I have two children who are artistic geniuses. Well, okay, maybe not geniuses, but unbelievably talented. Let’s be honest: with or without prodigious talent, they have created a prodigious amount of “artwork.”

I have a drawer full of preschool finger paintings (I’ve had them this long…how can I throw them away?!). I can’t view the grade school art class products with a critical eye, which means that I also have a filing cabinet brimming with tiny canvases. I have their works on the fridge, my walls, shelves, everywhere. It’s a regular gallery around here.

When I was working on reducing my clutter recently, I felt overwhelmed by these stashes and caches. “If I’d been wiser,” I thought, “I would have been giving these masterpieces away all along.” For those of you who still have space in your cupboards and drawers, a bare spot on your wall, a shelf without a bird-shaped ashtray or pottery knickknack, heed my advice!!

Save the most special pieces from each child each year. Throw away what you can part with, and turn the rest into gifts and cards. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, distant relations, all of them get a kick out of kids’ artwork. (Remember, their homes are not yet papered with your child’s special genius!) When I look at these paintings I wonder why I never thought to write a note on the back to send to grandparents. For a birthday or other occasion, I could easily have used a bit of scrapbooking paper and turned kid doodles into stationery. And how about scanning a sketch and having it made into a mug or trivet or dish towel, even? It’s like gold, folks. Honestly. And then you can throw away the original! It’s a win-win!

Kids’ artwork makes really great gifts. Giving away kids’ artwork makes really clean houses. ’nuff said.