It’s not that I don’t love my kids’ art work. Not at all! In fact, I love nothing more than seeing my little one with watercolour brush in hand and a dreamy look in her eye. The act of creating art is a regular occurrence in our house and as a result, the above photo of our fridge is actually a picture of the fridge on a pretty good day. So! Let’s talk a bit about the after effect of art, shall we? You see, while I love a creative home, I’m also one of those people who needs a pretty tidy environment at almost all times to keep my mind still. Clutter sets me on edge and I get kinda freakshow-mommyish when my space gets out of control untidy. Let’s just say, I am a better mom and human when the house is what my own mother used to call “copacetic.”
Truth be told, I think it’s highly likely that I have passed on some of this retentive behavi… ahem! .. I mean “minimalist tendency” to my kids. Neither of them makes a real fuss when asked to tidy toys, clear dishes, or put clothes away. However, I will admit that both the kids and I abhor “cleaning up” their art from the fridge. Something about even thinking of making that request makes me feel like I’m squelching their creative spirits. So what’s a creative minimalist mama to do? Is it possible to embrace my children’s art and keep it contained?
I’m gonna say I think it is possible but to do so we have to first know our options by taking stock of the three phases or “lives” that an art composition goes through in most households. So here they are along with a roundup of resources to help you manage all three!
The 3 Lives of Kids’ Art
The first and most enjoyable phase is to proudly display the work your child has made. Having multiple spaces and ways to display helps to avoid the fridge overwhelm you see above. A few key areas could include: a bulletin board in the child’s bedroom, a picture rail or string hung with pegs in a playroom and even frames in other living spaces that can easily swap out art over the course of the seasons! Need more display ideas? I got you covered with this roundup of decor-friendly links:
Life 2: Preservation
Some art needs to be preserved since it represents a creative milestone for your child or it’s just that damned good that it simply needs to be retained in a space in your home. Alternatively, it may be so hysterically badly executed or funny in its subject matter (don’t even ask me about the phallic turtle we had on the fridge for months) that you need to hang on to it for coercive or humiliation purposes at a later date like, say, prom. Here are some ideas for both physical and digital storage options:
One day – and that day may be sooner than later – most of the art your child creates has simply got to leave your home. Now some can live a new life as gifts for grandparents or even as gift wrap but ultimately recycling and even trashing are two options you will not be able to avoid forever. This is particularly true of 3D object of art that can’t be easily stored. Here are a few excellent guides to help you take a picture or not and just move on both for practical and even psychological purposes:
Simple as 1-2-3 right? Hah! You should see my fridge after Halloween. Sigh. Deep breath. We’re getting there!
Rebecca Overall is the creator of Artsy Startsy and the ROAM curricula – helpful, informative curricula that enhance the time you spend with little ones. She believes that every preschooler is a little Reader, Observer, Artist and Musician! She has a great love of the liberal arts and books which led her to pursue degrees in languages, literature, education and library science. In her past life, she worked as both a teacher and health sciences librarian.When she decided to stay home to raise her children, she discovered that she had a unique opportunity to pursue her love of the liberal arts again as well as a chance to spend more time exploring the outdoors with her little ones! Take a peek at her free sample week to see if Artsy Startsy is right for you and your preschooler!