When I was pregnant, I became obsessed with acquiring as little baby gear as possible. Looking back, I have to admit I went a little overboard. Like, maybe I could have bought two bottles instead of one bottle. The funny thing is, I had no idea how much worse the clutter would get once the baby started growing. At age seven, my daughter has so many clothes and toys, it’s ridiculous. So much for minimalism.

Ballerina

The worst of it is the art supplies. I recently culled Audrey’s crayons and markers and filled a big box with duplicates and castoffs. I also had to throw away quite a few markers that dried out. I’m not sure what to do about all this waste. After all, we’ve long maintained that art supplies make great green gifts for children. (In fact, I’d say 100% of my daughter’s art supplies were gifts from friends and relatives.) They promote creativity and occupy their little hands for hours at a time.

Still life with flowers

I could ban art supplies from the house and let her use only one pencil and the blank sides of school worksheets, but I’d hate to stifle her artistic genius! Is art supply waste just an inevitable part of childhood? Or is there an eco-solution I’m missing?