3/4/09

Secret to Saving your Kid's Memories!


I knew I’d get asked what I did with all the papers and junk on my fridge when I cleaned it off, last post.

I’ve shared this easy system with so many of my friends. Years ago my friend Anne got me started with this simple organizational system for saving my kids’ memories over the years, by filing them into a binder. I do not have time to scrapbook and this method gets the job done!

Now my kids spend hours looking through their books! It’s worth the extra effort to be organized!

I’d rather my kids’ thumb through their books than watch a mindless T.V. show!



Supplies
2” white binders from Costco (4 in a pack)
Scrapbook paper (or plain colored paper)
1 box sheet protectors

Starting with Pre-K, I have saved art, special memories, class pictures, sports awards, first book report, every report card, articles their dad has written – you name it, and have filed these papers into these books.

Thank you notes from special people


Our beloved dog went missing


A letter to a teacher


What to wear on a field trip


Moving up to high school


Congrats on driver’s license


10-day backpack trip


Abby’s fist time away to camp


Sports pictures


Accomplishments


Special school speeches


Annual family Christmas letters


Abby’s first post right here on RE


How to make the book:

• Have a place where you dump the memories (on top of my fridge!)
• When you’re ready to organize, make separate piles (3 kids in my case)



• Start with younger years and move forward (Pre-K is when I started)
• Create a binder for every 2 years (depending on how much you need to file)
• Slip memories into sheet protectors, sometimes folding in ½ or however you can preserve it



• Slip artwork into the front cover, or use a fun piece of scrapbook paper
• Make a side label with child’s name and year(s)


When my kids get old enough, these books will become their memories to keep!

For now, they are mine, and I find myself occasionally thumbing through them too. Of course I get a bit sentimental!

Oh, and one book I found on top of my fridge when I was cleaning it, that I couldn’t wait to throw away! You can read about our No More Science Fair Dinner celebration, here.

What’s the secret to this easy system? Have your books ready, so when the stuff comes home you can slip it right into the book!

Do you have an organized system for keeping your kids’ memories?

58 comments:

Elizabeth said...

You and I are twins, Sandy! I use virtually the same system. In my case, since I homeschool, I do an "academic portfolio" and a "just for fun" scrapbook each year and each child. I use binders and sheet protectors in the same manner that you do. Like you, I just don't have time to do traditional scrapbooks, but I do want to make sure that the key memories are preserved. I put them together every August, just before the start of the new school year. That way, each child has a two binders (academic and fun) that encompasses the school year -- September-August. I admit, it's not my favorite job (with five kids, it's a full weekend's job), but it's definitely worth it.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Guess I better start now, huh?

Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

I love this Sandy. I used to scrapbook but I was a major FAIL (and I was a CM consultant!). Then I just started putting their memories in boxes and did nothing else with them. But I do have them all sorted by child (all three of them) so I am thinking it might not be too late to make the books!

Love the idea!

Our Complete Family said...

This is a good idea! I am way behind on scrapbooking (years behind to be honest!) b/c it takes so much time and patience! As of now all of Bryce's things are in an under the bed storage box so it would be easy to start his book right now! Thx for sharing!!!
Hugs, Les

Ms. Tee said...

This is such a great idea! I love the way scrapbooks look, but just don't have the time to do them. This is a great alternative. Thanks for sharing your "system"! :)

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

I have a huge flat portfolio type box. I just stick everything in there, and it lays well. I figure I should be able to fit everything I truly want in that one organizational thing or it's too much. Love the binders. How fun.

Amber said...

This is a great idea! I do scrapbook, but when we have a family, I can only imagine that I am not going to have the time or energy to scrapbook every little important paper or memory. Your system is a fabulous way of keeping all those little memories organized and easy to flip through. Leaving me with just the photos and highlights I want to scrapbook!

Anonymous said...

Good morning! I am new to your blog and have truly enjoyed reading your entertaining ideas but mostly your wonderful work with the Balcony Girls! This post hits closest to home. When our children were growing up, we had corrugated file boxes for each child with file folders. The folders were marked first by year then by their grade in school. I would just drop in the papers, cards, pictures, etc. I wanted to hold onto. We called them "Memory Boxes". You have now given me an idea how to put the finishing touch to these "Memory Boxes"! Our youngest turned 30 yesterday so I have my work cut out for me but I will have soooo much fun!!! THANK YOU!

Candice said...

I love this idea! I'm definitely going to do this!

Kim said...

This is a great idea!! Currently, I have a large rubbermaid container for each child, everything goes in there. Of course, I'm "picky" about what goes in there. Your system could help with the organzing part!

I do scrapbook (and I'm behind)! I don't keep a book for each child, just their first year. I have made the switch to digital, and keeping photos on the computer.

Mod Girl said...

I should've started two years ago, but I guess it's never too late. Thanks for sharing.

