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Managing the Mayhem

2012 December 4
by WWGD

Ever since I read Simplicity Parenting earlier this year, I have been all-consumed with managing the mayhem of day-to-day life with two young kids.

The toys, the clothes, even the books that I once thought I could never have enough of…it has all become too much.

One particular cause behind the clutter amplified even more this year when Little D started kindergarten: we were suddenly barraged with artwork, homework, work sheets, and more of the same. Without fail, we come home from pick-up every day with a stack of sheets, homemade projects, beadwork and “very special” paintings.

I love that her school emphasizes creativity, I love that she takes such pride in her work, and I love that everything is “very special,” but I simply can’t keep up and from the looks on the faces of my fellow pick-up parents, I am not the only one.

So we came up with a system that has been working for us and thought I would share.

We went to Ikea and bought a handful of matching frames for the kids’ playroom/loft (pictured above). We told Little D that these were hers to “curate” (clearly we didn’t use that word, but that’s essentially what she is doing). She can pick her very favorite pieces of work to hang in the frames and we can switch them out on a regular basis. Everything else goes to recycling. So far, the approach has worked. She is learning about the true meaning of “very special,” we are empowering her to make her own choices and we get to actually enjoy some of her artwork in the process instead of having it sit in a pile covered in dust.

My recycling bin is overflowing, but my house is not. Which is a very good thing.

Now I just need to find a similar solution for all that beadwork…

How do you manage the clutter of kids in your home? Is it a priority or do you embrace it and grin?

7 Responses leave one →
  1. December 4, 2012

    Thankfully, we have a basement where we keep most of the clutter. Coloring books and hand-crafted wood blocks are really the only toys we keep on our main level. Removing clutter is very important for our domestic sanity!

    I love your framing suggestion! Beautiful! I have two masonite clipboards where we post recent artwork. Doesn’t look as nice but very easy to switch out. I also photograph some of their artwork before it goes into recycling.

    • WWGD permalink*
      December 5, 2012

      I am so glad we don’t have a basement or mine would be filled to the brim! I have heard a lot about photographing works, I think that’s great, too. The Artkive app that is mentioned in another comment here also looks like a fun solution.

  2. Azure permalink
    December 4, 2012

    Our problem category is clay sculptures. Our daughters have come home with lovingly sculpted, painted and fired cups, animals, ornaments, reliefs, etc., at the pace of about 4 a year. With a daughter in 4th grade and another in 1st grade, that’s a lot of little clay items to try to display! Also, I feel much worse about throwing them out than their drawings. Any suggestions for displaying and culling our collection would be appreciated!

    • WWGD permalink*
      December 5, 2012

      You can try a similar approach and dedicate one shelf (ideally in a playroom or one of their bedrooms) to their clay sculptures. Once it’s full, they have to decide which ones rotate out and which ones stay. If you can’t bring yourself to toss them out (though I find after the second or third one, it becomes much easier!), give them as gifts to extended family ;)

  3. Margarida permalink
    December 5, 2012

    Hello from Portugal!

    I´ve found a perfect solution to keep the artwork and spreaded in my blog.Its called Artkive . It´s an app that you can download. Perfect to store, catalogue all the kids artworks!

    xxx

  4. December 7, 2012

    Love this post! We have decided to keep a few particularly special or interesting pieces and showcase them in a rotation on clipboards that hang on the wall in our living room. The remainder (and overwhelming majority) we photograph & put into an album, and then toss. That way we can always have them without having to keep them!

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