The Keeper of Memories

20 Years of Memories, Organized & On my Desk!

“There is no childhood home to return to for holidays or long weekends. My mother long ago packed my bedroom items into a box marked,”Amy” ,and brought it to me in Birmingham. Letters from old boyfriends, photos from school dances, moody poems I wrote at 13-I keep them safe. I am the caretaker of my own past.”
Excerpt taken from “Going Home Again” By Amy Bickers Mercer, Southern Living Magazine, April 2008

Parents, you are the caretaker of your child’s past. How do you accomplish this without being overtaken and overwhelmed by mounds and mounds of memories, which when out of control, become clutter rather than keepsakes?

The answer really is simple: You save the BEST and the MOST special keepsakes, photos and memorabilia. If you save everything, it diminishes the value of those SPECIAL items. They will get lost in the shuffle, and you will be left with clutter, not keepsakes!

We tend to start out strong, with the first many pages of the baby book (for the 1st child, at least!) filled out completely. But then, life takes over and we might pile papers in the back of the book for a rainy day. The rainy day becomes the rainy years, and before we know it, our children are ready to launch out on their own, and if we are lucky, we have boxes of memories, which may or may not be clutter, to pass along to them.

So, how can we reign in the clutter and sort through the toys, books, clothes, artwork, school work, and photos? Will we be able to pass along a wonderful, handpicked history of our child’s development, accomplishments and memories?

You certainly can, and quite easily, if you follow some simple steps:

1. First, think LONG TERM and SIMPLE.

20 Years of Memories

2. Think through the categories or stages of your child’s life.

To document the life of a child, consider the following categories or stages; Baby, Preschool age, School Age, and High School. You will want to develop a system of saving memories for each category of your child’s life.

My Daughter's Memory Box

This is my daughter’s memory box, in  which you will find a favorite baby blanket, a few special books, her baby book and photo album, precious outfits, her apron, cook book and tea set which we used often when she was little.

3. Consider how YOU operate, and plan accordingly.

Are you a detail oriented person who will actually fill in the blank spaces in the baby book? Lovely! Then simply set aside a few minutes each week or month, depending on your child’s age and rate of development, and do it! You know yourself and your life. If you are not someone who has time, energy or motivation to fill in those blank spaces in the baby book, then come up with a plan that will work for you. You can choose to use a calendar to record the milestones of your child’s development along with cute and funny sayings and incidents. You can then hang the calendar in whatever room you spend a significant amount of time, so that it is often accessible and you can record your child’s milestones on the run, as they occur. An alternative is to simply set aside a photo box or memory box, clearly labeled with your child’s name and, using dividers that come with the box, simply slip in the memories you jot down, photos, and memorabilia in chronological order. Look how simple it can be!

The same system can be used to record the preschool years, school age and high school years.

13 Years of School Treasures

4. Create a Simple System to Save Your Child’s School Work and Accomplishments

As your child approaches school age, consider purchasing a file box with 12 dividers or a banker’s box with 12 large envelopes. Then as each year slips by, keep a plastic or cardboard crate accessible and toss in all your child’s potential treasures……….., all the sweet cards, pictures, awards and brilliant writings. At the end of each school year, sort through and save the best and most meaningful. Then transfer them to the appropriate file or envelope. By the end of high school you’ll have a wonderful, handpicked history of your child’s life and development (with very little effort).

To borrow a phrase from Nike, “Just do it”! You’ll be glad you did (and so will your child)!

Happy (and Organized!) Memories!


2 Responses to “The Keeper of Memories”

  1. 1 Theresa Finnigin, Ready Aim Organize June 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Great post. So much of how and when you organize your child’s memories are about knowing yourself as a parent. Excellent observations and tips…as always!

  1. 1 6 Simple Steps to Photo Organization « In Order for Life Trackback on June 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm

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