Collecting and curating your kid’s memorabilia in a memory box will allow you to share the early memories of their life with them in the future. Working with clients dealing with the emotional attachment to items is some of the most challenging and sensitive work that I do as a professional organizer. It is important to cherish important memories and keep the objects that have important meaning to you while balancing how much space and time you want to devote to preserving those memories.
Create A Memory Box for Each Child
As a parent to two young children, I know how hard it is to process all of the items that come home from school, the art they constantly create, and organize the photos that you frequently capture. Multiply the amount of kids you have and its a major project! That’s why I am a firm believer in keeping a memorabilia box or two for each child. One should hold paperwork you save in an organized a referenceable way. The other only the most precious objects from their childhood. You must be ruthless or you will want to save every little thing.
What to Keep In A Kid’s Memorabilia Box
I like to keep the highlights from each year of my children’s lives. Here are some examples:
- Really special school work
- Pictures they have drawn of themselves or our family
- School photos
- Report cards
- Photos of large artwork or projects that were special
- One copy of our family holiday card from each year
- Special notes or cards from relatives
- Notes they have written me
- My little written memories of them at the time
- Flash drives with backed up family photos if them
- Medical notes or milestones
- Family heirlooms (i.e. homemade blankets, clothing or toys)
- Awards or trophies
As you decide what items to keep in your child’s box, think about whether having that object will be meaningful to you or your kids in a few years. Is that memory for them or for you? Is there a photo of your child with the object (say a favorite toy) that will remind you of that item without having it? Do you really want this or are you just procrastinating making the decision to let it go? You do not want your child to be overwhelmed with minutia they must sort through when you hand the box off to them in the future.
How to Set Up A Kid’s Memorabilia Box
As I stated earlier, I suggest one to two boxes to store memories for each kids. I like to use a plastic filing box (preferably with a waterproof seal) that can hold hanging files and another plain clear plastic tote (with a waterproof seal as well) to hold objects larger than paper.
Set up the filing box to have a hanging folder for each year you want to track. For instance, Age 1-18 or Preschool-Grade 12. Create a pretty name label for the front of the box. This makes it easy to file photos, paperwork, cards and other memories into the folders as they come in. As the years go by, you will not have trouble discerning which year something was made or written in our child’s life. Try to write notes and memories about each year, especially a the start and the end of school so you capture some highlights.
In the tote box, add bigger items like a trophy, baby blankets, baptism candles, scrapbooks or anything that will be too large for a folder. Be ruthless about what you put in here to really make it only truly special items.
Maintaining Your Kid’s Memory Box
One of the joys of collecting these items is to enjoy them while you maintain them. That’s why I suggest looking through the boxes at least once a year. As you review what is in there check in with yourself and your kids about what still has meaning. Sometimes what we save is such a distant memory we do not even remember why we kept it.
If you involve your child in the memory box as well, be sure that they feel a tie to most of the items you store. It can be a great activity to share time together and show how much you value and love them through both of your memories.
Kid’s Memorabilia Box Kit
If setting up a memory box for your child seems overwhelming consider purchasing a premade one. There are many vendors who create custom vinyl labels for memory bins or set-up the whole bin for you. I have made it easy to create your own bin in minutes with a few supplies.
- Plastic File Bin
- Hanging Files with clear tabs
- Life’s Lists Kids Memorabilia Printable PDF
My printable PDF contains instructions, tips, pre-made hanging file labels in color and black and white, as well as templates with prompts to capture memories for each year from pregnancy to college graduation. Set up everything you need in minutes and start sorting your memories into the files.
Enjoy those Memories
Hopefully you are excited to start capturing your child’s memories in a more organized and purposeful way moving forward.
Kristin Vander Wiede is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing and Life’s Lists printable organizing labels, systems and activities.