I have been keeping some of my girls' art creations (mainly drawings) over the past 5 years because I love the memories, and I love being able to show them how far they've come in their talents. However, if I tried to keep every single thing they've created, I would be drowning in papers. Do you know what I mean?
Instead of keeping everything, I keep only specific things. If it is their first time acheiving something, I keep it. For example, when my oldest started writing her letters, I kept her first attempts and the first time she wrote her name and the first time she wrote all the names in our family. Today, my three year old wrote her name for the first time (that I've seen) so that will be kept too. Or like when Laney drew her first picture that actually told a story, I kept it. Or when Noelle drew a person for the first time. You get the idea.
I also keep the things they are most proud of. All kids love to draw and color. But a lot of the times, they are coloring as an activity and don't really have an attachment to the end product. Every once in a while, they produce something spectacular that they are beaming with pride over. I keep those.
School is starting soon...not like I have any idea what I'm talking about since I have never had a kid in school. But this year, my oldest will start kindergarten (how I feel about that is a different topic). And I am anticipating that with kindergarten comes a lot of arts and crafts brought home. I know we're soon going to be up to our eyeballs in papers, glue, coloring, construction paper, etc.
So I got organized. I grabbed a large 2-inch binder, a bunch of sheet protectors, and all the artwork I've been saving over the last 5 years. An important note is that whenever I put something aside to save, I try to write the child's name on it as well as the date (specific or general) so we can look back and know when it was created. When I put them in the binder, I did it chronologically, from the first things we saved up to the present. I put one sheet per plastic sleeve if there was something to see on both sides. Otherwise, I put two pages back to back. Now it is my daughter's personal scrapbook of all her creations. And she LOVES to look at it!
Noelle has a lot less that we've saved. Not for lack of trying to preserve her creations, but because she usually doesn't let me keep them. Instead, she folds them up into "phones" or "wallets" and puts treasures in them. Or she wants to cut them up. Every so often, I can get her to let me keep a paper or two, which I know will increase as she gets more into creating. In the meantime, I still have her binder up and ready to be added to.
This has been a great solution for us and I'm excited for all the things she'll be bringing home from school.