Storing + Valuing Kid's Curiosities in a Small Space

With three kids to a room I have a lot of trouble keeping EVERYTHING minimal. Without the space for various dressers, we put everything in their shared closet and keep capsule wardrobes. Without the space for three beds, we use the triple bunk leaving the footprint of just one. But when it comes to art work and curiosities, I am sometimes at a loss. They come home from school with handfuls of art weekly and we seem to continually be collecting little trinkets that are "so special" to them. Keeping these in order and deciding what to keep has been a continuous learning process and work in progress, but we have developed a few systems that help a lot!

With art, we take digital copies of things they really like and then recycle them. Pieces the kids really love get hung on the wall in their room for a week or so and then we swap them out for the next batch of art.The very rare piece that we all love and attach meaning to might be framed, maybe. With a small rope to hang art on, they can see the limited space and don't insist on keeping everything. Minimalism in a larger home would be a challenge because you don't have the built in excuse that we did: we simply don't have the room! 

With little trinkets, models, figurines, etc, we needed a plan because I swear ours were mating! Especially when one of our kid's has a particular interest such as Lily right now with horses and Chloe with owls, penguins, and cats, those figurines hold special value. In the past I might have been more cut throat with their little curiosities as their interests changes with the weather, but at my kid's ages (5.5, 7.5, 8.5) they are maintaining interests for longer seasons now (years!) so I want to value them out of respect for them.

Having a set spot for things you're going to store really helps things stay minimal, because in theory, as the space runs out, the things must stop coming (or be traded for new things). With the help of the kids, I decided on a random number of stuffed animals last year, so every time the kids want a new stuffed animal (basically every visit to a thrift store this comes up!) they have to decide if they want it enough to replace one they already have. We don't just add on to infinity, we swap out, donate, and maintain the same numbers. Same goes with trinkets. Now that I have this little shelf, they know they can fill it with special things in their three shelves each, but they will need to donate something to make room for new items if at some point they have the hankering. The shelf was a thrifted find for under $4 and I love how it limits what we keep, while still valuing their little collections of special things. 

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