I’m using Get Organized Month as motivation to get rid of clutter, but find that my children’s artwork and school papers are all over the place. What do I do?
It’s wonderful to have prolific kids but you do have to pare down and decide what to save. Here’s what’s worked for us over the years.
*Enjoy your children’s artistic creations before you think about disposing of them. Displaying the work is good for their developing egos and makes for a cheery home. And may make it easier to let go of it later—for parents as well as for children.
*Designate a particular wall or area of your house to display the work. Put the date, child’s name, and any comments on the back of the work. Change the art as often—or as seldom—as your child wants. Take photos of the changing display.
*Encourage recycling and reuse. Use large art pieces as wrapping paper; fold smaller pieces for greeting cards. Give art as gifts to grandparents. Work on the back of what you’re not saving.
*Photograph the three-dimensional art pieces or science projects, which are difficult to keep, so you have a record of them.
*Create a system for saving some of the work. Designate a box or artist’s portfolio for safekeeping and allow your child to save anything that fits in the box.
*For schoolwork, keep the creative work—essays, book reports, journals—and toss worksheets and tests. Save a particularly relevant—or amusing—comment from a teacher.
*It may be easier for the child to sort through and toss out items several months after they were created—to help create distance from the work and to lessen any emotional attachment to it.
*When you throw the work out, especially the work of very young children, don’t let them see you do it. Older children may understand the need to save only select items, but young ones may find disposing of some of their things confusing or painful.
For a slightly different take on the subject, see Michael Tortorello’s article in the New York Times today.
Filed under: children's stuff, decluttering, downsizing, downsizing the home, important papers, organizing | Tagged: children's stuff, decluttering, downsizing, downsizing the family home, downsizing the home, emotional issues in downsizing the home, family, Get Organized Month, getting rid of stuff, workable strategies |