Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Craft Drawer: Where Dreams go to Die

We are a crafty people. That is to say, my daughter and I are on the verge of becoming hoarders, buried alive by "nice sheets of cardboard" and a drawer full of bottle caps that will someday turn into something super neat. 

Once, a hand-me-down dresser came into my possession. It was heavy and rather than drag it upstairs to a bedroom where a dresser would make sense, I thought, hey, let's put this in the living room. We can keep our craft stuff in it. 

And so it was.

The dresser became packed with dowel rods and resin figures, stamp kits and sticker sets. It held an abundance of construction paper. If you opened one of those craft drawers, the contents would pour out like a slot machine jackpot.

Our craft supplies runneth over.

On a gloomy day in March, I determined it was time to tame the beastly drawers. I had a hand-me-down Sizzix that needed a permanent home. The dresser, I declared, would house only paper crafting supplies. All other materials would be relocated!

Oh, those other materials! Every manner of glued, taped, stapled creation had been stashed in various states of doneness. Construction paper with lopsided hearts cut right from the middle, paper scraps, homemade "books," pipe cleaners with dangling google eyes. The drawers were a time capsule of creativity from a bygone era. Digging through each layer went further back in time. The papers tightly wrapped around pencils representing her scroll phase gave way to long ropes of rainbow loom and playdoh crusted utensils.

"This is really sad," I said out loud to no one in particular. "It's like all of her dreams were just stuffed in here and forgotten."

Two hours later, nostalgic and sad, the craft drawers were organized into adult rows of paper crafting supplies. And childhood was dead.

But not quite. You see, on a cold gloomy April day, I decided that those wayward craft supplies could be rehomed. In the toy cabinet.

The toy cabinet is an Ikea wardrobe that originally housed my clothes like any good Ikea wardrobe would. Once we moved to a home with actual closets, the wardrobe became toy storage.

Lately, it hasn't been getting much action.

Teenagers don't play with toys and since it's been five years since my last decluttering attempt, there was much she'd outgrown. As in, all of it.

I couldn't bring myself to get rid of the mini-princesses. Even the rigid ones with immovable arms and legs that used to live in the sandbox. I put their grungy bodies into a box with Tinkerbell and her fairy friends. I carefully removed the batteries from Strawberry Shortcake's remote control car. I placed it in the box remembering how our dog loved to chase it and bark when he was a puppy. All of these things, about fifteen pounds of girlhood miniatures and accessories, I packaged and stashed away.

Someday I'll show these to my granddaughter, I thought.

Isn't that the ultimate in optimism? Saving the Barbies and the American Girl dolls and the mini-princesses for future granddaughters? As if, somewhere in the world, a family is raising a boy that's wonderful and awesome enough for my daughter. And my daughter will meet that boy and then someday bring her family, complete with at least one little girl, to play with her own childhood toys at my house.

It makes sense that I sold all of my childhood Barbies at a yard sale when I was 15.

After the packing away and the sorting of garbage and the piling of toys for donation, the Ikea wardrobe makes a smart craft storage vessel. All I have to do now is open it for a visual reminder that my child is more adult than kid. And she has a lot of pony beads.