Children’s crafts and paper projects have a way of filling every area of the house. It’s cute stuff, so we tend to allow it:
Once, our younger kids wrote every family member’s name on a 3×5 card and taped it above their bed. It was cute! I had a “I [heart] MOM” on my headboard for a month, because I just loved seeing it.
We’re an artistic family… Things like this happen frequently and, if I don’t stay on top of it, the crafty clutter starts evolving into an out of control craft monster.
So, how do we keep it all under control??
Well, first off: I’ve used it to my advantage on many occasions. I implement the “1 thing in, 1 thing out” rule. So, if Naomi wants to keep her bead-clad princess painting, I have her get rid of something else. Sometimes it’s another piece of artwork, but often she loves her artwork so much, she trades in a toy. (Although I got rid of the toys, they still seem to acquire cheap plastic junk. I think they reproduce, annoying little beasts.)
I personally would rather have a pile of artwork on her dresser than cheap plastic junk that just gets pushed into a corner.
She does have an empty drawer in her nightstand where we put her “extra pieces”. As long as it’s contained, I don’t make her throw it away.
The kids have a clothesline (or in Naomi’s case, a pennant bunting we made) on their wall to display their work. They have 7 clothespins that can hold their work. These pieces rotate as new masterpieces are created.
For the works they create for us, we have a couple art cabinets on our wall. They hold quite a lot of pictures, but, I toss old ones as they build up.
Before I throw them away, I lay the art on the floor, have the kids sit next to them and I take a picture. I really do love all their artwork and they are so creative and fun.
I do not keep a memory box. It’s a lovely idea, it really is. But the hard truth is, most (if not all) adults do not want to hang onto a box of their childhood artwork from 30+ years ago. (Sorry Mom!) If you, as the parent want to look it over regularly, go for it: get a 3-ring binder and plastic sleeves so you can thumb through them. But if they just sit in a box and get moved around from place to place, consider getting rid of them. You can take digital photos of them, if you like, so they can take up less space.
We also have a chalkboard door. We painted it with chalkboard paint when we remodeled the kitchen. It’s in the kitchen and I can write lists and routines on it, but often it is confiscated by the kids. This particular piece is from our second oldest, Jesse.
Ok, but what about the craft supplies??
Ah yes, another form of evil. Ha. I love craft supplies. Being a creative person, I see endless possibilities and my mind starts flooding with ideas and oh the fun we’ll have!
But I do keep it limited. I have this storage unit:
One bin is for my paint supplies, (it’s my coping mechanism of choice) and 2 are for the kid’s arts and craft supplies. I don’t allow any more to be purchased unless there is room in a bin for it.
Having a limited amount of space for supplies is helpful.
The kids are required to put all the supplies away when they are done: garbage is to be thrown away, all supplies in their proper bin and all finished work hung in the designated spot or thrown away.
The same rules apply when they bring in artwork from church or friends houses. The kids know by now that if it’s laying around, I’ll toss it in the trash.
It’s not cruel or insensitive, I warn them first. And it’s teaching them that when something is important, we take care of it.
What do you do to keep crafty clutter under control?