I am hoping to glean some insight on how to manage my daughter’s obsession with drawing. I have under-bed storage boxes, large Rubbermaid containers and various boxes FILLED with her drawings and other artwork.
While I love her artwork, it is really getting out of control… She’s only 7, plus I have a 3 year old that just started pre-school so he’s going to start bringing home his own creations and I’m 6-months pregnant with our third child… more stuff to look forward to in the near future.
When I suggest to her that she "designate" a drawing for a friend, she starts a new picture instead of giving one of her friends the drawing she has just completed. Our refrigerator looks like a cork board of pin-ups and I have a pile of drawings on the end of the kitchen counter.
I just don’t know where to put everything anymore. It makes me sad that I sometimes have to tell her to put her paper and pencils, crayons, etc. away because I know I don’t have anywhere to put these things once they are completed.
I would box everything up and put it in the attic, but we live in AZ and I’m afraid it might be a fire hazard (just kidding… sort of).
I sincerely hope you can help with this. Thank you so much for your most informative blogs and newsletters. I make recipes from "Not Just Beans" (now Dining On A Dime) nearly every night of the week.
God Bless your ministry,
Ok, this is going to sound harsh but I just dump it. I love my kids more than anything but I can’t keep every drawing they ever make. We have a one drawing limit on the fridge. If they make a new one, the old one goes in the trash or in a folder. Once the folder is full, they have to pick out an old one they don’t want anymore and trash it. That is for the older kids.
For kids 6 and under I just "make it go away" when they aren’t looking or when they’re gone. They forget about it after it has sat on the counter for a day or two so I just trash it.
You have to teach your kids that they simply can’t keep everything. Yes, we keep some of the prize masterpieces but the entire last 10 years is in one box!
If she just won’t get rid of it, you can do one of two things: Box the the not so great stuff up and then dump it in a month or two when she forgets about it. You could also sit with her and hold up two pieces of artwork. Then say "do you want to keep this one or this one?" Do this for all of it until you have 10 or so pieces that she really wants to keep. Tell her she has to choose or you will choose for her and it will go in the trash.
You just can’t keep it all! So start getting rid of it before roaches start breeding in all that extra paper!
Here is an excerpt from our Organizing Kids Bedrooms e-book that mom wrote.
If you are a normal parent you probably think your child is a budding Picasso or at the very least your child himself thinks he is. Since most of us don’t have a small art museum attached to our homes, trying to get the hundreds of masterpieces produced each week by our Picassos under control can be a challenge. Here are a few things that might help you prevent it from becoming a hair raising and heart wrenching for the two of you.
- Hang a piece of twine or heavy string along a wall or tie it between the bedposts at the end of the bed. Using clothespins, you can hang the child’s pictures along the string.
- You could also hang a piece of scrap sheet metal to use like a large bulletin board and then use small magnets to hang the pictures. If you want to get really creative, glue buttons, seashells, silk flowers, beads and other pretty knick knacks to the magnets for decorations.
Note: Be sure to use heavy tape or molding around the sheet metal to protect from sharp edges.
- Paint a couple of the cabinet doors, bedroom door fronts or walls with chalkboard paint so the children can have a chalkboard. You can also put up bulletin boards or thin sheets of cork for hanging drawings. You can also buy magnetic paint to paint a wall and then use it to hang drawings.
- When the area you have designated to hang your child’s art work gets full it’s time to purge.
- Get rid of as much of the artwork as you can. If your child wants to hold on to it all then let them keep what will fit in a file folder or small box. Chances are pretty good he will want to keep most of it but don’t despair. Younger children want to keep everything so you may have to keep quite a few from those first couple of years. Then someday on your own, you may have to sort through them and eliminate some.
Moms: don’t let your emotions get in the way. Those "memories" aren’t worth nearly as much as the memories of the stress free, clutter free and well organized home you should create for your child.
- Take a picture of the artwork with your digital camera, a less bulky way to store it.
- Keep artwork that you want for memories in a file folder, manila envelope or small box for neat storage. This helps you figure out how much you can save. For example, tell yourself "I will keep only what will fit in one file folder and the rest must go."
It does get better as the child grows. My oldest grandson would not let go of any of his artwork (and he remembered every piece, too) but by the time he was in third grade he couldn’t figure out why he kept all of them and wanted to get rid of everything, so there is hope.
It does get easier. I once knew a family who I was helping declutter and the 12 year old son said, "I don’t know why mom is keeping all of these drawings and school papers of mine. I don’t even remember what they are." The moral of the story is that it is usually you, mom, who is having problems letting go and not the child.
If you are storing things in boxes in the attic or under the bed do you really think your child remembers them? You are really doing your child an injustice by wasting your time packing up, cleaning around and organizing those things instead of spending that time with the child himself.
photo by: magma666