14 January 2008

To Keep Or Not To Keep?

Every day, both my kids come home with backpacks full of paper. Some of them are missives from their school and/or teacher. Some are calendars. But most are art projects painstakingly and lovingly created by said children.

When my DS started going to school at age 2, I began keeping all of his scribbles and paint blots in a folder. The folder turned into a box, which turned into a bin. When he was three, we moved hosues and I wrenched with the decision of what to do with said bin. Since I am a practical person first and foremost, I decided to chuck the contents.

And I'm still chucking. I made it a personal decision not to keep any of my kids' artwork, unless it was made for a special occassion (i.e., Christmas tree ornaments, Thanksgiving Day plant), and even that is accumulating. I absolutely despise clutter above all else (I like a bare house with miles of unadorned space). When there is clutter in my house, I feel like I can't breathe. So these little tiny pieces of adorable crap artwork are starting to give me the hives. I want to throw them out so badly but feel an enormous amount of maternal guilt in even thinking about it. And here's the kicker: I have not allowed myself to feel even an ounce of motherly guilt, but this issue is kicking my ass.

On the one hand, my kids might become future Presidents and Picassos and all this crap stuff transforms into Valuable Crap Stuff and they all go into the Museum That Houses Crap Stuff Of Famous People (i.e., presidential libraries).

But on the other hand, how remote is that possibility? What's more likely to happen is that their children will open up this box upon the death of their parents and, feeling absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of crap stuff they find, will either (a) throw said box away, or (b) close is tight and let their siblings/other relatives/future generations handle said Box O' Crap Stuff.

In my case, when my folks died, I ended up throwing/giving away mountains of stuff away. Even Jackie Kennedy's children sold 90 percent of their mother's stuff, and Jackie O's stuff is Valuable Stuff (auctioned off at Sotheby's).

Which is probably what I'll do with my kids' artwork. Not sell it on Sotheby's (although hey, wouldn't that be nice if we can make money from our kids' scribblings) but either give and throw them all away. Hey, my mother didn't keep my childhood crap stuff even though once in a while, I sometimes get wistful for that Piece O' Whatnot I created in the second grade.

What about you? What do you do with all the crap artwork that your kids bring home everyday?


Tina said...

I try to photograph it, if it's 3d stuff like clay pinch pots, or if it's on paper, I scan it. And I do that for MAYBE one or two nice pieces, and I do occasionally keep one piece if I really like it. The rest gets chucked! I used to get all sentimental about it; my mom saved some of my childhood "crap," and I cherish it, but the sheer number of items that come home in the backpack is staggering!

mom2amara said...

I admit, I hate clutter but I can't seem to part with Amara's artwork. So I have an oversized portfolio that is crammed with all her stuff. One day, I'll go thru it all and purge. But until then, I feel better knowing it's all in one spot.

Sunshine said...

The kids get to choose something from their school artwork that gets framed for a month in our kitchen. The rest gets looked at and sometime I take a photo. But I have to admit lots of stuff get recycled every friday. I love to recycle... But I must admit that the kids do much of their best art work in their little sketchbooks that I buy for them. I tend to keep those. They look nice an tidy too!