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What do I do with my children’s year-end school work?

If you are looking for an alternative to the piles of papers and tubs of art projects, here is a simplified minimalist approach to turn mounds of clutter into masterpieces. This is a purposeful and beautiful way to cherish and share your children’s creative work.

  • Minimize.
    1.  Eliminate duplicates.
    2.  Choose your favorites.
    3.  Choose ones that show personality.


  • Display.
    1. Display your favorites.
    2. Rotate. Rather than hanging so many that it looks like clutter, chose one (or a couple) at a time to enjoy, and then rotate with others.


  • Scan.
    1. Save digitally.
    2. Create thank you, birthday, or holiday cards.
    3. Use originals as wrapping paper.
    4. Create a Yearbook.


  • Recycle.

Depending on the ages of your children and the amount of work, you can make a Family Yearbook or one for each child. The books make great gifts to grandparents and teachers, too. Here is a snap shot of Anna’s Kindergarten and Emily’s 2nd Grade Yearbooks created on Shutterfly.

The point is don’t let tubs of artwork overtake the spare bedroom and haunt you with nightmares of scrapbooking obligation.  Simplify life and celebrate your children’s year of work.

We also use Shutterfly to memorialize our vacations.  Children love making memories and retelling the stories.  Our vacation books and yearbooks are a great addition to the family and don’t require much space.  It is also a great way to engage children in the creative process.  Let them choose their favorite art and pictures, write captions, and design the cover.

Tips for success:
1. Begin with the current year. Don’t let the fact that you have not created one for the past years, or for the older children, deter you from creating one for this year. If it works out well and you have the momentum, then work in the arrears. Or, let it go.

2. For the most effective means to the end, minimize, scan, and recycle throughout the year. When my children bring home folders of work, I immediately do my first round elimination.  It makes for a less daunting task at year-end.

I can’t think of a better way to be creative, celebrate my children, and minimize, all in one project.

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