I am not sure I understood before I had kids how much stuff comes along with those cute little bundles of joy. And it wasn’t just toys and clothes–it was a lot of paper! As my kids grow (Brook, age 6 and David, age 4), I realize that some of these things will be very meaningful to them someday, and as the mommy, I am the caretaker of those memories. Some things we are collecting lately are photos with friends, favorite birthday cards and special art projects from school. So how can I keep these items in a state that they are kept, but also out of circulation in the prime areas of my home? Allow me to share with you my solution, implemented while I was pregnant with my daughter, and that has worked really well. I call them “memory boxes”. Before I proceed, let me be very clear that I am not a scrapbooker (or scrapper, as a dear friend refers to herself), but even for those of you with that artistic flair, I think you will find this can help in keeping the “raw material” in an organized state.
I started with a box roughly the size of a shoe box, and labeled it with her name. At the same time, I created a similar box with our family name on it, so that we could easily keep general family memories separate from those that were child specific. Each time she received a special card or picture, important mail, or her first recital program, it went in the box. Once I filled up her first box (by around the age of 5), I wrapped a rubber band around it, and moved it to her closet. I then started a new box with her name and a number 2 on it, and again began filling it with special items that were meaningful to her. When adding items, I check to see if they are dated. If not, I will write the date (or at least approximate date) on the back. By the time she is old enough to appreciate it, I have no doubt she will have a great time going through the items, and reminiscing. She may even share some of these items with her own children someday.
I like to keep my memory boxes on a shelf in the coat closet, simply because it is an easily accessible place, and I don’t have a lot of other uses for that area. However, if you select a nice looking container, you could easily store them on a bookshelf or somewhere more visible.
Give this idea a try and see how this works for your family. I hope it gives you a way to save the memories, while minimizing the time and space needed to manage them.
My name is Lori Fowler, and I am a professional organizer working with clients in the Winston-Salem area. If you would like professional help with organizing your home, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 336-978-6211. I will be pleased to talk with you.