When your child's artwork starts piling up ...

A gift bag my preschooler made.
My daughter created this gift bag for my birthday this year. She drew the picture
for the front, then taped it to the front of a bag.

Hardly a day passes when my daughter doesn't give me or her daddy one of her latest artistic creations. Whether it's something she's painted, drawn, colored or cut out, it gets passed along to us.

And I love each and every one. I just also love being able to navigate my home without stepping around and over piles of papers.

My fridge and one wall in my living room are wallpapered with a combination of drawings and crafts projects.  And then there are the ones I've stored in a binder next to my desk.

I just don't have enough room for it all, so as much as it pains me, some wind up in the trash.

The first time I cleared off the fridge, she noticed.

"Mommy," she said in a shaky voice on the verge of tears, "where did all my pictures go?"

As if I didn't feel bad enough already.

I should've expected she would ask. I should've had a response ready.

"I, uh, moved the others out of the way so I have a place to put the next things you make," I said.

She seemed content with the answer. She didn't ask, and I didn't volunteer, what became of the ones that had been there. I didn't tell her that I had spent part of the night before picking my favorite between two similar drawings or paintings, putting each "winner" in a binder and placing the "runners-up" in the trash.

I had read a blog a few years ago suggesting that moms keep their children's artwork digitally rather than keeping the hard copy. 

In theory, I like the idea because I dislike clutter. But there's just something about holding your child's work in your hands. I don't think viewing a photo of your child's artwork on a screen can compare.

But I'm old-fashioned, I guess.

So every so often, I have decisions to make. What goes in the binder and what doesn't. I do take photos of some, but unfortunately, taking pictures of everything would take more time than I have.

Getting the ones that don't make the binder to the trash can be tricky, though. I've found that replacing a picture with another works best because that's when she's most likely to notice and wonder. 

But I've realized I also need to throw something else away immediately so that one of her drawings isn't sitting on top the next time she has something to throw away. Few things have made me feel worse as I have when she's noticed one of her creations in the trash.

What do you do with your child's artwork? Keep it all or just keep some? Do you keep it all digitally? Let me know in the comments.

My daughter's latest artwork. The stars are from a
necklace my daughter had and cut up so that she could
glue it. She said they are shooting stars.

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