Sometimes even when you are off to a good start in your de-cluttering, you come across something that slows you down. Those of you out there who are parents or aunties or grandparents or who just have children who are special to you in your life may be able to relate to the dilemma I faced on Day 4 of my 2011 de-cluttering challenge.
I had managed to surpass my goal of finding homes for 100 items daily and could even see a patch of my desk at the end of Day 3. I was starting to feel like having an uncluttered home may be achievable, even for me, when I became a bit derailed on Day 4 by…my children’s artwork and notes. I have amassed a huge accumulation (stacks and stacks in various rooms in the house) of papers the kids give me. I know from experience that the days of them drawing pictures that say “mommy” because they are so proud of themselves for being able to write that word actually go by quite quickly and someday, I will miss getting those little notes and drawings. My teenage boys no longer draw me sunshines and flowers or pictures of the two of us together in stickman form holding hands. When my older boys were younger, I threw away many of their pictures, always assuming that there would be many more to come. Then one day, they stopped making them and now that I am receiving these gifts again from my younger kids, I treasure them. Thus becomes the dilemma in de-cluttering. Here are some pictures to show you what I mean.
This is a Valentine that was made for me last year by my youngest daughter, who was four at the time:
This note was written by my oldest daughter when she was just learning to write (it says “I love you Mommy. I am so grateful that I have a beautiful mom.”) I mean, how can I possibly bring myself to throw something like that away?!
This is a drawing made by one of the girls of she and her two sisters:
This one is a bit different, but I wanted to throw it in there to demonstrate another reason I have a hard time throwing away things the kids make. This one is not a beautiful flower or an artistically talented painting, but it makes me smile because it is of a grumpy face, made for me by my son who has Asperger’s to tell me how he was feeling. (for those who don’t know, Asperger’s is a form of autism and sharing emotions is particularly challenging for him as a result, so this picture represents a victory of sorts)
How can I throw these things away? Maybe if I had one or two kids, I could keep a file folder or box with some of their notes and pictures, but with seven kids, I would need an extra storage room to store those files and boxes in by the time they leave home. As it is, by the time they move out, they are going to need a U-Haul just to take the multiple scrapbook albums I make for each of them!
One idea is to take photographs of the pictures, though my camera is not the best quality and then scrapbook those photos. For now, I am just putting them all in one pile to deal with later, but the pile is growing rapidly. Even as I was cleaning the office, I had sweet children coming in and out to bring me their pictures as gifts! Any ideas on what I can do with all these treasured notes and artwork? Maybe I’m too sentimental!