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Organizing and keeping things of our kids childhood’s as keepsakes is difficult. They come home with piles of paper throughout the year from school. They make treasured items they want to keep forever. They make life memories on field trips, family trips or vacation time. Collecting wonderful little things to remember. ALL YEAR LONG!

I’m going to break it down — what I do — of how we file away our kids lives 🙂

See if this organizational system works for you!?!

1)Sorting through the keepsakes

So the keepsakes that I’m talking about in my post today are the physical keepsakes. Not the hundreds of digital photos out there of your kid, but the physical. The kindergarten crafts, the first journalism attempt, their grade 1 spelling test that they are so proud of, the grade 8 project that they spent weeks on and got A+. Pictures from picture day, their favorite valentine card from their best friend, jewelry from their best friend, notes they wrote to you. etc.

Sorting through the masses of your child’s paper work that comes home is a little crazy at times. In this post here, I talk about how we organize our kid’s paper things when they walked through the door everyday! It really helps contain the mess. Click here to read that post. 

When school is out for the summer or when we are ready to start a new school year or when my kids paper drawers get really full, WE go through it … mostly together. I pull out one of my kids paper drawers; setting it and an empty laundry basket on the kitchen floor.

I hope to do two things this way. #1- Get their input, making it their own and #2- Teaching them the “how-to’s” of organizing through this experience.

They empty their entire paper drawer on the floor and neatly put back what they want to keep. They put in the laundry basket what they want to toss.

I stay back … for now 🙂

LATER … when their finished and not around … I go through the toss out pile in the laundry basket to see if there is any treasures they missed. Like the their favorite colored drawing they were so proud of 4 months ago. Or a certificate that their teacher gave them that said something about my kid. I’ll set these aside to keep for the keepsake box.

Then I’ll go through my child’s paper drawer quickly and pick out two things; #1 – The really good stuff that I want to keep for them (ie. class photo) and #2- The garbage that they missed (i.e. ripped papers)

2)Storing the keepsakes

Once I’ve done that and have my pile of good stuff that I want to keep for them (I try to do this only once or twice a year) I’ll grab a huge Ziploc bag, like this — and my sharpies. Labeling the Ziploc bag with their name, their age and the school year represented in the bag.

Then I’ll go through that pile of good stuff one last time and toss what I don’t absolutely LOVE or what my kids don’t absolutely LOVE. I’ll write on the back of the keepsake the year and their name for 2 reasons. #1 – Just in case the Ziploc bags ever got opened up and mixed up, it wouldn’t be a total loss. #2- By the time I come to keepsake #10 I’m tired of writing on the back of keepsakes and I will start tossing again, weeding out more aggressively, what I think is NOT necessary.

After everything is labeled and inside my child’s keepsake, labeled, Ziploc bags. I then bought some bankers boxes, and labeled one for each of my kids, and the baggies goes inside the box. Baby bag on the bottom, then preschool bag, then JK bag, then SK bag, so on and so forth. You may be able to find cheaper banker boxes at Walmart. Or you could invest in a waterproof version and go for a Rubbermaid, that would fit under beds!


3)Why a keepsake box is important 

As time has gone on, I find I’m a little more ruthless in tossing stuff, and getting better at picking out only the absolutely MUST keep treasures. What do I measure those “toss outs” up against? Against my childhood keepsake box. I’m 33, and I’ll tell you, as the years keep going on, that childhood keepsake box of mine has gotten smaller.

But that’s what makes it a beautiful box, because when I open that box, with papers and knickknacks from my childhood — I melt! I always say “this was my favorite.” Sure it may be a ratty doll, but for me that was my absolutely favorite treasure! (not the report cards, or mountains of regular drawing I did in grade school)

Keep ONLY the treasures!

The MOST important reason that I will be sticking with this system (beside the idea of going paperless and storing this all digitally) of the Ziploc bags and banker boxes is that the boxes and bags, not only organize everything for me, but is also contains how MUCH I can store. One box per kid!

It’s so good to take the time (like I said I only do this annually or bi-annually) to preserve their keepsakes because it is something that they can physically touch from their childhood. It’s their history! BUT it’s only the best of the BEST of their history.

Things that I keep in my kids childhood keepsake boxes are;

-baby hat

-baby picture

-first picture they ever colored

-first attempt at writing

-frist clearly written out journal

-class pictures

-school individual pictures

-a picture they colored that they’re really proud of

-a project that they’re really proud of

-a mother’s day card or father’s day card that they were so excited to show and give us

-and (of course) some of their MOST treasured knickknacks of that year.

4)Put the keepsakes away

When I’m finished with the childhood keepsake roundup, I store the banker boxes safely in the back of MY closet. I’ll move them (back) into my kid’s bedroom closets when they are older (… like 26yrs old 🙂 JK) When they can appreciate it.

If the Ziploc bag is too full or the banker box is full by the time we hit grade 5, then an aggressive culling is needed throughout all the Ziploc baggies. Again, this forces me to keep only the best of the best. Take a picture of the rest! (if you’re really having a hard time tossing out more)

Remember the entire point of the childhood keepsake box is that you can give it back to your child, when they are all grown up to remind them of their (way to brief) childhood. Remembering the good times, and hard times, of what made your little kids the grown ups they are today!

And that’s what I do!

Well, what do you think? Let me know what you do to organize and store away your children’s childhood keepsake’s in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.

By: Sharon Schuler


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Sharon Schuler

21 comments on “Organizing your Kids Childhood Keepsakes”

  1. I love this. I did such a horrible job doing this with my son since we were struggling to find a steady place when he was just born. I definitely want to do a better job once we have a second.

  2. I LOVE this idea! When I have kids I definitely want to have a keepsake box for them. I love going through my old childhood things every once in a while, and I want to be able to do the same for my kids. You shared some GREAT tips- thank you!

  3. This is a fantastic idea! I wish my Mom read this when she was doing a keepsake box for me, lol. She saved pretty much everything! ?I ended up throwing away a lot of the stuff and just kept the “treasures” like you said! Loved this! Thank you for sharing! Love the list you included to make it easier!

  4. This is so great. I love organizing things and storing them properly. It’s very empowering. My mom kept a few things from my childhood and I treasure them all, so this is a great thing.

  5. What a great management system you have there. I am expecting my first child this December and will keep these tips in mind, I always wondered how my momma kept all our things so long. She used to keep every last thing (bless her <3) and I'm afraid I wont be taking the same approach when my time comes lol.

  6. These are great ideas! I have a box with keepsakes and scrapbooks from each grade. Keep some of the stuff when they are young because the older they get, the less keepsakes they bring home from school. These will be great treasures for the kids someday, I even keep some for my self!!

  7. I definitely need to do this! I like the idea of keeping it all in a banker’s box and if/when that gets full, then you need to look through again and toss some stuff. That keeps in manageable.

  8. I wish my mom would’ve done this. I mean, she kept everything and never got rid of anything (I’m the only child), but I wished it was all organized! I plan on doing this whenever I have kids!

  9. I need to get better about keeping my girls keepsakes. With three daughters and limited space, I’m always looking for ways to declutter, but I cannot do it at the expense of my girls’ treasures. So it looks like I need to go buy a box before school starts. ?

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