I’ve worked with several clients recently who have the best of intentions when it comes to preserving their children’s memories but, in practice, it’s hard to keep up. You know, that pesky thing called ‘life’ always seems to get in the way.
But I do believe it important to find a way to take care of the projects, paintings and awards that matter most – not just to your children, but to you. For this reason, I recommend that everyone keep a Memory Bin.
First off, if you’re doing one for your children, decide up front how much physical space your children’s memories will take up. I tend to recommend 1 medium sized bin for school and extracurricular activities and perhaps another bin to preserve favourite childhood toys and books that they might like to pass down to their children one day.
Once you’ve determined the size of memory space, the ideal way is to preserve your children’s school work in chronological order. Because children’s work is often larger than regular sized paper, use a large butterfly clip to secure the years together. You can lay the paper flat in the bin and add to it as the years go by.
So, now the big question…. how do I know what to keep?? In order to ensure you’re keeping the ‘best of the best’, keep 1 years worth of school and artwork in a separate bin that is easily accessible. Then, when school is out for the year, quickly sort through it and pick the best examples of what your child accomplished that year; A test they studied really hard on, a piece of artwork about your family, their report card, etc. Always keeping in mind that whatever you keep has to fit within your memory bin. The more you keep from one year, the less you may be able to keep from another, so be selective.
(If you’ve got years worth of memories piled up and very little spare time on your hands, don’t worry about sorting chronologically for now. Just make sure the best of the best is preserved in a bin for them and move on. Better yet, if they’re old enough, have them do up their own bins!)
Another big question I get… cards. Should you keep them? Cards are definitely an item that a lot of people have trouble parting with. My own personal philosophy? I heard once about the 5 week, 5 month and 5 year rule, which I use often when deciding what to keep and what not to keep. The question you need to ask yourself is “Will this matter to me in 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years?” When it comes to cards, they are likely to feel special 5 weeks from now, less so 5 months from now and really 5 years from now? Using this rule should eliminate keeping 95% of the cards that you receive. And don’t feel guilty. The person who sent you that card is never going to ask “What happened to that card I sent you with pictures of my kids when they were 3. Do you still have it?”
And last but not least, don’t forget a Memory Bin for yourself! You can keep special notes from your kids, your first business card (but just ONE will do), achievements, your own childhood memories, etc.
A Memory Bin is not just a way to keep memories – it’s also a great way to share the story of who a person is and what mattered most to them. So take the time to make sure that the bins of yourself and your family are truly reflective of the type of person that they are or will become.
How about you? Pro or Con Memory Bin? Share your thoughts below!