Okay moms! This is a simple and affordable way to organize all your kids' (and your own!) precious pieces of artwork, certificates, letters, and papers that you value enough to hold onto for years. This is not my original idea--Pinterest, slightly modified (www.simplykierste.com).
In this post I'm going to cover the PRODUCTS and HOW-TO'S of putting the memory box storage system together. In my next post, I'll walk you through the PROCESS of handling keepsake items from the time they enter your home until they find a place in the storage container--if they are important enough to make the cut!
Things I love about this organizing system:
-Super affordable and simple to set up.
-Once you have it set up, you're good to go for your kid's entire childhood.
-It limits the amount of stuff you can keep because you only have a certain amount of space,
while still providing sufficient space for the items you want to keep.
- It's so simple to use, your kids can play a major role in determining what to keep and
filing those items away.
-Stackable and easy to store.
The picture you see below is of my 18-year-old daughter's memory box. She started college this year and moved 2,500 miles away. She packed her life into 2 suitcases, a carry-on, and a backpack and flew to the East Coast. All she left behind was this one memory box and another storage container of similar size with a few sentimental items, like her student council sweater, high school yearbooks, journals, and every pair of pointe shoes she's ever worn. And that's it! The memory box provided just the right amount of storage space for her 18 years of treasures. When she gets married or finds a more permanent living situation, it will be very easy to transfer these items to her. Okay--logistically easy--emotionally, not so much!
Putting the system together (see links to and explanations about products below):
1. Hang the green hanging file folders in the hanging file storage container. Make sure your container is made for hanging files because it has a lip inside on which the folders hang. For my kids' containers, I used 15 hanging files: 1 for every school year (K-12) plus one for preschool and one for baby. For the adult containers, I used broader categories like childhood, high school, college, etc. I also made some files that were not year-specific but category specific.
2. Take the same number of manila folders as green hanging folders and label them. I used Avery labels because you can go to their website and find a template for the particular label you are using. You can design, customize, and print the labels easily. I made a label for each school year (K-12) plus one for preschool and one for baby. I staggered the 1/3 cut file folders to make it easier to read the labels.
3. Put each manila folder inside a green hanging folder. I put items I wanted to keep clean and flat inside the manila folders. Thicker items were placed behind the manila folder but still inside the same green hanging file folder.
4. Make a label for the front of the bin. Again, I used Avery labels. In this case I just used the 8/12 x 11 full sheet labels. I made a google doc template (see below) and just inserted each person's name, printed 2 per label sheet, and cut them in half.
5. Find a home for your bins that makes sense. As you'll see in my next post, you will not need to access these bins often--perhaps once or twice a year. I store my memory storage containers up high in my master bedroom closet. I have limited storage space in my home and this space was available. Because the bins are nice and neat, they go unnoticed in the closet and it's a great use of vertical space.
You may be thinking, "What about items I want to keep that won't fit in the bin?" I'll tackle that next week. I'll also address getting through all those stacks and piles of your kids' papers and getting them into memory box storage containers. I'll go over the process and routines I use to manage keepsake items from the second they enter my home until they leave my home or make it into the memory box.
Links to products:
I found the hanging file storage containers at Wal-Mart (black lid removed in the picture) for around $5 each. I purchased 8 containers--1 for each member of my family plus 1 extra for letters. My hubby and I aren't big gift givers but we write each other a letter for birthdays, mother's/father's days, and valentine's day. I'll hold onto those!
I used letter-sized green hanging file folders and 1/3 cut plain manila folders. There are cuter file folders out there, but because these bins are out of sight and I needed enough folders to fill 8 bins, it wasn't worth the extra expense. Both types of folders were also purchased at Wal-Mart.
After you link to the google doc, PLEASE go to "File" then click "Make a copy." ONLY EDIT AND CHANGE THE COPY!! Otherwise you will change the original and everyone who clicks the link will see your changes. Thanks!