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Here is a simple guide to how I’ve been sorting, saving, and storing my children’s keepsakes and mementos for twenty seven years.
What to keep and what not to keep? Every mom is going to have her preference but here is how I decide. With six children I would be buried in papers, artwork, trophies and special items if I did not have some sort of discretion. Sorting, saving and storing children’s keepsakes has been a work in progress for me and I’ve found a system that is quick and easy.
The most important question is-Will they and their significant other, or children, think this was worth looking at? I can tell you that no adult child wants to haul huge storage containers of their childhood mementos place to place, or sit for days and go through each item. With that thought in mind I save-
-A few or more sweet outfits from baby and toddlerhood, and a few pairs of little shoes, anything monogrammed and items from baptisms. A first haircut, a favorite blankie or stuffed animal and a few hospital things. Little mementos that trigger strong memories. (This is very difficult but gets easier as time goes on to weed out what is memorable or not-I saved so many clothes and then would revisit those boxes years later and choose less and less to keep.)
-School aged-artwork and papers that are significant-they have a handprint or drawing of themselves, something “about me”, a sweet story or note, or artwork they’ve worked very hard on. Not workbook pages, or a generic project. Something one day that they can look at and know something about themselves at that age. (These things greatly decrease while in high school.)
-Awards for something significant-Hardest Worker, etc. Not participation ribbons or trophies (only because my kids are very active in sports-if they had worked hard to accomplish one season only I would probably save that.)
-Letters written to my children from me, (I keep the ones written to me in my own scrapbook box, see below), their dad, their sibling, or grandparents, etc. Not generic birthday cards.
-Small mementos of little stuffed animals and toys that they adored. As we clean out rooms and purge I often ask “Do you want to save this?” If yes, it goes up in the scrapbook box OR they keep it in a special little box that stays in their rooms.
How do I organize and store children’s keepsakes?
I have always had a box or boxes in a closet or on a shelf (which can be labeled by child, or can be sorted through if just one box) where I can easily place these things until they go up to large plastic lidded storage bins in the attic which happens about once a year during my 40 Bags in 40 Days declutter method.
Here’s a visual look at the process:
I hope this post on sorting, saving and storing children’s keepsakes has helped you-let me know if you have any questions-I always check back to answer them.