stephmodo: An Easy Way to Preserve Your Child's Mementos

An Easy Way to Preserve Your Child's Mementos

• 13 April 2011

As a parent I'm constantly trying to figure out the best way to preserve and remember all the funny, little things my kids say and do. I try to record my children's funny sayings in a Word document and also in the Notes application on my iPhone. However, dealing with the massive amount of paper creations floating around our home is much more of an issue. Sometimes I come across a method that seems like a great idea, but ends up being too time consuming to pull off regularly. Like new year's resolutions, the key is to come up with solutions that are doable, realistic, and sustainable over time.

Here is a simple idea that's worked for me this year --one I am planning on continuing for a long, long time. I am hoping this simple method comes in handy for some of you too. It's so easy I almost feel silly sharing it here, but I've learned through experience that sometimes the most obvious solutions are often overlooked.

Basically all I do is build up a stockpile of medium-sized envelopes (preferably kraft brown, but manila will do the trick just fine) and simple labels that have enough white space for recording basic information. Then, when I have a bunch of little pieces of paper I want to save, I just place them inside and fold down the edge (however, I don't seal the envelopes as mine are adhesive). Next, I record the contents on the outer label, including the date, a brief explanation and the child's name. If I were really organized I'd have a specific color of label for each child.

I love this method for a few reasons:

1. It keeps my kids' "special boxes" tidy and easy to sort by date.

2. Instead of agonizing over which Valentines to save each year, I can keep them all--because throwing them all into an envelope requires zero mental anguish.

3. Because I have a system in place, I am motivated to preserve the little things, like the treasure hunt my son made for me one day after school; or the list he made of Baby Gray's talents (see below). To me, these types of mementos are more important to me than a great report card or a trophy.

Gray's Talents (by his older brother Luke, March 2011)

1. Sit ups
2. Big Smiles
3. Smile Noises
4. Crying
5. Rolling
6. Chewing/Slobbering
7. Being Good on a Date
8. Holding
9. Dropping
10. Nodding "no"
11. Copying


  1. I have used this method for years...I just label each one with my daughters' names and the year. I store photos, awards, projects, pretty much everything in them. Then they are all ready to be scrapbooked...too bad I'm not ready for that.

  2. I love this method. I"m in the midst of "the great clean-out" and am trying to make sure I have good, sound methods of organizing all that random stuff!

  3. Love the list of Gray's talents....too cute!

  4. What a great idea! I have stacks and stacks of things that I know i will never get around to putting in scrapbooks but I don't have the heart to toss. Can I ask you where you got your envelopes? I love the striations in them.

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  6. This is similar to what I have been doing for a few years. It works really well for me. One day soon I plan to blog it.

    On a side note, where did you find your envelopes? They are so much more fun than plan brown.

  7. simple and brilliant. this might even be a better method than my huge pile under the bed. :)

  8. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

    Where did you find those envelopes?

  9. Isn't Luke a little young to be dating? ;-) So sweet to document the siblings thoughts on each other.

  10. Lori, you are more ambitious than I...I gave up on scrapbooking years ago!

    Michelle, Erin & Whitney, I bought the envelopes in France. Maybe I will pick some up this month and throw them in my Etsy shop next month.

    Angela, our son was referring to Gray's constant presence on date nights for the Husband and I. Since he doesn't take a bottle, he gets to come with us wherever we go :)

  11. can you elaborate more on the "special boxes"? i know i don't need to start a system yet, but i'd love to know resources of where you get cute storage items so i'll be ready when the time comes. thanks!

  12. That list is really sweet - so great that you've "immortalized" it.

  13. Awesome idea, I write notes to each of our 4 kids twice a year just explaining our lives and how special they are, I leave them in their baby books to be opened when their 18!

  14. thanks for the idea! I love that you use kraft envelopes :)

  15. This is such a great simple and yet so easy to overlook. Our art table is constantly overflowing with little bits and pieces and since she's just beginning to draw realistic things, I find myself not wanting to throw any of her "firsts" away. Thanks so much! And so nice meeting you!

  16. Shirley, your idea to write letters twice a year is a great one. I want to start doing that too.

    Martha, I have a large plastic bin for each child and in it I place mementos--things I want to keep and things they'll want to have as adults. I had a special box as a child and I actually have one as an adult now too. In it I place things the children have given to me. I hope you are feeling well! Sorry I missed you and Jihan at Honore the other day...:(

  17. I love this idea! Can I ask where you got your labels? They're adorable. :)

  18. perfect. thanks for the tip. I'm starting this immediately! (first, I must hunt around the house for my stash spots, to consolidate the goods... :)

  19. Brilliant idea, and what a beautiful blog! I just shared this with my facebook fans :)

  20. You always have the sweetest ideas. Such a good & simple trick!


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