As I write this post, a piece of artwork sits 6 feet from me. It's dated "1965." The artist? It's the first-grade version of Frank Buck. To see it, come over to this week’s blog post at this address: bit.ly/frankbuck115. If you're having trouble figuring it out, it's a Christmas tree.
So what's the point? There are three of them.
1. A child's artwork is a valuable thing, and it's not something you want to throw away. This Christmas tree, crude as it is, was special to my parents. It was something I made as a young child. Today, it's special to me because it was special to them.
2. Children produce lots of artwork. School has started a new year. If you have young children, watch the artwork start to accumulate.
3. After a while, the volume becomes overwhelming. The refrigerator door can only hold so much. Wall space is finite. You hate to relegate a child's art to boxes stored in the attic, but you're out of room. It's a shining example of having too much of a good thing.
Below are three suggestions for how to celebrate your child's artwork.
Take a collection of your child's artwork to a local office supply store. Have the printing department laminate each piece for you. You have instant placemats.
We all need placemats. Plus, who wants to look at the same ones week after week? A large stack stores in a small space. Each week, rotate them and bring out a whole new set.
Guess who else would love to have some placemats? Grandparents. Like you, they love your child's artwork. Like you, they are also out of wall space. When your children visit grandma, watch their faces light up at the sight of their creations on her kitchen table.
While wall space is finite, digital storage is limitless and cheap. Take a photo of each new piece of artwork as it arrives at home. Periodically, open a new PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation. Start dragging the photos into that presentation, one picture per slide.
Whenever you want to enjoy artwork, pull up the PowerPoint and play the slideshow. If you are able to project video to your television, you could also play the presentation there.
Make a photo album
If you use Google Photos, you can create an album with just a few clicks. For years, I felt my photos weren't nearly as well-organized as other elements of my life. That all changed with Google Photos.
Inside Google Photos, look for the "Photo Books" icon in the left-hand pane. If you already created an album for the artwork, you can select "Start from an Album." If you're like most people, your photos will be all over the place. No problem. Scroll down and choose "Start a new book." Click on each photo you want to include. A single book will hold 100 photos.
Drag pictures around to rearrange them. Click on any page to add a caption. The entire process is surprisingly easy. When you're happy with the album, placing the order is intuitive.
Gone are the days of having 100 pieces of your child's artwork in a box stuck in the attic.
Instead, you'll have a beautiful photo book containing those 100. It will be on the coffee table for everyone to enjoy. In time, you'll have more than one. Just imagine … five photo books on the coffee table is manageable. Those five just took the place of 500 pieces of artwork.
The artwork is safely digitized and also preserved in a hard-copy photo book. Now, it's easier to let go of the original pieces of paper.
Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. "Global Gurus Top 30" named him #1 in the Time Management category for 2019. Dr. Buck speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach him through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.