I was chatting with my neighbor Arianne about the challenges of keeping our houses clutter free with kids. I’m pretty ruthless about regularly purging my kids’ clothes and toys, but Arianne has a harder time with letting go of her kids’ things. She has a strong sentimental attachment to her kids’ stuff, especially their art. As a result, she’s got piles of keepsakes growing around her house that prevent her from truly enjoying her home.
The problem of letting keepsakes pile up is that they become clutter gathering dust. Rather than reminders of cherished moments (like childhood), they instead remind us–no, nag us–of tasks left undone. If keepsakes are not displayed and seen, they’re not fulfilling their role as prized memorabilia of a precious time. So I suggested some ways of displaying Arianne’s kids’ art, which she eagerly embraced.
- Pick a few favorite pieces and get them framed. Display them as you would any original art.
- Create a wall of sticky board sheets (Amazon has ones from 3M that I like). Kids can easily curate their own art by putting up and peeling off the art without any tacks or tapes.
- Scan the highlights from the collection and create photo books (lots of online options to help you, including Snapfish, Shutterfly, Mixbook) for the coffee table.
The first option allows a few pieces to stand out and take on a starring role in a room. The second option is great for letting kids have control over their own displays. The third is best for storing lots of photos. Use all three to finally free you from having to keep the accumulating volume of art from your little Picassos.
Here are the results of suggestion 1, which was the easiest to implement.
Arianne sent the artwork into Framebridge (framebridge.com), an online service that takes the hassle, and at $39-199 per frame, the high cost out of custom framing. For the top right artwork (the purple one), Arianne used a shadow box to preserve its 3-dimensional profile. By using identical black frames and placing them on a charcoal picture rail, these artworks pop and add vibrant color to this room. Kids are proud, parents are prouder.