Why I Throw My Kids' Art Away

Sasha Brown-Worsham

My children go to preschool three days a week. They also have an art class for two hours each week separate from school and they have at least a dozen art projects going on at home on any given day. In short, they produce a lot of art. A lot.

When my daughter was first born, I vowed not to be like my parents. They threw out almost every piece of art I created. Remember those ubiquitous hand print projects all children do? They have that tear-jerking poem about growing up? Well, I can't find mine. Because my parents tossed it.

The very first art project my 9-month-old daughter created (four years ago) is hanging on our fridge to this day and I would never consider tossing it. But I have long since broken my incredibly impractical vow to myself.

Simply put: the clutter got to be too much. And I am not alone.

A child brings home more clutter than one would think is humanly possible. It starts with the "big plastics" -- the swing, the bouncy seat, the play gym, the kick and play, the exersaucer, the stroller. It continues with the "small piece" phase we are currently in at my house. Every gift they receive seems to have at least 400 small parts, and somehow each of those gets spread across our entire house every day.

The last thing I need is more clutter, but their art creations create exactly that. A few months ago, I held my breath, opened the garbage, and tossed. This isn't to say I don't keep a thing. But I am pretty ruthless with what I toss. Unless my kids show particular love for a piece or it seems sentimental for me (like a handprint or a "first"), it usually finds its way into the garbage can.

And so far, neither of my kids has protested.

We are never supposed to admit that we throw our kids' art away, but there it is. I do. I wish I didn't. I wish I could save every little thing my children touch, but it isn't practical.

Currently we have a stack of about 65 pieces of art in a nook in our house. Some is taped up to our fridge and kitchen cabinets, but a lot has been tossed, too. I am looking into scanning and shrinking what pieces I have left so I can toss the rest.

What do you do with your child's art? Do you save it all?


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