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Katy England Katy England
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Edge Mom: Reduce, reuse, recycle

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I'm not a hoarder, but sometimes it's difficult to tell. Being sentimental, it's really hard for me to throw certain things away especially when it comes to my kids. I still have scribbles they did when they first started using crayons, and I don't want to chuck them.

Then they started school, and the projects started rolling home on a weekly basis. Now I'm so inundated with sentimental items I could scream. I may have screamed actually. This is not the first time I wished I was a more organized person, nor will it be the last. And no, this isn't a story about how I magically clean my house though there are times I get it to passable.

I am learning to take some of their work and turn it into new things. Like when we were playing with tempura paints the outcome was several different blobs and smears on pain on paper. Very abstract or Pollockesque. Then I realized that, though we had remembered to get Valentines for their classmates, we had neglected to pick up cards for the kids. (They did have hearts filled with candy, so it wasn't a big deal.)

So I made the cards. I used their impressionistic interpretations of reality and cut them into hearts, then taped them onto construction paper in which I wrote them cards. Voila a sentimental card built on sentimental art. Double the sentiment and throw out the scraps.

The idea of reusing their old scribbles and paint blobs into cards is at once liberating and gratifying. It really scratches the itch I have to save their work, but also allows me to let go of large swathes of their old work without worrying about it too much.

I'm pretty sure that most of the cards and letters I send out will be on this new letterhead of scribbled/painted art so I can also share their work with friends and family. And I share it with you, because I'm sure that some of you reading this also have stacks upon stacks of arts and craft work that you're not quite sure what to do with.

And it looks nice, too. I think that's what surprised me the most. I know there are some actual artists who go and make real artwork with the drawings of their kids. And this is nothing like that. But using the materials they have drawn or painted on to make sentimental cards just feels right. It allows me to use and share their stuff and still get it out of my house (in a nice way).

Maybe someday I'll have a filing system that works. Maybe someday I'll have a mansion with an entire wing devoted to nothing but my children's artwork. But since neither of those seems particularly likely, I'll stick with this for now.

I'd love to hear the ways you memorialize your kids' works of art.

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