Trash and DD

niveaNovember 16, 2009

Help! Ok, I am not the best at housekeeping or organization, at all. Even though I am a stickler for cleanliness and organization -- mostly my coping skills have been to hire someone to do things for me that I have the most trouble with.

So anyway, DD is very creative. She has always been an artistic little soul and makes a lot of creations, daily. When she was younger it wasn't so bad cause I could throw away most stuff and she didn't notice and it didn't build up. I kept some stuff to put in her keepsake box. So now she is a bit older and she gifts a lot of things to me and wants to keep a lot of stuff....and its made from trash. She likes to make stuff out of gatorade bottles, toilet paper (not used, thank goodness), paper towels, duct tape, basically stuff you find in the trash. She decorates my room with it, all over my nightstands, my dresser, my bathroom, her room, the living room, the walls, the kitchen table....I don't know what to do. She is so proud of what she creates and yes, it can be pretty neat....but it invades everything. I don't know how to tell her I don't want anymore cause she makes me something about once a day and now I can't throw it, ideas? Anything?

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Just tell her there is no more room for things. Say something about a fire hazard or tripping or no place to put your things. Suggest she keep them in her room to keep them safe. LOL

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 5:37PM
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She sounds like a real honey, beavering away and making all those things for you ! How old is she ?

I am all for supporting creativity but you clearly have to set some boundaries for it, especially in your case.

Perhaps you could encourage her to do some other activities. Perhaps she needs to spend some more time with friends outside the home.

My son was a lot like your daughter, except he had scientific experiments all over the house. Now he is older that has all gone by the weighside, he is 17 and is bogged down with school studies.

I think you will have to say to your daughter that there are limits, perhaps explain this before the next creative onslaught.

I went to a shop yesterday, which is called reverse garbage. It is a place where all sorts of "stuff" turns up. You daughter would love it !

Give her a hug, she sounds terrific.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Take a few pictures of each one and create a scrapbook, with dates and notes galore. Then toss or donate the artwork as you go. I'm sure a lot of senior centers would appreciate them, ahem.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 6:26PM
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I had a niece just like that, but not with the trash though. She was/is so creative. I was jealous, I could hardly get my son pick up a crayon. Be thankful she is so creative. How old? I have a feeling 9 or 10..She will probably outgrow it somewhat. Enjoy her enthusiasum while you can, and hope some of it continues for the rest of her life.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 8:20PM
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DD is 6. She is also considered "gifted"

Popi - DD would LOVE that place. She's gotten really into the "green" movement with all the commercials and stuff and really understands what green is.

jessy - "I'm sure a lot of senior centers would appreciate them, ahem." LOL, my belly hurts from laughing.

izzie - I am very thankful, I think its awesome for the most part. It just kind of nauseates me waking up to it plastered all over my bedroom and then walking into my bathroom and it is there too. A lot of it is art, but some are creations of stuff that sometimes works, sometimes doesn't and most of the time that just takes up space. Yeah, I sound really heartless right now (especially because some of the stuff is made for me)....and I want to kick myself for it, I just don't want an eyesore of a home and I already have problems with being organized myself so its like a dual issue.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 10:14PM
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If she's only 6, don't throw anything away. She's making you something that she considers wonderful. No one on earth will judge you as having an "eyesore" when you have her treasures around. Your organization can't be that hindered by her artwork.

Find a place to hang a cork board, and rotate the "art gallery" exhibit.

You will hurt her feelings a great deal if you reject her and her art work. Many kids never get over that kind of rejection.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Oh, nivea, I feel your pain!

My DD used to make all sorts of creations using tape and scissors. She wanted to keep every little snip of paper, and there was tape on everything. She's 15 now and I still find the odd bit of scotch tape here and there.

I wonder if you could help her talk through what being "green" means. It is good to reuse something in a "useful" way. Certainly don't criticize her, but give her a way to redirect her green consciousness. Keeping trash combined in new ways for no purpose is not green. In fact, it is often called hoarding.

You could also set up a small gallery area in every room to enhance the display of her prolific works. Perhaps she could see the value in this. Tell her you can see them better and they look more important that way.

If you have made a big deal over each of her creations, maybe she thinks you really do treasure each and every one. She may wonder why. Don't reject her efforts, but you don't have to gush over them either.

You can set limits in ways that are tailored to your situation. For example, I told my DD no tape on wood furniture.

My efforts to keep us from drowning in her projects didn't squelch her spirit. She now draws - mostly faces - and takes artsy photographs. I do still have a few creations from her younger years that really appealed to me. And we do still have a pinata in the kitchen that I'm dying to pitch (maybe when she goes to college?).

Hang in there. She will outgrow this, and it is OK for her to learn to respect the boundaries of space in your home.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 6:32PM
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I think maybe she should be encouraged to explore collage. It would be similar enough to what she's doing now, but would produce things that could be filed away FLAT and rotated in "the gallery" that is your home. My daughter used to do her drawings on a million loose pieces of paper. I was always encouraging her to draw in her spiral art book so I wouldn't lose anything. It sometimes worked...

It might help to let her know that almost all museums only display a small percentage of their collection. Lots and lots of art is put in storage and brought out only occasionally or maybe never at all. I think the idea of photographing the work, cataloging it as a museum would, could be an interesting project. You could do some learning together about how museums work and give her a context for putting things in storage.

If every single piece of art a museum owned was out on display, it would detract from the overall experience. One would not be able to appreciate the qualities of each piece. I think that is the overwhelm you are feeling. Is there a delicate way to convince her that you are not able to enjoy the beauty of each individual work of art with so many piled up?

I also agree that the hurt she may feel could be long-lasting and therefore urge you to handle this very gently. It is said that there is a moment, when we are young, when our view of our parents changes irrevocably. We are suddenly aware that they are not the perfect people we thought they were and it usually involves a sense of hurt or betrayal. I absolutely know when my moment was with my own mother. Not sure about my daughter's moment with me...she's not in therapy yet! ;-)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 1:52PM
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You do realize that the pieces you pooh-pooh now will be funding your retirement-home lifestyle when she becomes a famous artist, right?

I second what Susan suggests:

Even if her room is tiny, make a corner (or side) of her room into an artist's gallery space: Install cheap wood ledges high up on the wall and some more shelves below them. Tell her that's her special "museum" show. That's where she can display her things, and when the shelves get a bit full, it's up to her to pull some things off (and photograph them for posterity--yes! make her feel valued!) to make room for fresh stuff.

I also think you should allow her to choose just one or two items she thinks were her best creations to put on a kitchen shelf.

I have a friend who framed one of her kid's collage pieces and hung it in the guest bathroom. It really shows his creativity and tells guests that the parents value that.

And as another poster or two have said, in a few years, she may very well look at this stuff and say "YUCK!" and move on to some other creative endeavor. Bear with it.

My parents never saved anything of mine. I still resent them for that. I might not have been Norman Rockwell, but I'm sure some of that stuff was OK to live with!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 2:02PM
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Creativity does not have to equal mess and disorganization.

Set some limits for her.
Help her get organized.
Clear out clutter.

You will be helping her establish life skills and avoid burdening some future mate with Miss Sloppy.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:57AM
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