Letting go of mess ...

I’m not so good at handling mess in my house.  A little obsessive I’d say, with the tendency to clean up the kids things before a project is entirely finished.  We have little space to spread stuff out, and can’t really “shut the door” on a mess anywhere unless it’s in their room … which is usually carpeted with Lego anyhow.  I have a 4-year-old who thinks Dad can make anything*, and should do so, at his command, every day.  The number of projects he envisions and asks for it almost staggering, and he gets far more of them than I’d like.  They all involve cardboard, string, glue, tape, markers, and wooden poles.  Often hooks, foam, staples and paint too.  I should be glad that he’s not old enough to be wielding power tools yet, though he of course thinks he is! 

I tire of tripping over collapsing castles, ships, cement trucks, canoes, and towers.  I’m always looking for places to stash them, but there really aren’t any that don’t get regularly bumped, knocked over, or moved.  I can usually convince Fynn to toss things after a few weeks, but it’s harder with Douglas.  His things are more painstakingly created, but I have convinced him that taking a picture to document it is a good way to preserve the memory, if not the creation.  I hope to make him an album of his Lego creations this summer. 

How do you handle your kids’ creative endeavors?  Do you pitch stuff when they’re not looking?  Archive in boxes?  Trip over the growing pile?  Purge once every few months?  Make them sleep on it till they’re willing to pitch it themselves?  Have a bonfire?  Send to unsuspecting relatives for birthdays?  I’d love some more ideas … My attempts to continually put supplies and projects away (or convince the kids to do so) feels like cleaning the beach after the tide has gone out … it’s a never-ending push at an impossible task. 

Letting go of mess?  Not so much honestly, more like waves of giving up, interspersed with spurts of manic tidying.

* The thing is, his dad can make an amazing number of things, and is a perfectionist about it so it takes an inordinate amount of time.  The current project is a very accurate Darth Vader mask for Fynn (see the pic above), made out of foam, so I’m pulling foam bits out of the cats mouths, putting salve on hot-glue burns, and trying to keep the unfinished mask out of the cats reach.