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The Holiday-Perfect Way to Repurpose Your Children's Extra Art

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Day 19 of 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving: Those stacks of kid drawings? Wrap with 'em.

I've Kondo-ed my house. It was liberating to donate so much in one go. And for a household with two boys under five, we keep it fairly organized—minus that one hideous cabinet in the back of the kitchen. (However, even that cabinet has become a source of "discussion"—which is the grown-up way of saying my husband and I trade passive aggressive cabinet comments with more regularity lately.)

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We aren't neat freaks, but we try.

This remains true in all cases but one: my children's artwork. From the moment they brought home that first doodle on construction paper, I kept it all. In fact, I framed the first ones. This continued, and the pile continued, for four-and-a-half years.

The moment when you realize you can't actually keep *all* the artwork sent home from school.

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A photo posted by LaurenLocally (@lockelauren) on

Small fraction of child art in my life, seen here.

But what to do with all this paper? I couldn't throw it all out. Their hard work! The environment!

Then those Pinterest moms came to mind: Recycle it into gift wrap! I'd seen other parents wrap gifts in white paper to then have their children draw on it as a DIY project (no time for that here), and I realIzed I was one step ahead of that. I had the paper, tonssss of paper, already decorated.

Photo by Lauren Locke

From there, the 2016 artwork attic Kondo-ing was born. I divided the boys art work into three piles:

  1. Keep—for the special treasures. Each boy has one tub (that is in fact larger than a shoebox, sorry Marie).
  2. Wrapping paper material! Mostly uniform construction, 8.5" x 11" adorned sheets.
  3. Trash. Because sometimes you need to part ways.

Here's a look at the Christmas presents I sent down to family in North Carolina this year. By taping together sheets to make one large piece per gift, I had wrapped the grandparents gifts and found a new use for the saved art work. Win-win and more thoughtful to boot.

And let's say your children are grown, or you don't have leftover artwork strewn about. Many papers can be recycled into gift paper. What about:

Our Best Wrapping Tips and Tricks
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Our Best Wrapping Tips and Tricks
  • Wrapping gifts in yesterdays newspaper with either a twine or with red ribbon bow for a vintage look
  • Shredding used paper for fragile gift packing or shipping
  • Are you as frequent an Amazon shopper as I am? Use that brown stuffing paper as wrapping paper and decorate with a stamp, twine, stickers or greenery from the garden.

What wrapping supplies do you like to scrounge up from around the house? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving