Our Memory Boxes

posted by Andrea | 02/14/2013

memory boxes

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fitting to share how I organize our Memory Boxes — yes, believe it or not, we DO have 2 Memory Boxes!

We have 2 clear plastic tubs on the bottom shelf of our basement storage shelves.

Just 2 though — and neither one is full 🙂

memorabilia boxes

These 2 bins contain ALL of Dave and my memorabilia items from birth until now — which I feel is totally reasonable.

And even though I’m usually pretty adamant about not storing stuff we don’t need, use, or want, I do want to keep the items in these tubs — not only for ourselves, but also to show our children some day.

Want to see what’s in our boxes?

year books

The first bin has all our yearbooks, diplomas, varsity sports “letters”, newspaper articles about us, a few things from our wedding, and a few things from our childhood.

Hello senior picture! 

senior picture

And no, that’s not Nora — that’s my baby picture 🙂


Fun Fact: I won the Little League World Series – like, we beat the teams from the USA and around the world!

world series ball


This is a canvas painting Dave’s aunt made him as a very little boy. I thought it would be neat to use it in our nursery if we ever have a boy.

racoon painting

The second box has some letters, cards, journals, a few pictures, Dave’s wooden shoes, Vietnamese figurines from our international student, and a few items that have been passed down from our grandparents.

other memorbilia

I LOVE this old door knocker from Dave’s grandparents. I’m hoping to be able to use it when we get a new back door some day.

door knocker

This is the only scrapbook I’ve ever made (probably the only one I’ll ever make). It’s of Dave and my first year of dating… I’m still impressed with how nice it turned out!

scrap book

That’s it! 

I have a few memory items for Nora in one of her dresser drawers, but I’m trying to be very selective as I know how quickly these type of things can add up over the years. Plus, I’m getting into the habit of taking pictures of our memory items instead of keeping the items — and then those pictures go right into my digital photo albums.

Although it’s fun to look back through our bins every once in a while, I also know that I don’t NEED these items in order to hang on to the memories. The memories will stick around whether I keep the tangible items or not.

How do you store your memories?


Filed under: OrganizingMental & EmotionalStorage

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  1. Melissa


    I’m so glad I found this post! I’m just now finalizing my own memorabilia (my husband’s parents kept EVERYTHING and I’m dreading the day that we have to clean out his stuff). One thing I’m struggling with is artwork of mine that my mom kept. So according to this post, it looks like you purged most of that. Is that right??? Also, what about your report cards? Some of mine are missing and I’m upset about it. But maybe I shouldn’t be. Did you keep report cards/test scores/etc. from elementary and high school?


  2. Tammy @ SkipperClan


    so is the door knocker on the back door?! 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — not yet. both door we purchased have lots of windows so the knocker would be in a weird spot. Because of this, we haven’t dared to install it yet 🙂


  3. Patty@homemakersdaily.com


    Pretty much the same way. We have a box for each kid. Our daughter got married recently and we sent hers with her. Our son got married quite a while ago but we still have his. I have a file folder for myself and my husband and keep paper stuff in those. We don’t actually have memory boxes – just the kids.


  4. Becky


    I think most of my pictures are at my moms house. My family’s view is that while they are pics of me, they are her property. Thankfully there’s only baby pictures and most have been uploaded online, so we should be all right if anything happens to the physical copies… But as far as mementos, I only really kept the big stuff American girl dolls, Barbie dolls and a few
    Precious stuffed animals I couldn’t bear to part with. They are all at my moms waiting until my husband and I have a child of our own, and if that never happens, then until we have a bigger place and can keep them ourselves. My mom hated clutter and would go through our toys pretty often to make sure we didn’t keep things that we were too big for etc. she only
    Made exceptions for a few toys for each. Things we would want to be able to share with our own children.

    My husbands family tends to save a lot in the basement. Not very organized. Just kind of tossed down there. When y husband and I moved in together he had a box of photos from high school and college … We started going through them (okay I forced him) and he realized that the majority he didn’t want! He mostly just wanted his sheet music from band! Haha.

    Withy the whole digital age now, photo stuff it’s really an issue (thankfully) but I think souvenirs are. We try not to keep TOO many but we do have quite a few things that just have so much sentimental value. like our Disney stuff, it’s where we worked, met, dated, married and started our life together before we moved to Michigan (and now want to move back). But we keep those in the china cabinet in our dining room. Or mixed in with bookshelves. We could tell you Where and when we got each and every one as why it’s so special to us. So I made
    Most of those clutter things into home decor (even pretty mugs)


  5. Jessica


    I have one tub in my room for very special items. Little newborn things and birthday cards from the grandmother who is with Jesus. Each person in the family has 1 giant ziplock and all of their things go inside. There are 6 of us an it all seems to fit so far. My reason for having one tub is that it’s easy to store in my room, dry and climate controlled, and if anything should ever happen, we can take it out of the house with us. I think I do have some cardboard boxes in the basement from long ago. Space is no issue but time is! I do have some things on display so I should photograph them just in case.