An Accomplished Woman said...

What a great idea! I wish I had thought of it when my children were little. I kept everything in a scrapbook. Now if my children want to divide them it would be hard to seperate them. Love it.

Snow White said...

my mom did that for my sister and I ... and I love it. it's a true treasure and much more fun than digging through old boxes!

Sandy Toes said...

Yes, Yes...I knew Sandy we were kindred spirits! I do something similar with folders but what great ideas...I love how you put notes and other little memorable information! That is GREAT!!!!!
sandy toe

Betsy said...

This is so much fun! I have all of this kind of stuff stacked in a trunk waiting to be organized into some kind of books...."some day"...I keep saying!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I need to start this for my little one!

You are right when you said the key to making the system work is to have it easily accessible and make it easy to file!

Thanks for sharing!
~Amanda

Jessica said...

Too funny, just yesterday my kids were looking through their big file cabinet drawer where we throw all their stuff. I have lots of extra binders that just yesterday I was wondering what the heck to do with them...duh! Thanks for the great idea, I know they'll love it.

Anonymous said...

sandy speaking of science fairs do you have any ideas on projects? i am doing a proposal now for my 2nd grader thanks rosemarie

Melanie Dorsey said...

Since I do not have the patience for scrapbooking this is what I need to do!
Melanie@Bella~Mella

We are THAT Family said...

Wow! Can I just send you the giant box I have? Love this!

Gina said...

What a great idea-sure beats the giant hat box that I throw everything in! Of course right now I've only got one in school but that's going to change soon! (sniff, sniff) Thanks for sharing! I'll have to put this system into use at my house.

So, um, where do you store these binders?

Kirstin said...

Great post Sandy. I haven't been the greatest at this, though with the girls homeschooling, there aren't quite as many things. But I have saved key things, and they have boxes that they keep all the cards they've recived from people. I like this idea though and may do it for them.

Lori from British Columbia, Canada said...

Such a simple yet highly effective system. I never thought about putting in the annual Christmas letter. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing

Betts said...

As far as my daughter art work, I started a private blog. I scan her paintings and drawings and post them with the approximate date they were done and whether they were crayon, marker, paint, etc. I might use your binder idea for other momentos.

Amanda said...

Oh my gosh! Why have I not thought to do this??? I'm going to get some binders THIS WEEK! Thank you so much for the post!

ursula said...

what a great idea! i keep everything with a "plan" to start scrapbooking, but i never get around to it.....too much self-imposed pressure to make it a spectacular scrapbook/work of art - -- argh! this idea is perfect, thanks!

50s Housewife said...

What a great idea! I have all those sorts of things in a box that we occasionally get down and look through, but it's not organized so nicely.

Liz said...

I am so doing this. Thank you again for making my life easier!!!

Angela said...

Soooo love this idea and I won't need to feel guilty about not scrapbooking!! Yeah!! Wish I had known about this sooner, but will enjoy saving memories for our 6 kiddos!

Dee Light said...

I have always kept this kind of things organized in foders in a big tub. This is even better and won't be hard to do. Thanks for a great idea.

Mujer Puertorriqueña said...

Sandy I already went to Sam's and got my supplies, I share this with our homeschool group, several of us are doing this for sure, having five kids...this make completly sence than using my storage area in my china cabinet.

Laura said...

This is perfect! This month on my blog we are talking about organizing keepsakes/photos so I will definitely be linking to this.

Thanks!

Laura

Amanda said...

I do the same thing! It started because I homeschool my children and they do not have a traditional school yearbook. I wanted to put something together to remember what they did during the school year(field trips, awards, school projects, notes, sports activities, etc.) I call it their "All about Me" notebook. We use a binder and page protectors just like you do. I don't scrapbook, but we do use scrapbook paper and stickers to jazz things up a bit. One year, I had them draw self-portraits to go in the outside pocket...I am so glad I have done this! As you know, they are little treasure books of each of their childhoods!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Such a great idea Sandy! My daughter is just starting to produce some seriously cute artwork and I can't wait to use this method!
Carrie

emily said...

Love it! Its never too late to start collecting the memories, is it? :) Thanks for the tips!

Miss G said...

Didn't read all the comments so someone may have mentioned this, but I learned from some mom friends of mine (not having kids of my own yet) that you can also take digital photos of some of the stuff and condense it down. Just a thought. Kelly

Maureen said...

I love this idea. I haven't figured out what to do with the preschool things I have started to accumulate. I love your system, and I know I can make it work. Thanks for sharing...

Donnetta said...

I don't have a good organized system for their memory papers. Right now they are all stored in a file box until I could figure out what to do with them. (How I wanted to keep them long term.)

I am liking your system and am thinking this is exactly what I'll be doing with them!

Thanks for sharing this idea!!

The Blissfully Happy Housewife said...

