Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to your kids' artwork. To you, your kid is clearly the next Monet or Warhol. To everyone else, it looks like scribbles complete with pieces of dried macaroni, glitter, and yarn falling off.
The difference in reactions is only that you have a big emotional investment in your kids and others don't. Sometimes your hopes, fears, and memories get attached to the artwork your kid creates.
Unfortunately, if left unchecked, ignoring the artwork and your emotions can lead to both physical and mental clutter. For some parents, the task can feel so overwhelming that performing bypass surgery seems easier. Since torturing yourself is a waste of time and energy, here are 5 ways to make this easier and more fun.
1. Create Your Own Art Gallery
Pick a spot in your home where you have wall space and create your own gallery. Work with your kid to pick out their favorite pieces to display. Pick out a few frames and figure out the best way to hang them.
You can rotate out older pieces for new ones. After, you can keep the older ones in a scrapbook or toss them. Any pieces you don't want to display should be tossed out immediately.
Now both of you are learning how to part ways with things and make good decisions. Win-win!
2. Make Them Into Gifts
Giving a gift to someone is a gift itself. Teaching your children that gifts don't always have to cost money and that even a child of 3 can make and give their own gifts is a powerful lesson.
Have them pick their favorites to give out as gifts to other family members and friends. Just don't feel insulted if the gift receiver doesn't frame the piece for all of eternity.
3. Create a Scrapbook
Create a scrapbook for each child. Then work with them to choose which pieces to keep. (Or keep it a surprise and choose your favorites)
This is a great keepsake to give them as a gift when they move to their first home or get married. Again, toss the rest ASAP.
4. Keep Them for an Allotted Time and Toss
You don't need to keep any of their artwork at all. And you don't need to feel guilty or bad about it, either.
All kids make art. If that's not their talent or passion, then there's no point in keeping it. Instead, you can hang them in a specific area (like your fridge or a bulletin board) for a week or two, and then it's time to toss them.
Both you and your child will learn that sometimes, the gift was the act of making the art. Instead of a bunch of crappy artwork, they'll just have happy memories of having fun and being creative.
5. Take Photos (& Create Something New)
Artwork takes up space. One way to keep the memories without taking up space is to take photos.
You can then upload those photos to create something cool such as:
A webpage devoted to the artwork
Print out the photos and create a photo album
Make a collage of the artwork and frame it
This makes a great gift to the person who made the artwork, whether they're still a kid or now an adult!
Tips to Tackle the Mental Clutter
If you're still struggling with overwhelming emotions, that's okay. Keep in mind the indecision and feelings of overwhelm are major contributors to the clutter you're struggling with. Take some time to sit with your emotions to see where they're coming from.
New memories are waiting to be made. Whether your kids are still young or are adults, decluttering is a great way to make healthy changes in your life.
If you're still struggling, working with either a therapist and/or professional organizer can help you sort through the emotional and physical clutter. It's okay to ask for help! I'm just one click away from helping you create new, healthy systems in your life.