I Need Help With The Pile Of Artwork In The Corner
By: Jordan Babeon
As a parent, nothing makes me prouder than seeing the arts and crafts projects my kids bring home from school. But as much as you’d like to keep each precious handmade creation, there will come a time when you have to ask: What are you supposed to do with all of the paintings, drawings, toilet paper-roll sculptures, paper mâché, egg carton creations, glitter bombs, science experiments, crafts, and other school work that your kids bring home nearly every week?
If you are like me, you do your best to sort what’s important and what’s worth recycling. Still, there is a corner in my house that is always full of artworks that symbolize a significant chapter of my kids’ lives. I want to preserve these accomplishments so that one day, my child can look back at them and be filled with nostalgia.
However, I also have a strong dislike for clutter.
As a working mom, simplicity was what I was after. Trying to be present for my children while building a business was tough. Juggling work, home, and school, in addition to keeping up with the playdates, meetings, and date nights, and finding time to sleep despite everything was even tougher. Coming home to a tidy house really helps alleviate stress.
Now, cleaning out extra clothes, furniture, household goods, and other tangible junk was seemingly easy for me. As Marie Kondo would ask, ‘Does it bring me joy?’ My answer, every time, is a heartfelt ‘No.’ But the first letters my kids drew, their own creations—these were harder to part with. These things did bring me joy, but there was so much of it that the piles have become overwhelming.
I felt like I was trying to organize our memories, something that felt familiar to me.
In 2018, I started SurroundUs! Services, a company that helps families organize and manage their digital photos and videos. I have observed that people want to surround themselves with their memories, achievements, and successes, but don’t always have the time and skills required to get this done. I know this because I am a working Mom who has been there and done that.
I was working as a software consultant for Oracle when I realized I needed someone with my skills to help me navigate through all of the available solutions. Thus, SurroundUs! Services was born, and I haven’t looked back. Helping people manage their memories and ensure that these are appropriately backed-up while still being accessible has become my passion.
Kids’ artwork logically fell into this same bucket. It was easy for me to scan my children’s 2D artwork and add it to our family’s photo library. But most of the artwork and things I wanted to save just weren’t flat enough.
But I was determined to find a solution.
Inspired by my classes as a film major ages ago, I took to photography and started to take pictures of all of the 3D artwork. The result was beautiful digitized versions of my kid’s artistic maturation, taken in a glitter-filled photography studio! I printed the images and bound them together in a book that the kids have cherished. But while the photobooks are fun to pick up and look through, I missed seeing my children’s art propped up by magnets on my fridge.
My Nixplay frame was the perfect complement to our new lifestyle. It was easy to set up a playlist and see my kids’ artwork shuffle through the last few years. It sparked conversations, reminded us of crafts created on rainy days, and more importantly, “sparked joy”! I was able to recycle and remove the last pile of clutter in my house and still celebrate my kids’ accomplishments. Mission accomplished!