What a fantastic idea...and my first born will be starting preschool next year so it's JUST in time!!

I actually just organized all of my recipes and I did something very similiar. I have a TON of recipes and they are not all on nice and neat recipe cards. I was hesitant to change them (re-write them) because some of them were written by people I love and I enjoy looking at their writing. I just got a big white binder and organized them according to various sections using tabs. Then I slipped the recipes in page protectors. I love it because they are protected, organized, and the next time I rip a recipe out of a magazine all I need to do is slide it in!!!

Always great hearing from you....
Jamie

Heather said...

Sandy - That is a fabulous idea. My kids have always had huge art pieces and so I took two extra large pieces of construction paper and stapled ot together to hold their big items as well as small one!

I love your idea though!

Sparkette said...

Great idea...I think I will start this weekend on this! Thanks :)

robeth said...

Thank you for this awesome idea. My oldest is in 1st grade and I have thrown away so many papers everyday. I am keeping the most precious, meaningful school papers, notes, etc... I will go and get my binders this weekend!

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

I use the same system! Right down to the binders, how funny,

kirwin said...

This is such a great idea. And since my son is starting Kindergarten next year, it's perfect timing, too. I haven't saved ALL of his preschool stuff, but only the special stuff. Also, I ALWAYS save anything with a handprint on it--a good friend gave me this advice!

Jonathan Fudge said...

This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

I have been wanting to put together a scrapbook for my girlfriend and me, but I've been putting it off because I want to make it extravagant.

You've shown me that simple is better. Thanks!

MOMSWEB said...

Loooove these ideas and looooved my first visit with you! I'll be back!

Ginger@From The Cocoon said...

This is an awesome idea! I am a scrapbooker, but rarely have the time to devote to it like I'd like...this is a great alternative!! Thanks a bunch!

Joy said...

I have 6 of those cardboard file boxes that you get in any office supply dept. or store. There is one for each of my five kids and one for hubby and I. I save everything from the year, gather each childs papers in the 2 gallon plastic zip bags, label it with the year and put it in the corresponding box. The boxes stay tucked away on high shelved in a closet. I only have to get them down once a year, AND bulkier items can also go in them-like the pottery turkeys they all made in 4th grade. My kids are all mostly grown now and I don't have to add to their boxes much anymore. But when they have homes of their own, they each have 1 box of memories to take. We don't look through them but once a year while we have them down, but it's like finding treasure when we do. As for my box, there are a few things that the kids will have fun looking through when I am gone. I don't let them see in it just yet. But someday, when my husband and I are gone, they will recognize the box (they all look alike with names on them) and be able to read letters and cards between my husband and I and know how deep our love is for each other.

Tammy said...

WOW!!! I love this! I have boxes of old artwork I can't bear to throw out, or special school projects (we home school)...I love this and I am so ready to try this idea...especially how you've organized it for a binder for every two yrs!
Thanks so much, Sandy!
Blessings,
~Tammy

Wheatley Family said...

Great idea! I never thought of using binders like that! Thanks for the info!

mudlarktales said...

I have a box for each of my kids. They're sturdy decorative cardboard boxes from Ikea and I put paper items flat in the bottom and other things on top. I have my daughter's first shoes - the ones we had to get even though they were 4 sizes to big, and she wore them for years until they were too small. My son's binky is in his box, along with his favorite thomas train. I have the first hat I knit for each of my kids in their boxes and a few other things that are good memories. The boxes are stacked on the floor under my home office desk - easily accessible but decorative enough to be pretty instead of 'clutter.'

Amy said...

What a great idea. I only have one child so far and I want to do this. I just am making a photo book for her to take some day. I saw this on tip junkie. Have a great day.

Two Little Lambs said...

I do something similar for my 2 boys. I make a school binder for each year of school and fill it with favorite pics, accomplishments, etc. The boys love to look at them and it doesn't even take that much time. I use my scrapbook stuff to make it fun.

Mark & Heather Mac said...

Thanks so much. What a great idea! I have a total of 5 plastic sweater organizers under my bed FULL of the kids work! It is not accessable and difficult to find time to reorganize. This sounds like a much NEEDED solution. Thanks.
Heather Mac

SAH in Suburbia said...

I blogged about this today. You have saved my sanity! This system works perfectly for me and my children. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea.

Staci said...

Thanks for the ideas and pictures. I was thinking of this today as school ends on Friday and I have a box of school stuff to go through. THANKS! Staci

www.designingandmotherhood.blogspot.com

MeganSloan said...

I was thinking about doing this! But my little girl is just 5 days old, so it'll be awhile. I love the thought though, as it keeps the memories organized, protected and clean as they are stored for future use.

Jason and Tammy Sabourin said...

Great job on organizing all that "stuff" that seems to easily pile up throughout the year! I know the kids will get a hoot out of looking back on it all.