. You can purchase curtain hooks with clips that can hold onto paper. $13 for wire and $3 for clips at ikea.com.
Lil' Davinci Art Frame
Each of the Lil' Davinci Art Frames can store up to 50 pieces of art, and they open easily so you can pop in each paper as they arrive home from school. You can hang the frame horizontally or vertically, and the simple black frame is designed to match most interior styles. Starts at $30 at hearthsong.com.