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.


Madame Nostalgique said...

I am a sentimental fool, so this hits close to home. I am up to my nostrils in fine works of art and cute little notes from my kids. My oldest is now 18 and my youngest is 7. That's a lotta paper, I tell you!

I do go through every week or so and purge the stuff that just isn't tugging on my heartstrings. I NEVER dispose of anything in front of my daughter, though. What I plan to do (you know, one day soon, when I've got some free time on my hands...haha)is to scan the papers into my computer and keep them in organized folders, perhaps by age for stuff from her preschool days and then by grade now that she is in school). Then I will burn these folders onto a CD or DVD and store them like any other important papers. Yes, it will be time-consuming, but always trying to find space to store the zillions of scraps of paper that come through the door is time-consuming, too. I think the new scan and store system will be well worth it in the end. Besides, the electronics form will probably outlast the paper form anyway.


Anonymous said...

I have enormous tubs for each of my children which are overflowing with every scrap of paper each one has put a pencil to. In an effort to de-clutter and create something sentimental as well, I photographed all of the images and created a photo album on Shutterfly to be kept as a coffee table book. One page features 8 different images of painted "paper plates" and allowed me to condense 6 pieces of my child's art onto one FLAT page.
Miller Callen, Nashville, TN