As I type this, I notice that three of the five nails on my right hand have badly chipped polish. Not because I’m so busy I can’t groom (although, now that I think about it…), but because we’re in the process of moving house.
I’ve been packing boxes for three days. Not a fun activity for a kugel.
My husband and I have been on an unrelenting auditing campaign, with my fighting to keep things and his insisting on binning them. You see, I’m a hoarder – but mostly of sentimental items. They needn’t be valuable…
A hideous vase given as a wedding gift by someone I was once fond of but no longer see? Keep. A ratty old love letter from a Grade 9 admirer? Keep. The first picture my daughter ever ‘drew’, aged 18 months? Keep. Of course.
But we haven’t done the play-school art yet…
If I’m being honest, some of my daughter’s less magnificent, less meaningful art will not survive the audit process. I won’t even fight for all of it. I don’t feel bad – mostly. I’ll keep most of it – probably. And she won’t notice – certainly.
But we’re only 7 months into 16 years of school. And the art I will be keeping (openly or secretly; it’s hard to tell at this point) needs a BIG box. So how the hell are we going to store what’s coming? And please don’t suggest the fridge. I’m totally over having a fridge that looks like it has Tourette’s Syndrome.
I asked around. Here’s what some people do:
1. They store selectively: keeping stuff that is truly awesome, that shows a developmental leap or that says ‘I love you Mom/Dad’. Okay. I get that, since the preciousness of the art decreases as its volume grows. But how do you secretly trash art? At night? (If you don’t, this might happen.)
2. They take photos of it, either consigning it to the depths of a hard drive or sharing it on Facebook, Instagram or Picasa. A friend of mine uses her photos to make amazing framed ‘galleries’ of her kids’ art, with post-card sized images of each picture displayed like tiles on a white background.
3. They scan it, using an A3 colour scanner and photo book software to create books of their kids’ creations. I love this idea, but it reminds me of scrapbooking. I’m not one of those crafty people who crochet stuff. Also, what happens to the photo books? Do you keep them on your coffee table and make guests admire them? In 16 years that’s a lot of books.
4. They have empty picture frames on the wall, and rotate the art as it comes home from school, so that it’s always displayed with importance. We already do this in our toddler’s room, with three mounted clipboards. But they’re stuffed to the gills. And what happens to stuff that’s rotated out?
5. They share the love, giving pictures, paintings and ‘sculptures’ to grannies, aunties and whoever else will take it. I’ve tried this, but it only works up to a point. (Bizarrely, my mother irons the art before displaying it in pride of place on the Moet et Chandon board in her kitchen, in case it’s ‘wrinkly’.)
6. They recycle them, using paintings as gift wrap or to customise birthday cards. Again, this solution requires craftiness – the Pinterest kind, not the foxy kind. And I’m short on craftiness. When that particular skill was being doled out at birth, I was probably in a corner being quietly massaged.
Turns out, there’s a lot of options. And you’ve probably got your own to share with me, right? In the interim, the hub has wrapped all of our audited kiddie art in cardboard and we’ll use some mix of these and other ideas on the other side. Except, of course, the scrapbooking. My nails are in enough of a state.