• Sara

Living with Tiny Artists

When my oldest child started preschool, the preciously scribbled artwork began flooding home. For the longest time, I kept every single piece of paper that had been touched by my son’s little dimpled hands. It seemed that if I didn’t hold onto the visual evidence of how much he was learning - and how fast he was growing - I’d forget forever. To keep his masterpieces safe, I stored tote after tote full of paper, and followed the same pattern with my daughter’s treasures, as the years elapsed.

Then a TV series called Hoarders caught my attention and I watched every episode possible. Though the majority of each storyline focuses on the scope of disorder in the home, the show also includes consultation with organizers and psychologists who offer insight into why some individuals hold so strongly to items that others don’t consider valuable. I realized that by struggling with the emerging mountain of kid art, I was subscribing to one of the often-cited hoarding tendencies: attaching emotional significance to objects.

At that point I knew the problem and I knew the “why” behind the problem, but what was a reasonable solution? I did a little research and found the idea of saving a picture of the paper or object, rather than the original, to be an appealing answer.

Now every year I maintain one small box for each kid and anything that doesn’t fit or warrant keeping long-term is scanned or photographed and then organized in the digital realm. It’s so much easier for any of us to enjoy looking back through the years just by clicking through the images.

I’ve also reclaimed the storage room from the paper mountain and it feels so good!


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