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


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