A problem we have had in our home is organizing childhood keepsakes! My children make the most darling art projects, but we just can’t keep them all. They would love it if I did, but I really have to pick and choose. And I sort and purge when they aren’t around, otherwise we are borderline needing therapy for the separation anxiety they have with their things.
We have displays of artwork all through the house. Clotheslines with clothes pins, printed artwork on canvas, a refrigerator door full of coloring pages, you get the idea. When they’ve been on display for a couple of months, I sort through, find my favorites and store them away. I have a box for each of my kids and I keep my favorites in there. I also keep birthday cards, school awards, mementos from family vacations and a few movie stubs, soccer trophies and other odds and ends. The kids love going through their boxes and re-living those memories, but it has become such an unorganized mess.
I decided to tackle Dallin’s box. He is the oldest and has acquired 10 years worth of keepsakes. I know some have suggested scanning artwork and putting it on a cd/dvd. That is a great idea, but I have such a hard time parting with the little handmade treasures. I don’t keep all of them, but I do have my favorites and it is nice to have those in person.
As you can see it was a hodge podge of stacks and folders. The green folder on the bottom right used to hold everything. That lasted…about two years before it wasn’t big enough.
When he was 4 his preschool teacher made each child a keepsake book of the school year. She used duct tape to bind it. I thought it was such a great idea!
But even having one of those for every year would take up a lot of space. I decided to prioritize.
I decided that he didn’t need to keep every birthday card from every party he’s had. I saved at least one from each grandparent and all of the ones that had a little handwritten note to him. Something he’d enjoy looking at later on. I placed all of these along with all of the cards he’s made for us (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, little notes to us or siblings) and small keepsakes into a shoe box.
I sorted all of the mementos from family vacations and put them in a folder.
I put his class photos and report cards into the envelope sections of this School Memories Keepsake Album.
Finally I sorted through the artwork that I had saved for him. Organizing it by date (for the most part). I try to always date the project, at least by adding a year on the back, so that was helpful. I didn’t want to just set it in the box and have it be a loose mess again. I also didn’t want it to be in a folder that wasn’t easy to look through. I decided to copy his preschool teacher and make a keepsake book for all of it. She kept everything he had made that year, I kept just my favorites from over the years so I figured I could probably make two volumes for everything.
I decided that a Cinch was in order to make my life a lot easier. And it did! My Cinch binding tool is amazing. It punched right through the stacks of artwork, and made it incredibly easy to wire and cinch the bindings. I was able to make both of these books in about an hour. The longest and hardest part was organizing them, but once I had those two piles that I wanted to bind, it was a cinch! (sorry, I couldn’t resist)
I used this helpful video to figure it all out. It came with a step by step manual too, but if there is a youtube video to help me, I always opt for that instead.
I can’t wait to see create more projects with The Cinch. Calendars, recipe books, the possibilities are endless.
Now we can all sort through his artwork without having anything loose in his box.
Two volumes of pricessless treasures. Each was pressed down to fit in a 1″ cinch wire, but holds a ton of pages. Now the big question is….what do I do with these when he is grown? My husband says of course they will go with him, but I may have separation anxiety of my own at that time! 😉
10 years worth of treasures neatly piled into one tote. Underneath the two keepsake books are the folders of mementos, his yearbooks, school keepsake book (report cards), photo books from some of the family vacations we’ve been on, and his school journals. To the right is the shoebox with cards and notes, and the other items are wooden toys that he made with dad over the years, along with a soccer, bowling, and school trophies. He chose his favorite ones to keep. I also have a small bag with his blessing outfit, and a few pairs of baby/toddler shoes that will go on top of everything. I can’t believe that it all fit back into the box. When I pulled it down from the garage shelf last week it was busting at the seams!
Now I need to get another tote for the next 10 years. I fell as though I am not alone in this search for the right balance of saving and organizing. My sister and I have discussed this at length before.
I’d love to hear how you organize or prioritize your children’s keepsakes. Do you do something similar?
The products I used for this project are listed below. If you are interested in more purchasing anything for yourself, you can use this code for 20% off your entire order!
Disclosure: I am a studio member for LifeStyle Crafts/We R Memory Keepers. I receive products of my choosing in exchange for tutorials and projects shared on Gluesticks.