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Decluttering Meets Kryptonite

Cool, by Thing2, Age 8

The first thing about going through papers that consists mainly of sketchbooks is finding something to do with them. I’ve done that.

At least with my sketchbooks.

But then there is Thing2.

we used to have a weekend tradition of going to different art museums and then taking the boys to get Thai food-a bribe for pretending to like art for two hours. Thing2, however, was always pretending, at least a little bit, to not like art.

I always bring a sketchbook to art museums. That’s how I consume art. That’s how I make it part of me.

Thing2 Will start our visit pretending that come out like his brother, he could care less about Turner or Constable or Picasso, but as soon as my sketchbook comes out, he’s asking if he can borrow it for just a few minutes, and I’ll turn over my 6 x 9 pad and pen.

When he first started doing this, I believed that I would get my sketch pad back. Now I’ve made it a habit to bring two.

As I’m cleaning out my closet, I’m finding surprising number of surrendered sketchbooks-all of them chock-full of copies of paintings, characters for fan-fiction scripts, and spaceship designs.

I may have found my decluttering kryptonite. The decluttering gurus will tell you that nostalgia is not your friend, but tonight it’s one more unexpected thing to be grateful for. These drawings are as illustrative of his childhood as are any of the snapshots we’ve taken. I know not one scrap of paper from these books will find its way into the recycle bin or even off the spiral binding.

I’m clearing another shelf for his sketchbooks. He still draws, and I know the collection will grow more slowly as he divides his creative time between drawing and writing and his band. But even if he returns to drawing full throttle, I know I will buy a bigger house before I think any of his sketchbooks and wish them goodbye.