At least it wasn't until I went through each drawer and threw away or recycled anything that wouldn't be used anymore. The colouring book that didn't have any clean pages left. All of the glitter glue. At least half of the forty-seven erasers that I discovered. Disposing of all of that stuff was easy. The hard part was figuring out what to do with all of the crafts, especially the ones that Gavin had brought home from preschool.
The "easy" thing would have been for me to just toss it all into the trash, but I couldn't do that for two reasons:
1. Some of it was actually kind of nice, or at least worth saving as a preschool memento.
2. Unlike any of the toys that we've bought for him, these were truly his own creations. Someone else may have provided the paper and glue, but he's the one who turned it into this:
Still, I couldn't keep everything. What I decided to do was let Gavin help me figure out which ones he should keep and which ones we could recycle or throw away. I told him he would be bringing lots more home from preschool this year and we needed to make room. That appeared to make sense to him.
I would put three or four of the same kind of craft in front of him. He would choose which one he wanted to keep. Sometimes he wanted to keep all of the group; other times he was happy to let go of everything. When all was said and done, there were less than 15 projects left, or about one-third of what we'd started with. The two pictures above were ones he chose, as was this one, which he calls "Garage at Fire Station". Obviously.
Please, don't be too hard on the kid. He has his own sense of creativity, remember?
The thing is, no matter how clean the craft cabinet is today, it is only a matter of time before this year's school projects start accumulating. And accumulating. And OMG WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CRAFT PROJECTS?!!???!
Something needed to be done, sooner rather than later. One idea that appeals to professional organizer, Jen Zagorsky, is compiling a photo book, preserving the projects for posterity. A book is much easier to store and flip through than a bin or cupboard full of things that have to be handled in a certain way, lest all the glued-on buttons fall off, or it get ripped, or...you get the idea. Plus, you can't take the craft bin with you to show Grandma all of the hard work little Johnny's been doing all year.
I recently discovered that London Drugs will scan craft projects for you if you don't have a proper scanner at home. This is what they did for me with the crafts above. I now have a cd with images of 11 of the 15 crafts, just waiting for me to turn them into something real again.
If your child's projects are too difficult to scan, you can also snap a picture of it yourself. Whichever way works best for you, at the end of the year you can take all of these photos and use London Drugs' software, My Home Edition, to create a variety of photo books or other products to showcase your Pint Picasso's masterpieces. (My Home Edition can be downloaded off of the London Drugs website for free.)
Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Erin, I can make photo books on like, a hundred, sites already. This is nothing special." And in one sense you're right. I've done it several times myself using a variety of websites. However, to the best of my knowledge, none of those websites reviewed my completed photo book submission to make sure that the colour was correct, or proofread for spelling errors. Most of the books are printed right at the store, so there are no significant delays. Some books can even be completed in less than an hour!
The other good thing is that if you have any trouble at all, the Photo Lab Manager is at the London Drugs store n your neighbourhood, ready to answer your questions and give their professional advice.
Because I only have 11 images on my CD from London Drugs right now, I'm going to wait until we're at least a couple of months into the new school year before I have them all printed in a photo book. I have intentions of asking Gavin for help to trim the herd as we go along, so that we can avoid a major cull at the end of the year. Until we decide what to do with them, these craft projects will be in their usual spot, taking up too much space in the bottom drawer of the craft cabinet. Maybe some will be similar to "Garage in Fire Station," but maybe some will be vibrant, full, brush strokes of creativity like this particular piece that Gavin made for the preschool art gala:
AKA "Mom's Favorite"
This post was sponsored by - you guessed it! - London Drugs. I was really surprised with the range of options they have for preserving family memories like this. They also have some excellent deals for other back-to-school supplies. Best part: they do the fact-checking FOR YOU right at the store. No more worrying about running into three or four different stores for stuff. For more tips on getting organized for back-to-school (and life in general), I'd also suggest that you check out J'Organizing. Jen has lots of easy ideas on trying to keep the sanity at an even keel once things get into full swing this fall.