Artwork overload

Two days of artwork!

Clay has been in preschool for two weeks now, and at first, I thought we got lucky. He only brought home two “projects” in the first week. I kept the very first one for his memory box, then tossed the other one into the recycling after he went to bed. Yay, no clutter! My joy did not last long. Last Friday, there were several items in his “mailbox” when we picked him up. Yesterday, there were even more.

In two days, he made 10 projects! Factoring in nap time and lunch time, they are doing a project every hour. They make something as often as a pregnant woman uses the bathroom. No wonder they ask parents for donations all the time. They are going broke buying art supplies!

I’m not new to art project overload. Our daycare uses a preschool curriculum, so I’ve been dealing with this for a few years now. I was spoiled over the summer, because they took a break from organized projects. But now we’re back in full force, with no end in sight. So what’s a clutter-fearing mom to do?

I’ve seen blog posts from super organized mommies on cool ways to save a child’s artwork, and posts from crafty moms, like my friends Dawn and Christine on their blog, Simply Tangerine, on fun ways to turn it into home decor. But let’s be honest, not every project is worth the time to assemble a digital collage or the money spent on an IKEA frame. For example, Clay’s letter As above. I imagine he’ll do greater things in life than write messy As with a green marker. I do like the personal aspect of the hand prints, and the colorful butterfly-like design could possibly be wall art.

I have a strategy that has worked so far and hopefully it can stand up to the test of preschool. I never want to throw anything directly into the trash, so I keep them in a plastic Target basket before sorting through them at the end of the week. The personal/sentimental pieces are put into his memory box (which is actually a diapers.com box for now) and I keep the artsy-looking pieces in a box in my closet, as potential wall decor (when I redecorate or have a bigger house with more wall space). I also make a pile to give to immediate family members (grandparents are not picky and both my mom and mother-in-law are totally cool with clutter…I think it’s generational?). I recycle the rest. Once or twice I’ve blamed the house cleaner when Clay asks for a project I’ve already disposed of (“Martha must not have known you made it”). I’m not proud of it, but you do what you have to do.

A simple plan keeps me from being overwhelmed with clutter artwork. At least so far…now what’s the over/under on how many projects await me this afternoon?

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