I am pretty sure I have hoarder in my genes. I was raised not to waste. That you should hang onto things because you never know when you might need them. It's not always a bad thing - sometimes those odds and ends come in handy, so long as you can find them. Then there are the things that are saved because they are special and carry sentimental value. Those are some of the hardest to part with, because while they may not be useful in the future, they are taking up space in the present, and I always feel guilty getting rid of them.
Naturally, these hoarder tendencies have carried over into my work. When one of my young clients presents me with a piece of art that they have created just for me I always make sure they know how much I appreciate it and I immediately display it on a bulletin board at work. Of course, after a while I need to make room for new pieces of art. Initially I saved the art, as each piece reminded me of my clients, how hard they had worked, and the fun times we had shared.
When I moved to a new office, and took all my pieces of art with me, I realized I had accumulated quite the collection over just a few years and I began to wonder what I was going to do if I stayed in this profession for 10, 20, or even 30 years?!
I am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project. One of her personal commandments, that I have adopted for myself, is to identify the problem. Although it might seem obvious now, it took me a while before I was finally able to identify the problem AND solution to my ever-growing collection of artwork.
The solution that I came up with, probably as I was trying to fall asleep one night, was that I could scan the artwork and then use the scanned images to create a screen saver on my work computer.
I have been doing this now for a couple of years and it has worked really well. Every day I enjoy seeing the artwork pop up on my screen and I am reminded of the many amazing kids (and families) that I've worked with. Also, since it is not uncommon for me to see the younger siblings of some of my previous clients, the children can see that even after the artwork is no longer displayed on the bulletin board, it is still on display.
What do you do with the artwork you receive at work? Do you display it, save it, or do you have another solution to the art-collection dilemma?