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One Small Step Towards De-Cluttering: Turning a Collection into a Craft

This summer I feel like I am totally surrounded by clutter and it is making me crazy! I know that kid clutter comes with the kid territory; I’ve accepted that and moved on. But with being stuck inside the house because summer in Sarasota is so HOT and it is raining SO MUCH, I am just itching to de-clutter!

The other part of my clutter conundrum is that we have been accumulating this ‘stuff’ for 5 years. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and in the first 5 years we moved 5 times. Once our daughter was born, we moved to our house in Sarasota and we’ve definitely put down roots. Moving is an excellent way to clear out clutter. It really forces you to choose between what you can and can’t live without and what is worth the hassle of moving and unpacking!

Collecting All.Day.Long

My sweet little 5-year-old is on her way to being a hoarder. I call her a ‘collector’ because that sounds nicer somehow. We haven’t had to make paths to navigate through her room, yet, so I think it’s still fair to call her a collector.

I’m sure a lot of moms out there can relate to having a kid collector. ‘Oh, this leaf is pretty!’ ‘Oh, I like this rock!’ ‘Mommy, look at this!’ I try to let her have her collection as long as she isn’t gathering cigarette butts, dangerous objects, and live (or dead–yuck!) creatures.

Her choice of ‘clutter’ are sea sells 

One of my daughter’s favorite things to collect are shells. She loves to find shells at the beach and bring them home. When she was younger I definitely got away with ‘losing’ them on the way to the car, but she’s gotten wise to my tricks and now we have a whole shell collection.

Getting Creative with the Collection

Since I can’t purge her shell collection without a whole bunch of drama, I started trying to think of a way to re-purpose them. Then a friend posted a Mother’s Day idea of making stepping stones! She purchased fancy rocks from the Dollar Tree, but I decided this was the perfect way to use some of the shell collection.

Making a Stepping Stone


We used this grout I found in our garage, aluminum pie plate and of course, shells! I used this grout because I am really set on eliminating clutter, but you can definitely use quick set cement. I don’t recommend plaster of paris, unless you plan on sealing it. If you place plaster of paris out into your garden the weather will disintegrate it unless properly sealed.

How we made it

While I mixed up the grout, I had my daughter place the shells into the pie plate so we would have an idea of how many shells we would actually need for the stone. To mix the grout I used one of our trusty Menchie’s spoons. She made me use a green spoon since I’d have to throw it away afterwards. (Girls, sheesh!)

I dumped the grout into the pie plate and smoothed it out with the spoon. Then she placed the shells around the outside of the pie plate, leaving room in the middle for her hand print.

This part was a bit messy! Be sure to have some paper towels handy!

The finished product!

I added her name and the year with a wooden skewer just before the grout set up. 

This project was a win-win-win for me! I cleared out some of the clutter, made something pretty for my garden, and I have a reminder of how small her hand was when she was 5!

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