Sooner or later, every parent faces this dilemma: what to do with the kids’ drawing or art creation? When I had an early childhood center, I ran workshops for parents to explain how important it is to keep a record of their children’s development. If you have more than one child, you know that we forget.
This is a lot like taking photos of the first child, but not as many of the second and only capturing the third child on special occasions (I do not even envy those with more than 3 kids). Keeping a record of our children’s progress and development gets harder with every child.
In all the early childhood centers I have managed and directed, I used to send home all the kids’ artwork every week and record it. I created a folder with the kids where their parents could keep all their work to make sure it does not get lost. But the folder filled up so quickly that after a very short time, they had to clear it to allow more room for new artwork.
So how can all this artwork be kept without overflowing?
I do not know why, but I have always had a problem with keys (not with the keys themselves but with keeping them). When I was a kid, my parents worked so much that when I came home from school, I had to use my own keys to get in. My siblings (I have 4) and I never had a good way of keeping our keys and most of the days, we would count on one of the others to open the door for us or used the spare key at our neighbors’ house.
Some people hid their keys under their welcome mat so their kids could enter the house while they worked long hours, but that was not really hiding at all, since all the kids in the neighborhood could find them easily.
The only thing on my mind was how expensive it was to make a new set of keys and the hassle my parents had to go through to get me new keys (not to mention the look on their faces saying I have failed them).
Never in my childhood did my parents or anyone else teach me how to make sure I could always find my keys. As a kid, I need that as part of life. As a teacher, I find it alarming that kids are not being taught how to be organized with their possessions (among oh, so many other useful skills).
In most home, space is a very limited resource. We all wish our house was half empty with only what we need. Every time our family moves (and I have moved 27 times already), we discover how much we have accumulated. 17 years ago, Gal and I moved to another country with 3 suitcases, 2 boxes and a little girl. Today, we would probably need a 40-foot high-cube container.
Accumulating things is part of life. We accumulate things because we think we might use them (later) or because they have some sentimental value. Just a while ago, I wrote about how hard it is to get rid of kids’ artwork to clear valuable space for new creations. Taking digital photos of many of our things can be one solution to saving space, but there are always things that we cannot throw away as parents, or that our kids, partners or other family members need to decide what to do with them.
When I was 16, I made myself a treasure box and put all my treasures in it – cards I had received from people, special show tickets, photos and awards I had won. Having that box, which I made out of a shoebox, was a great way for me to monitor what I was keeping and what I was not. The space in the box was limited, so I could not keep everything.
In the last few years, I discovered that glass containers were cheaper than plastic or metal ones. If I buy tomato paste in a glass jar, it costs almost half the price of buying it in tubes, sachets or sealed plastic tubs, so I decided to start recycling glass the way I had recycled plastic. It is even easier to remove the labels from glass containers, because they can stand heat and I they are dishwasher safe.
So I wash them, take the label off and use them to store things in my cupboards. One clear advantage of glass containers is that you can easily see what is inside them.
If you buy the same product regularly, after a short time, you can have a whole set of glass jars. For example, we use one kind of mayonnaise, so now our cupboard jars look like a set.
Basically, everything I buy in a large quantity, I transfer to a glass jar, because it is easier to manage. When I buy a bag of something, as soon as I open it, I transfer it to a glass container – I like to see in the container and it saves me having to deal with many bags and clips.