Yes, I Throw Away My Kids’ Artwork

by Abby on August 23, 2013

I am sure this is going to come up with their therapists one day, so let’s just get this right out in the open now: yes, I sometimes throw away my children’s artwork. I am That Kind of Mom. I used to feel really guilty about this in the beginning when I only had one child and lots of shelf space. But a few years and another kid later – plus countless school art projects, camp crafts, and homemade works of art – something had to give.

I would like to say that I carefully label, date, and save my favorite pieces, photograph the rest, and regularly rotate these artworks throughout the house. But who has time for that?! Usually, the teacher puts the kid’s name on the back, so at least credit goes to the correct artist. And lots of the paintings and drawings are prominently displayed in that place of honor, the fridge, for a few weeks. A few choice pieces I’ve even framed and hung on the wall. But there’s just SO. MUCH. ART.

And what about the oversized, 3-D stuff? The Play-Doh blobs and cardboard-box robots? The coffee-filter-and-clothespin butterflies and paper-plate sunflowers? What about the works of art that leak large quantities of multicolored glitter all over the place? (And let’s face it, that’s 90% of preschool projects.) Oh no, it’s gotta go.

Here are some of the masterpieces I’ve surreptitiously disposed of recently:

I think these are cactuses. Cacti? Whatever, they’re gone.

Play-Doh and toothpick cacti

A paper plate bird.

paper-plate bird

A dunce cap? A wizard’s hat? A megaphone? Your guess is as good as mine.

wizard's hat -- I think

And here’s a couple I DIDN’T throw out. What? I’m partial to colorful fish.

colorful hanging paper fish

LINK O’ THE WEEK: One way I’ve tried to keep track of my kids’ artwork is by photographing and/or scanning it and putting it on Pinterest. (Show THAT to your therapists, kids!) Of course, that takes time, too, which I have as little of as a toddler has restraint with a glue stick.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah August 23, 2013 at 9:20 am

Oh your captions had me snickering!! Thanks for starting my day off with a giggle. Ok, my day was actually started with a crying baby at 5:30 and at one point I was sitting on the kitchen floor staring in disbelief at the mess. So- thanks for making me giggle after the 5:30 bottle and 8 am vacuuming/ dishes fiasco.


Abby August 23, 2013 at 9:30 am

And my work here is done. Thanks, Sarah! Hope your day gets better. 🙂


Kathleen Basi August 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Ha! I throw away a lot of my kids’ stuff, too, but always after bedtime and they’re buried in the recycle bin (or trash can). Those cacti give me the heebeejeebies. However that’s spelled.

I like the koi fish too. We have one almost like it, but not quite such nice colors, that hangs and swings in the wind by the back door. I will be very sad when it disintegrates.


Abby August 25, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I toss stuff when they’re not around, too, but surprisingly, they’ve never noticed or asked for any of the items I’ve gotten rid of!


Angie Mizzell August 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

So much artwork has come in already, that I have a better filter for what’s worth saving and what is not. I have a big plastic bin for Dillon and Blake, and all the papers and art from the year (worth saving) go in the bin. I aspire to frame *some* of the art because it’s abstract and colorful, and I have the wall space… it was one of the many summer projects I didn’t come close to touching. (Also, Dillon’s art teacher doesn’t send anything home until the end of the year… she rolls all the papers up in a tube and sends it home. I like that!)


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