    Regarding art and school work, I do as the previous poster and file a few papers by grade in a tote that holds hanging files.

    It’s hard to know what your children will want. I plan to have some things to give to my children someday should any of them be sentimental. If not, it can be trashed 🙂


  6. Laurie


    I would caution you about putting your keepsakes on the floor of your basement. We had a freak storm about 3 years ago and our basement flooded to about 18″. Our neighbors helped us retrieve all of our photo albums and scrapbooks before they got wet, but all of my kids school projects and papers were in a rubbermaid tub that did not get moved in time. I had keepsakes from each school year in labeled yellow envelopes inside the tub, but everything was ruined by the water. We have now moved all of our keepsakes upstairs permanently.


  7. Verity


    This was a helpful post!

    I think sentimental clutter is often the hardest to get rid of, and this was a great example of keeping the most special pieces.


  8. Miriam


    First, let me say, that English is not my mother tongue. But I’m speechless!!
    The Name in the canvas painting is my mother’s name!
    My grandfahther was Dutch and his family went to Argentine when he was a child.
    I read your Blog but I don’t write because is a little difficult and embarrasing for me.
    But I had to tell you that.
    I love your ideas and you have an adorable daugther.
    Have a nice day!


  9. Laurel


    That’s great! BUT, are you sure there isn’t more stuff at either of your parents’ houses, though? 🙂 🙂 I ask as I look at all of the stuff my kids are going to have to get out of here when they move out permanently.


    Andrea Reply:

    No Laurel, as far as I know, Dave doesn’t have anything at his parent’s house, and the only thing I left at my parent’s house is my small collection of Precious Moments. I don’t really want them and my mom said she’d just leave them on display in my old bedroom.
    Keep in mind that we’ve both been out of the house for at least 7 years so we’ve had time to “collect” everything over the years!


    Laurel Reply:

    Wow. I’m doubly impressed. You’ve inspired me to purge even more of my kids’ stuff–they will never know the difference and hopefully thank me later! Good for you (and your parents!)


  10. Jennifer


    I made school boxes for each of my kids. Underbed storage boxes kept in my room. They contain all of their year books (K-12), report cards, some of their art work and school work, extra school pictures and they got to choose some things to put in the box, like a test or report that they did very well on. All of their certificates are in a binder, in page protectors. I used pocket folders to organize their papers by grade. At their graduation open houses I displayed their scrapbooks, senior year book and the certificate binders.
    They will be given their box, binder, babybook and scrapbooks (5 each) when they move into their own house and have a place for it.
    I decided to do this because both my husband and my self have very little from when we were in elementary & middle school.
    Each child also has a baby box with their announcement, going home outfit, receiving blanket and a few other special items. I still have these for now in the back of my closet.
    I was given a cedar chest for graduation and it has my special things in it.


  11. Beth B.


    When school begins try this idea: Keep a paper file folder for each year. Inside place report cards, research papers, essays, and any other important papers. At the end of a grading period, cull and keep only the best of the best. After 12 years (or so), you will be able to cull again.
    We did this with our three daughters. When they left home, we gave each of them their folders. It was up to them at that point to decide what was important to them. CAUTION: for some children you might want to hold on to the folders until said children are at least 30 or so.
    Just so you know, those years pass quite quickly!


  12. Carolyn


    This is great! I keep our paper photos in one area, cards/letters in another in shoe box sized containers. My old yearbooks are on a book shelf. The items are in different places in order to incorporate them into our main living areas (see below).

    Do you worry about moisture in your basement? I always recommend my organizing clients keep memorabilia out of a basements and attics due to extreme moisture and temperature changes.


  13. Jen


    We do memory boxes, too. Each person has, like you, one clear tote for that stuff. But I don’t include our yearbooks in them, so we probably have more stuff than we need. But I figure, as long as it’s corralled, each person can decide what’s still important to them and what no longer seems so precious down the road.

    My kids will probably end up with two totes each, as my daughter is almost ten and her one box is pretty full. But as long as it’s all organized and in one place instead of cluttering up my house, I’ve made peace with that. lol


  14. Jennifer Madigan


    I love this. Growing up we were limited to one box each. If we had a new item that we just had to save we would need to get rid of something else. There were a few items that my Mother held onto that we might not see the value in as children but all of those items fit into her box and she kept them for us. I’m so grateful now that I didn’t have tons of boxes to go through when I moved out. Now that we have children we are trying to teach them the value of not keeping everything. They are still a bit young for boxes of their own but one day we will be creating that tradition as well.