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How to organise your memories – creating a memory box

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We all lead busy lives, packing so much into them that it’s sometimes difficult to catch your breath! But in the midst of all this busy-ness you are living a life full of memories that you will want to remember. What nicer thing to do than look back and reminisce with loved ones at things that have happened in the past.

Creating a memory box

The problem is that all too often we forget a lot of the smaller memories – the ones from day to day life – and instead only really see the highlights in our minds – highlights usually helped along by photos of events and holidays etc…

What would be great is to be able to capture all the memories that are important to us in an easy way – so that in years to come we can look back and smile at all the little, and big, things that have happened.

That’s where a memory box comes in!

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I can’t believe my daughter is almost 8 – it doesn’t seem possible! Although I have of course been making the most of the time with her as much as possible, enjoying ourselves and creating memories, these memories may unfortunately end up forgotten amidst the rush of life in general.

I want to remember what we did together, any funny things that happened, any developmental steps – and it’s the same for my life – it’s so nice to be able to look back over what has happened over the past years and reminisce.

There are already things that have faded in my mind as it gets full of even more memories as time goes on – and I don’t want them to fade at all. Trouble is – my head just isn’t the best place to ensure these memories are kept.

I forget things – very quickly! – we all do really. It’s a case of what’s happening in the here and now has to take priority in your mind and therefore all other bits that aren’t critical are lost – sometimes forever.

Sad, but true.

Think of your head as a filing cabinet where all your information is filed as you get it each day – pushing the previous information further and further back. Just as with a filing cabinet that isn’t organised well, whats the likelihood that you will be able to access all this information again? Pretty low.

Now, with important information you will be starting to get into the habit of keeping it in your Home File or Diary – for easy access when you need it, but with the other bits and pieces – memories, funny sayings, special moments etc… – that’s a whole other story.

There is a whole other genre of information that we produce on a daily basis that we want to be able to sort through, and curate, so that we can keep the things that are really sentimental and important – so that we can enjoy them again and again.

This genre is our memories – our memorabilia – our momentos.

There is so much within this genre, and it is so important and special – that we need to have some way to organise it all without it taking over.

There may well be things that you want to display amongst these memories – but with other things you will simply want to keep them – either so you can see them from time to time, or to hand down to your children.

But how do you keep these things organised in a way that they are accessible but out of the way?

The answer is to create a memory box – and I am a HUGE advocate of them – having kept one since I was a teenager. I am quite a sentimentalist at heart you know!

Memory box

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What’s the idea of a memory box?

A memory box is a place where specific, sentimental items can be put that you want to keep, but not display or have to hand daily.

I advocate having a memory box for every member of your household – as then they have something special and unique to them.

TIP – a memory box makes a great gift for a child when they leave home / get married etc… – and is a lovely tradition for them to take with them and start new ones for their children as well.

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What should I put in my memory box?

The list really is endless – and can be very specific to you – but here are a few ideas of the types of things I tend to add to our memory boxes: –

  • Cards from special occasion from specific important people in your life
  • First tooth / First haircut lock of hair
  • Photographs
  • Tickets to special events
  • Holiday momentos
  • Childrens artwork
  • School books
  • Certificates and Trophies
  • DVDs of events
  • Special clothes (I have my first ballet outfit! – so cute!)
  • Toys that mean something
  • Letters
  • School reports
  • Notes of important milestones (I keep my daughters baby book in her memory box so she can see all those developmental stages and how old she was etc…)
  • Diaries (these are great to look back over when you are older!)
  • Photographs of larger items that you had to get rid of but wanted a memory of (wedding dress, your homes / cars etc…)

 

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What if it gets too full!

Setting a limit to the amount of “stuff” you keep is vital to making a memory box a worthwhile possession for you. If you end up with something that’s too big then you’ll never want to take it out and look at it – and it will become one of the clutter hot spots in your home – the LAST thing we want to achieve!

The trick is to keep to one box per person in the family – and continue over the years to curate it so that only the memories that are truly important to you are kept.

I advise getting a largeish box – whatever style you prefer (I actually use a plastic box with a lid as my memory box is kept in the garage so then everything is protected from water, damp, mice etc..!) and, as with everything else in your home – start a one in one out policy.

Let’s face it – as we go through life, some things from our past are going to become more important, and some will be less important. As we look back in our memory box, then we can naturally get rid of some items that were once really important, and make room for others. This method will ensure that your memory box always contains those things that really mean something to you, and also that tell your life story.

TIP – If you want a more stylish box – but still have the waterproofing of a plastic box – why not line with wallpaper inside – then you have a gorgeous and very personal box for everyone in your house!

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How can I keep the momentum going for updating my memory box?

I like to gather items as I go, and just keep them in a drawer in the house as this is really quick and easy to do.

Then, once a year or maybe more, I sort through them and decide what to keep and how I want to update the memory box.

This is also a great excuse to look through the box and share some memories!

It only takes about an hour to keep on top of it in this way – and means so much.

I get into the habit of curating as I go – even the items that I have saved to add to the box sometimes don’t make it into it -because over time they have become less important. You will get into a habit of curating yourself – and once in the groove you will enjoy the process I’m sure (after all, you get to look through your most treasured items regularly!).

TIP – Write a note on the back of items so you know exactly when and what they relate to. It may be obvious now what something is – but do you think it will be in 10 years time!

TIP – I create an annual photo book as well as having a memory box, because I can scan pictures/cards/artwork into my computer and add them to this rather than bulking up the memory box with loads of papers (it also keeps a digital record of the papers which is fantastic should anything happen to the originals or should I choose not to keep all of them).

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How a memory box is the best way to store all your memorabilia - tips and tricksA memory box can be a fantastic way of keeping your past with you so you can look back whenever you want – without it becoming too overwhelming. It can give you a link to your memories, and ensure that things are not forgotten.

Keeping it safe and out of the way should ensure your precious items will stay safe – and give you access to your memories when you want them.

It’s a relatively easy thing to start, and makes real sense to start when you have a child, as all their special things can be added so that one day you can go through the box together and reminisce.

If you already have a memory box, or if this has inspired you to create on of your own – I’d love to know – so please leave a comment below…

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  • Pantha

    Oh, this is something I really need to do. Instead of keeping everything, just the most important things! I have several boxes and tote bags which need sorting. I really hate throwing things away and although I sometimes start on a box/bag I get discouraged and often just shove it all back. Decisions……. Am doing well with my home file, although it is more of a reference file at the moment. Thanks for your help.

    • Hello! So pleased you are moving forward with getting organised – the memory box is such a lovely idea as it is such a personal thing – and is great fun to make! – Good luck and let me know how it goes!
      Chrissy

      • This would also make a great wedding gift for a relationship memory box, or a christening gift (start it for the family for that child)

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  • So good that mentioned the need to curate. I always say, “One box you will enjoy looking through. 12 boxes in the attic you will never touch!”

  • That sounds amazing Sue – what a lovely idea – thank you so much for taking the time to share x


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