School is in full swing and your child is even more gifted than you originally thought. It seems every drawing they bring home is worthy of the refrigerator. That is of course if the refrigerator wasn’t completely covered with permission slips, poison control information, doctors reminders, take out menus and Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons. So with limited refrigerator space the question becomes….what are you going to do with your child’s art work?
Until you figure it out, the counter will have to do. Unfortunately however you start preparing dinner and the art work moves from the counter to the kitchen table and eventually to the floor. Now you have to ask yourself… “if the art is so beautiful, so worthy of keeping, why is it sitting on the floor?” In that moment if you realize that it may not be worthy of keeping after all, please throw it away or recycle it. There will be more art work. Promise. Now, if it is worthy of keeping you need a place to put it immediately before it becomes another piece of clutter or potential fire hazard. So here is what I suggest to most of my clients with the same dilemma:
Step 1: Buy two containers per child.
First container: Temporary bin: http://www.containerstore.com/shopproductId=10009590&N=&Ntt=boot+boxhttp://www.containerstore.com/shopproductId=10009590&N=&Ntt=boot+box”>http://www.containerstore.com/shopproductId=10009590&N=&Ntt=boot+box
To be housed somewhere convenient- close to the main point of entry for the family (hall closet, kitchen cabinet, home office, etc.)
Second container: Permanent bin: http://www.containerstore.com/shopproductId=10001213&N=&Ntt=underbed+storagehttp://www.containerstore.com/shopproductId=10001213&N=&Ntt=underbed+storage”>http://www.containerstore.com/shopproductId=10001213&N=&Ntt=underbed+storage
To be housed underneath the child’s bed to whom the stuff belongs.
Step 2: Label each bin with your child’s name.
Label the first container Patricia- Work of art! (this means TEMPORARY)
Label the second container Patricia- Keepsake! (this means keep forever!)
Step 3: Game plan. When the child comes home and shows you their work of art you praise them and ask them to put it into the “Work of art” bin. If they do it, it usually means it is b/c they value the item and want to see it in a safe spot away from the dog or their brothers or sisters. If they don’t, this generally means they don’t value it as much and this hopefully makes the decision for you to throw the item away a little easier.
Step 4: If you do not want to involve your child in the decision making process then simply place all artwork you choose to keep in the temporary bin. This allows you to have a place for everything when it comes in the door! No more excuses for it to sit in the kitchen, the car or the family room.
Step 5: At the end of every month sift through the temporary bin and move the true keepsakes to the “Keepsake” bin. This will allow you to evaluate how your child has evolved over the past few weeks and help you determine what is truly worth keeping or not.
****If something makes it to the “Keepsake” bin it MUST be labeled with their name, the date, where they did it and the significance of the project. Otherwise it will just become another finger painting by one of your kids and no true memory will be associate with it.
Step 6: At the end of every school year go through the “Keepsake” bin and whittle down as much as you can. Chances are your child will not value these things in a few years as much as you do. Harsh I know, but think about the things you have from your own childhood….what are the things you value and are grateful to have?
Now you have a place to store each of your child’s artwork as soon as it enters the house (temporary bin) and a place to store the memorabilia you would like to keep forever. “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Now if you find it difficult to part with your child’s artwork ask yourself the following:
1. Is your child really going to want this? With all of the diplomas, prom pictures, vacation photos, yearbooks, school papers, playbills, etc. to look forward to, do they really need 150 pieces of art from kindergarten? I think 1-2 will do. Just be sure to label it!
2. Are you keeping it for you or for your child? If you are keeping it for you than put it into YOUR memorabilia box- not there’s. Do not use your kids as an excuse to keep everything. If you want it, fine. Just keep it in a bin labeled “Mom’s favorite memories.”
Now every once in a while a piece of art work will appear that is truly remarkable and is not only keepsake worthy but it is display worthy. When that happens I usually recommend one of the below products. They are a great, inexpensive, easily assembled way to display the artwork!
Hopefully you found this helpful! We all love our kids but let’s allow them to live, breathe and play in their homes- not be consumed by all of the things they created. This is the only way they will continue to grow. You can do it! Best of luck!
Patricia G. Masi