Catherine Jackson: EarnestGirl Chronicles


The Question Of Clutter

And A Solution For The Problem Of Kid Art

I’ve been asking myself the kind of questions I prefer not to poke at very often. The kind of questions with answers that feel rather like looking at myself under fluorescent lights. In a full length mirror. First thing in the morning.

One of those questions involves the never-ending piles which sprawl across the surfaces of my days. The answers, at first glance, have to do with things like school notices that must be filled out this exact minute or I can’t go on the field trip, and laundry emergencies like where’s my gym uniform?, and the ordinary immediacies like Ew! The dog has been sick on the rug again. There never seems to be enough time or energy left at the end of the evening for sorting and filing and sifting all of the day's detritus.

Upon closer and less forgiving scrutiny, I know the piles are an inescapable reality and I need to cope with them better than I do. They are psychic clutter, as well as a physical eyesore. They are composed of one-third necessity, one-third good intention and the last third? The last third is a sticky mixture of excuses and avoidance laced with a compulsive magpie-like love of recipes, articles, shiny words, and kid art.

No matter how hard I stare down those ones, the magpie piles, I know I can never entirely get rid of the kid art. I saved a marker-rendered bouquet in bright primary colours made by my nephew when the idea of being a mother would have made my ovaries pucker. There is simply no changing one’s nature.

I know I hold on to the kid art because the first lopsided circle, the first stick figure with hands like two sunshines with a hundred rays, the first medusa-like rendition of My Mummy are precious to me. So, for a very a long while, the kid art spread like a an invasive paper-and-crayon vine from fridge to wall to dining room corner to, eventually, to a storage bin in the kid in question's room.

However! There has been an answer of sorts. I have rooted out the spreading art and replaced it with a revolving art gallery of 5 frames.

I used Nexxt suspense frames which are easily taken-apart and put-back-together frames made of 2 panes of glass between which you can suspend any kind of art, even the awkwardly large kindergarten creations. I keep the best piece of art from any given term or season and rotate the gallery. A hidden bonus is that sandwiched between the panes of glass, last November’s field of poppies can easily tuck in behind this term’s self-portrait until it is eventually time to retire the poppies or pumpkins or copy-cat Miró to the big Tupperware bin in the attic.

Now, if only I could solve the problem of what to do with all these pretty, promising articles about de-cluttering...