Why I Removed Wrappers from Every Single One of the Crayons

This past weekend I walked in my office and was horrified. I haven’t entered this room in several months because I knew it was becoming the junk room. The room where everyone piles everything they don’t know what else to do with it, the room where everyone piles everything they want out of site when guests come over as they do the mad dash five minute clean to make the house look somewhat uncluttered. This room is the clutter chamber. A room where everything is lost, well, at least that’s how I usually feel about it when I see the mountains of boxes and piles of clutter.

I’m never finding anything in there ever again.

Well, that wasn’t the case this weekend. I’m doing my best to get organized this year, and this is the one room I hadn’t touched.

I stood in front of that door, took a few deep breaths and asked my husband to create a memorial for me if I don’t return. I turned the door knob and jammed my shoulder into the door to give me leverage to shove it open just enough to squeeze through.

There I spent the next several hours on three different days cleaning and clearing and organizing.

Three days.

Several hours.

One room.

I made progress like you’ve never seen before. Eventually the room was clean enough the door could be opened better and I was visited by a much relieved husband who decided to check on my life status.

Yes, yes he was happy the room hadn’t offed me.

He even helped me out by taking several full boxes out to recycling for me, which gave me more space, and more boxes to fill again.

When I finally got the bulk of the mess under control, I found myself compelled to sit on the floor and organize the kids art supplies. Well, just the crayons, markers and colored pencils. This took up a lot of time. I could have just scooped them up into different containers and let the kids handle it, but I knew they were a mess and aside from finding themselves in the junk room, there were a lot of things keeping the kids from using them.

There were several dried out markers. All tossed and the good ones saved.

Almost all of the colored pencils were so dull you could only scratch the page with the surrounding wood. I sharpened them all.

Then the crayons. We have so many crayons. Almost all of them had wrappers on them. Almost all of them were wore down to that wrapper on both sides.

No wonder the kids weren’t using them. Crayon wrappers are not easy to remove, especially if they’ve been left in the sun just a second too long or warmed by eager little hands scribbling furiously with them. The wax melts just enough to glue the wrapper to the side of the crayon.

Luckily I have fingernails, so I picked and pulled until every wrapper was completely removed. Friends and family looked at me like I was crazy. My husband came in the office a few times, shook his head and muttered about how much patience I have and how he couldn’t do the same.

I eventually finished every last one of those little colored buggers. And I celebrated, by standing up and dancing around on an entire leg that had fallen asleep and bent around in weird positions to pop my back and stretch it out after sitting for so long in an awkward crouched position.

So, why did I do this? Why did I spend so much time removing all of these little wrappers?

Why I Removed the Wrappers from Every Single One of the Crayons

1. My kids weren’t coloring. They had abandoned one of their favorite activities, and it wasn’t because they had grown out of it. With the difficult to remove wrappers and the crayons used down to that wrapper, they were finding coloring to be more of a frustration than an enjoyment. When I presented them with their newly unwrapped crayons they immediately went back to their color books and blank papers to create. I’ve received several wonderful pictures and notes this week, making it all worthwhile.

2. Now that the wrappers are removed we can use the crayons on the side to produce a different color effect. I can teach them different ways to use the crayons and different ways to hold it so they can experiment even more with their art techniques.

3. They don’t have to pay attention to the crayon names. Okay, actually, this isn’t one of my reasons for removing the wrappers, but I’ve heard other people remove them for this reason. Sometimes kids get so hung up on finding the crayon labeled red, they forget there are other shades, tints and tones of red to experiment with. My girls hadn’t fallen into this dilemma, but as they get older, who knows. At least for now I can sidestep the issue and we can focus on the color wheel instead of the name a crayon is given.

What is your experience with keeping the kids art supplies organized and in working order? I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you may have come up with over the years. Share your ideas in the comments below.

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