Posts Tagged 'keepsakes'

The Keeper of Memories

“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

As another year of school comes to a close, memories of the past year are piling up. What are we to do with all the photographs, certificates and memorabilia each year?

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, like Amy’s mother, be able to pass along a wonderful, handpicked history of our child’s development and memories?

First, think LONG TERM and SIMPLE.

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.

Finally, consider how YOU operate, and plan accordingly.

Next develop a system of saving memories for each category based on your own personality. Are you a detail oriented person who will actually fill in the blank spaces in the baby book, and the school memory keepsake? 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 memory books, 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 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, clearly labeled with your child’s name and, using dividers that come with the photo 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.

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 Summer and Happy Memories!

Cheryl

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6 Simple Steps to Photo Organization

20 Years of Memories, Unorganized and Scattered Around My House!

Memories are on my mind (and on my to-do list!). In my previous post, “20 Years of memories, Organized and on My Desk“, I attempted to show you that it really can be a simple process to organize and enjoy memories, and specifically photographs.

On the other hand, I have worked with more than a handful of clients, who have 20+ years of photo’s and memories strewn throughout their homes. To them, and maybe to you, the process seems more than overwhelming, with no natural or logical starting point.

So, what if you are 20 years, or even a few years, behind in your organization of photographs? What if, in the midst of your crazy, busy life, your creation of those great memories have taken precedence over the organization of them, and they are now in piles, hit or miss, throughout your home?

It’s NEVER too late to Organize and Enjoy Your Memories!

Start with very simple goals. A realistic goal for overwhelming amounts of photographs is to organize them chronologically into clearly labeled, photo-safe boxes. Follow these 6 simple steps, and you will be well on your way to enjoying a lifetime of memories.

1. Gather ALL Your Photographs

Simple Photo Storage Boxes from The Container Store

Gather them from every corner, nook and cranny of your home, garage, attic and basement. Include any photo albums and books. This may be time-consuming, but it will save you from duplicating your efforts later in the process.

2. Put Your Photos and Photo Albums in Chronological Order

If you are MANY (say 30 or 40) years behind, begin by separating photographs by decade. Label photo-safe boxes by decade. Then simply separate all those piles of photos into these broad categories. Next sort each decade box into individual years. Label the outside of the box with the years and separate the inside of the box with dividers for each year.

Alternately, if you are only several years behind, just label each box by individual year.

Finally, within each year, you may want to consider separating into winter, spring, summer and fall. Photo boxes come with several dividers.Additional 5 x7 dividers can be purchased from Office Depot and other office supply stores.

At this point, you can confidently store the bulk of your photographs, while you organize one box at a time. The process will feel much more do-able and much less overwhelming.

A Simple Way to Organize Photos Chronologically

3. Purge

Now that you know what you have (and not before!), you can purge. As I always say, keep the best! If you hold on to EVERY picture, the volume becomes overwhelming and you won’t be able to enjoy any of them. The idea is to pick the best, organize those beautifully, and toss the rest. That way, you can actually access and enjoy your memories.

You need to be able to see what you actually have before you can decide what to keep.  If you are working on a photo box labeled 1970-1974, be sure to look through your photo albums (which you have already put in chronological order) for any albums with these corresponding years. Then compare your loose photos with those in the photo albums. You may find that the loose photo’s were “extra” from 30 years ago and can now be discarded.

If you are unsure of tossing any photos, consider putting them in a photo safe box labeled with the year and “extra photos’ for a year or so, until you feel more comfortable about tossing them. Then if you come across them in the future, you will have the assurance that you have these photographs in another location.

You may also consider passing extra photos to friends and family.

4. Label Each Photograph

Unless the date is already indicated on the photographs, label each photo or batch with an acid free, photo-safe pencil or pen with the date/person and/or event.

5. Determine to Keep up with Current Photographs

Follow these same simple steps as you receive new photos.

Sort into Chronological Order

Purge–Remember the goal is to pick the very best, organize those beautifully, and toss the rest

Label Each Photograph

Store in a Clearly Labeled Photo-Safe Box

6. Enjoy Your Photographs and Memories!

Now is the time to slip your photographs into photo safe photo albums or begin your scrapbook.

Remember, don’t start a system or project that is too overwhelming. Chances are, you won’t finish it and once again, your photo’s and precious memories will be shoved into a closet.

Enjoy those memories!

Happy (and Organized!) Days!

Cheryl





The Keeper of Memories

“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, like Amy’s mother, be able to pass along a wonderful, handpicked history of our children’s development and memories?

First, think LONG TERM and SIMPLE.

Think through the “categories” or stages of your children’s lives. Possible categories might be Baby, Pre-School, School Age and High School.

Secondly, think through how YOU operate.

Next develop a “system” of saving memories for each “category” based on your own personality. 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 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, clearly labeled with your child’s name and, using dividers that come with the photo 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.

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)!


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Organizing Just Got Fun!
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