Thank you Mary, for setting the tone here. Without further adieu, my 3 simple rules for editing your children’s art.
1. If it’s not personal - toss it. Staying in the lines on a page torn from a coloring book page does not warrant keeping for 3 decades. First drawing of your family? Frame it – this deserves more than a box.
2. If it’s bigger than my Bigso Document box - toss it. Preschool art projects will not overtake my home or my life.
3. If you know the teacher did the majority of the work - toss it. You know the way-too-perfect Halloween thumbprint project. Cute? Beyond. Showing my child’s creativity? Not so much. See ya.
WAIT, THERE’S MORE
There – 3 easy-to-follow rules – but I’m not done. The solution here is deeper than a list of rules to follow. Holding onto too much kids art (books, clothes, etc.) stems from the mind and the heart, not from being unorganized.
Why are you holding on to the art? Is it for you or for your child? If it’s for you (which 99.9% of the time it is), maybe it’s because you are trying to capture this memory or preserve this age. You’re right. Time flies. But is this actually helping you freeze it or is it stressing you out so much you can’t even enjoy it?
If you answered it’s for your child, ummm, try again and then ask yourself - Are you going to send this to your 30-year old son when they move into their first house? Expect to cry when all they want to do is toss it because too much is simply too much.
Once, maybe twice, I have heard someone say, “I really wish my mom held onto more of my stuff.” More than 100 times, I have heard, “Oh those are all the boxes my mom sent me from her house. I don’t know where to even start.” Ponder that and now think a little harder.
How much is maintaining your child’s personal art gallery weighing you down?
The frequency of this question tells me it’s a lot for a lot of you. Isn’t the purpose of their art to make you smile, to celebrate their growth, to see it hanging on the wall? Not to fret and stew over what to keep and how to preserve it. Enjoy it then let most of it go.
Less is so much more, especially with short-term treasures like these. I find unmatchable joy in pieces displayed around my house and more joy knowing the other few are saved for me neatly in one box - overwhelming no one now or in the future.
But Laura, you didn’t answer, HOW do I organize it? You’re right because to me the organizing is in the editing. Pinterest provides all the organizing tips and app recommendations you need. I’m here to help you do the hard work and let more of it go. Love me, still? I hope so.
NEED SOME INSPIRATION?
SEE HOW WE DISPLAY ART IN OUR HOUSE!
READ: Need more motivation? Mary Townsend’s article is spot on. Mom guilt be gone.
DO: Yes, there are apps to preserve these like Artkive and Plum Print that work great for many of my clients. Reminder - you need to do the hard work and edit the art before sending or else your 300-piece, $500 (gasp) art book will be too much to even enjoy.
SIGH: Elliott turned 8 this week (another audible gasp) which means fewer and fewer art masterpieces come home (praise be). Read my other feelings here.