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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Children's Artwork. And How it Ends Up in the Trash.

Every single day my children produce art. Every. Single. Day.

There are stacks and piles of colorings and clippings and gluings and stickerings and glitterings and just so many ings of creative expression that I find myself utterly petrified wondering if I'm gonna get caught when I throw the majority of these masterpieces in. the. trash.

Cause I've been caught. Many times. And it sucks.


And when I run over to see what the problem is, there they are, pulling one of their absolutely perfect, never-to-be-thrown-away, pieces of art out of the garbage can.

"Mommy, how did THIS end up in the TRASH?????"

And then I lie.

Of course.

Because mama would never ever throw away a piece of precious, innocent artwork created by her precious, innocent children! No way!!

"Honey, I have NO idea how that got into the trash. That is crazy!! Maybe (insert babysitter's name here) accidentally threw it away when she was cleaning up the kitchen. Yeah, that's probably it."

And thank GOD they are young enough to buy whatever line I feed them.

But even though I have come to terms with the fact that MOST of their artwork simply must be trashed, I still have trouble in the moment when I'm deciding which pieces of art will be saved from the world of recycling so I can preserve it forever in my special artwork file thingy.

I mean look at this stuff:

Could you ever feel good about trashing that?

And look at Jane here...

She represents a whole new style of drawing that Claire, 7, is doing. And I kinda dig her.

And then even this crazy creature...

Sure it's borderline creepy. Okay, maybe not borderline. Like actually super creepy. But kinda lovable all at the same time.

The sifting through the piles always gets me riddling in my skull about whether or not I will follow through with the trashing or perhaps I'll just return it to the pile for the next sifting session.

But then when I come across things like this....'s kind of like a no-brainer.

I mean really. I'm totally looking like a grandma in that one by Claire. She says it's how I look in the morning.


I'm not gonna even make an excuse when she finds THAT one in the trash.

Now what do YOU do with all of YOUR kid's artwork?


  1. it all goes in the trash. well, most of it. and not only do i have to sneak it past my kids, i have to make sure hubby doesn't see what i am doing. i guess i am cold hearted. i have a couple of things framed, and all of their pottery/clay pieces are hanging in my kitchen. but all the paper? gone.

  2. I lie too! And sometimes when they say, "Where's that one thing I drew last month with the blue thing on it?" and I know I threw it away... I lie harder. Then I distract them with cookies.

  3. That last drawing. Oh my. I think it's how I look right now. But as long as I make them good lunches in the a.m. what can I say?
    The fact that I have saved anything says a lot for us--my Hubs likes to throw everything away.
    I am impressed that you have so much art. We have it from pre-school--the boys went to a fantastic woman who cared for a few kids in her home and she was very crafty--and she taught me a lot. I have lots from those days. In grade school, not so much. But I keep many stories they've written. I save a few and keep them in an accordian type file.

  4. I have a hard time too. a lot of it gets displayed on the walls in the playroom, and i rotate it as new stuff comes in.

    my real problem is the dozens of notebooks Graham has filled with his writing; about his family, his superheroes, his friends. that stuff is all GOLD and i can't part with any of them.

  5. Most of it goes in the trash. I keep some of the better pieces for Son's scrap book.

  6. Okay, I keep some of the coolest stuff in a folder, frame the neatest projects, display the rest on walls/refrigerator, and then every once in a while I take a photo of the art walls with a camera, then recycle the art (in a bin that is WAY out of the kids' reach) and keep the photos. It's working, for now.

  7. Just like you, have I huge piles of it. I keep it all. I can't seem to part with it.

    I may have a problem.

  8. Can I be honest?

    I can't relate.

    I have a child. Okay, he is almost 21. So child might not be wholly appropriate anymore.

    He lives in a nursing facility for people with severe disabilities who need 24/7 skilled nursing care. He is physically almost 21, but has the mental age of a child under the age of 1.

    I have never had any artwork that he has done. He himself. Not some aid making me feel good thinking that he had done it himself.

    I can understand how all the artwork and doodads can become overwhelming. Really I do. But at the same time, my heart breaks. I know why, but can't other than the obvious name it.

    I read this blog and go, God I wish that mom were me, just for a moment. I don't know what the first step, the first word, the first tantrum, the first anything that is like.

    Throw out what you must, keep what you cherish, but keep those mental images for always. Life can change in an instant.

    God Bless.

  9. What else can you do? It almost all goes in the recycling. I only save the things that seem to really typify a new developmental thing or that strike my funnybone.

  10. I pick the things that are really good and wait till the kids go to their dad's to toss the rest. At the end of the year, we'll pick 3-5 things to keep to capture her Kindergarten year. She's learning that if you hold on to everything, you don't have room for anything new.

  11. I find the few things that you chose to post with this piece absolutely wonderful. Now, if they are creating these masterpieces every day, I can see why you would want to throw it out. My world is overrun with cars and balls and such, not as much art as I would like, but I totally get it. A lot of the papers that come home from school get the once-over and then into the trash they go. Okay, all of the papers. I've chosen a few select pieces to put aside that actually resemble art and my kids' creative side, but other than that, my house just doesn't have the space. Whose does?

    I have an under-bed storage bin in my big boy's room that I started when he was in preschool. I toss the "good stuff" in there throughout the year and every so often (read: once a year if I'm lucky) I go through it and discern what's actually best to keep.

    Kids. And their stuff. Exhausting.

  12. The artwork that makes it into the house (much of it is lost in the cavern of our van stuck to the paper bag it was sent home in from school (sopping wet with paint)) is either put in their binder for each school year(if it's 8/5x11) or hung on our wall. My FAVORITE thing to do is photograph them holding up the artwork. You kill two birds with one stone - you get to 'keep' a smaller version of the art AND remember how big your kids were when they were making that particular type of art.

    Oh and the whole garbage thing? You have to tuck it WAY down in there so nobody can find it. Works every time at our house.

  13. I have to admit, I bought huge artist portfolio cases and have put a ton of their artwork in their own one. Some get pictures taken and some gets discreetly tucked into the recycle bin.
    Hubby would keep every shred of paper that they ever doodle on, but we're out of space!

  14. I have become quite the critic now when it comes to her art. I must. I'm cold about it. Gotta be or I'll end up on that show "hoarders".

  15. I have reams of artwork around here. My little one has such amazing fine motor with details like you can't imagine. When she decides we 'recycle' the paper...but not a moment before that.

    I actually took photos of all of her artwork and uploaded onto I made several hardcover and bound books for her 'Fridgeworthy" artwork. (and the relatives).

  16. hysterical post, Lee. I've been caught too. Oh the look of shock on their faces!

  17. As any good parent - you've been caught. I've been caught. We've ALL been caught.

    On the other hand ... if I had a grandmother who was as cute as you are ... oh, nevermind.


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