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Drowning in art

We are so lucky at the Co-op to have high quality art instruction. In addition to regular classroom coloring and painting and other art, our children get to try their hands at working on diverse projects in a variety of media. I love how excited my child is when she presents me with a new art project at the end of the day. I enjoy wearing the beads and pendants she made around the holidays, and happily display all manner of sock snowmen, painted sticks, ceramic birds nests, and sculptures made of blocks. I know that she is learning and growing and having fun each time that she makes a new artistic creation, and I am very thankful to Ms. Kim and all the teachers who introduce our kids to the joy of creativity and of getting your hands dirty. But…

We have a small house and a greater than average tendency toward accumulating clutter. And two children who are natural-born hoarders. They would prefer to never throw away or recycle any item they have created—no matter whether it is a masterpiece or a partially completed coloring page that is ripped in half. I have tried to get them involved in choosing their favorites, but nearly everything is a “keeper” in my kids’ eyes. Flat items fit nicely in a folder to be stored away for goodness knows what future time, though I’m less crafty about what to do with the larger 3D items. Most of the knick knacks in my house are now things that my kids have created, and we are quickly running out of surfaces on which to display their art and relatives upon which to foist holiday art gifts.drowninginart

I find myself sneaking artwork into the recycling bin when they are not looking, though I’ve certainly been busted. And I am not proud to admit that when I hear that plaintive, “Hey! Mama! How did this picture get in the recycling?” I play dumb, “Oh, oops, glad you found that!” [Note to self: Must remember to push it lower down next time. And cover it with a Cheerios box.] I also confess that a few painted sticks and rocks have returned to nature.

When you add Sunday School, family excursions to the Children’s Museum, summer camps, snow day crafts, and even trips to the pediatrician to the mix, we are simply overrun with the products of my children’s creative impulses. And I only have two children!

Presuming we don’t want to stop them from creating–what do the rest of you parents do with all this wonderful, imperfect, creative, made with love ART? Must I add on to the house or build an art display storage shed in the backyard? How do you get your kids to part with some of their items? Are all of us drowning in art?



Sheri is the mom of Clara (age 4) in Miss Nicole’s room at the Co-op and also 9 year old Lucy, who attends public school.

2 comments on “Drowning in art

  1. My daughter Ellie is the same way with hoarding artwork. We have piles and stacks in her closet of everything she has ever made. The best pieces are on display throughout the house of course! I still have yet to figure out a solution to decluttering! I love that MCS has a dedicated art teacher. Ellie loves art so much and they really need that creative outlet!

  2. When we start to get overwhelmed, we take digi pics of each and every one. Then you can have an electronic photo album to showcase the art, If there are specific “beloved” art pieces, use those as a permanent art framed or otherwise. But limit the choices , of course, to your specific space requirement. I tell mine that she can pick 2 to showcase (we still take a pic) and then let them help take pics and dispose of the items once pictures are complete. This way they also have closure. Then if there is something that they prefer to replace the showcased art, you already have a record of it and they can dispose of them and cycle through them. Another option with digis is that they can make the grandparents an album of all the art they did as a present. Grandparent cherish those! Hope this gives you ideas!