Monday, October 27, 2008

Kids' art work: to keep or not to keep it!

I was driving this weekend and listening to a radio talk show on getting organized. A lady called and asked for advice regarding the amount of her children's art work she had. She was overwhelmed. The host gave advice to create a zone for the art work and then set an amount like 50 and stay within the zone and the quantity. This advice is fluff. A mother doesn't think in terms of numbers or zones when looking at her kid's art; cute little fingerprint turkeys, self portraits, letters to mommy. This is emotional. There are a lot of things that have to be taken into consideration. How many kids do you have, how old are they, etc. The lady that called in said she had every piece of paper her children had ever scribbled on. O.k. this is a great start. Separate the art into piles for each child. Tackle one child's art at a time. Take the artwork and separate it again by time frames. Now take the youngest art pile and let's make some decisions. A few scribbles on a piece of paper does not make a good keepsake. Artwork that includes their finger or handprints, self portraits, drawings of family, these are good types of artwork to hold onto. As they get older creative stories become a great keepsake. Don't just go through it once. Get rid of what you can and then next year go back though it along with the new art work and continue to narrow down. Here are some suggestions if you are like a lot of my clients and need more assistance than that. When your child brings home art work pick out what you really want and then allow the cild to pick out pieces they want to give to other people. In our house we send art to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. We write a sweet note on the back and mail it off. The kids love sharing what they are doing with other people and you don't have the difficult task of throwing any of it away. And if you need more help ask a friend to be an objective voice.