My little one is creative, and that’s great! She enjoys arts and crafts, building and creating, and it’s something we love to do together.
But I’m currently drowning in construction paper.
Our pre-quarantine lives already generated a fair amount of this: school projects, coloring sheets, the occasional in-home science project. But add in social distancing, and attempts to fill the hours we’d normally be out in the world doing things means it’s been multiplied by roughly 84,000.
Last weekend I walked into the kitchen to find every square inch of our refrigerator covered in portraits of our family members (at least that’s what she tells me … she’s only four, so I have to trust that the circle with squiggles coming out of it is my head).
While these projects have always been a great way for us to spend time together, and have kept her busy while we can’t go do other things, my biggest problem is what happens after we’re done.
I can’t keep all of it. And heaven forbid she notice I’ve thrown something away. So what now?
I’ve tried a few strategies: Hanging a few up on the fridge, and stashing away the rest to be disposed of later. Keeping a large percentage of projects in a file box, and just tossing the coloring sheets. Ruthlessly purging (almost) everything.
But what about when it’s something BIG? For instance, she decided to building a 3D castle out of construction paper, complete with turrets. Where do I store that? How do I store that?
If she notices something goes missing (or in the trash), it generates some normal “in the moment” hurt feelings. They don’t last very long, but they’re strong, and I haven’t quite figured out an age-appropriate way to explain that we don’t have the space to house her entire collection.
Recently I’ve tried to channel some of those art projects into things that are designed to leave my house. Want to make cards for your grandparents? Color a picture of your aunt’s dog? Great! Get a stamp, we’re putting them in the mail.
What’s your strategy for keeping (or purging!) the seemingly never-ending stream of arts and crafts projects?