Posts Tagged 'scrapbook'

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!


The Inept Scrapbooker and 13 Years of Memories

My Daughter's Photo Gallery and Scrapbook

5 Simple Steps to Organize & Document Those Precious Memories….

Graduation Day is upon us, once again. Two of our 4 children graduated from high school 2 years ago, and this month our middle son will begin the next step of his journey. This is a bittersweet time in our lives. Sweet, as we look back over their accomplishments and individual growth through the years and see the fine young men and young woman they have become. And sweet, knowing we have done all that we could have to prepare them for this next stage of life. Life away from home. Bitter (actually not bitter, just a bit sad), as they will all 3 be in different parts of the country.

How quickly I forget how crazy busy the senior year of high school is! The last few weeks of the school year include prom, college prep, senior capstone service projects, end of year banquets and celebrations, wrapping up sports seasons, and of course, graduation.

In the midst of it all, I complete a memory book for each of our graduates, spanning their 13 years of school, along with a photo gallery frame with sweet memories of their high school years, to be on display at their graduation party, and to pass on as gifts for the graduates.

This task is a joy, not a burden, in large part because I have taken a few simple steps to collect and document their memories and accomplishments over the years.

Of all the organizing projects we might undertake, tackling photos and memories can be the most overwhelming. But, on the other hand, it can provide the biggest payoff in terms of joy, satisfaction and freedom. Our photos simplify life by providing memories without having to keep all the stuff associated with those memories.

It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, if you follow these simple steps:

1. Keep only the best!

If you hold on to EVERY photo and piece of memorabilia, the volume becomes overwhelming and you won’t be able to enjoy any of them. The idea is to pick the most special, organize them beautifully, and toss the rest. That way, you can actually access and enjoy your memories.

2. Contain The MemoriesPurchase a scrapbook, photo album or memory box for each child

Be realistic. You know yourself. Don’t start something that you won’t keep up with. If you know you won’t finish a scrapbook, then don’t start it, as it will only bring you stress, not joy. If a scrapbook isn’t your thing, then purchase a simple photo album or memory box. Keep in mind that it will need to accommodate 13 years of photos and memories, but remember– only THE BEST!

When each of my children began kindergarten, I started a school age scrapbook for them. I intentionally purchased spiral bound scrapbooks, which limited the number of pages that I had to fill for each of their years of school. Basically, I had a bout 5 pages per year. Not so overwhelming for this inept scrapbooker!

3. Gather The Memories – Each year, place an envelope in the back of your photo album or scrapbook and begin to gather photos and memorabilia of that year.

As each school year began, I simply put a manila folder in the back of each of my child’s scrapbooks to gather pictures of that year. As I had pictures developed during the year, I would get an extra copy of the best that I had for each child, and simply slip them into their envelope.

4. Edit The Memories – At the end of each year sort through and pick out THE VERY BEST (toss the rest……yes, toss the rest- or give to Grandma!)

By the end of the school year, I had gathered highlights of each child’s year, which generally included their first day of school,  highlights of the year, special activities and sports, holidays and summer fun. I then choose the best, most memorable, and most meaningful to incorporate into their memory book.

5. Organize The Memories -Beautifully and Simply

Finally, I spent a few hours arranging the photos and memories that I had collected for each child into their scrapbook. Despite my ineptitude as a scrapbooker I enjoyed these hours. It was a time to reminisce and review each child’s year. I don’t try to tell a story on each page, as a seasoned scrapbooker may. Instead, I simply mount the best pictures that I had for that year, along with a a few colorful die cuts, photo-safe stickers, card-stock and a few captions or funny sayings.

Matt's Photo Gallery and Scrapbook

My Son's Photo Gallery and Scrapbook

As my children head off to college, this inept scrapbooker is thrilled to have a picture story to remember the past, as I look forward to their exciting years to come.

Times have changed, and over the years, so have my photo habits. Even this old girl has gone digital, ordering and storing pictures online. Many people now create their scrapbooks completely online. The entire process has been simplified, making it easier for us to be the keeper of memories.

Happy (and Organized!) Days!


P.S. Congratulations Graduates!

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