If you’re a parent, then you’re most likely guilty of keeping almost everything your kid ever brought home from school. The rock your son painted, the lump of clay your daughter made into her favourite animal, the handmade cards and letters they made for you, their test papers, school certificates, awards, photos, everything.
You want to keep all of them because every single one is a precious memory, something to remind you and your child of those growing-up years. You probably started with just one box of school mementos but now have enough to fill a closet. So, what are you going to do with them?
Well, it’s time to get organised and make your own school memory box. It’s pretty easy to make. All you need is some creativity, and of course, boxes. A school memory box is the best way to keep all those milestones and awards organised and safe from the person in your house that gets too into spring cleaning.
Just going out and getting a box to make your school memory box isn’t enough. You’re going to hit the roadblock of not knowing how to organise your box, won’t know what to keep, or how to prune it when it starts to get a bit cluttered.
Read on if you want all the expert tips and tricks to making and maintaining the perfect school memory box.
WHERE TO BUY MEMORY BOXES IN AUSTRALIA
With all of those keepsakes, you’re bound to have your favourites—maybe a letter, a card, or a trinket that’s just more special than the others. For these, you want a special box, perhaps something you can even put on display.
An excellent suggestion would be a large wooden keepsake box – especially one you can customise or engrave to make it extra special.
One place to buy a personalised memory box in Australia is Pip and Willow. Their boxes come in different designs and can be personalised. Once you’ve chosen the design and the inscription (like your child’s name and age, or a favourite quote or short poem), they will be hand-engraved by the artist using a unique tool that burns the design permanently into the wood.
View the full range of wooden keepsake boxes here.
WHY CREATE A SCHOOL MEMORY BOX?
A memory box satisfies two important needs—to keep track of our children’s milestones, especially when they start going to school, and organising these milestones so that we know what’s in there and how to find them.
You’ve probably already kept every drawing, test and report your child has ever brought home, and it might have created a happy mess. But, while it is indeed a mess, it’s a mess you don’t want to get rid of because they’re important to you. So, what do you do?
It’s nice to have symbols of your child’s ‘firsts’ in school (first drawing, first card, first letter) as well as other significant activities or events. You organise the keepsakes, label them and then keep them in a box. The memory box isn’t just for you, though; it’s also your child’s memory box.
Your child may likely have already forgotten some of those critical milestones in their life, especially if they happened when they were pretty young. So, the memory box will help them recall (or rediscover) those memories, with you filling in some of the details.
When both you and your child are much older, taking out the memory box and working through its contents together is a great way to bond and reminisce. It’s a pleasant experience that you can turn into a tradition. Then, maybe, your child will be encouraged to make a memory box for their kids, too.
Let’s face it, the older we get, the more our memories will fail us. That’s just the way it is. Memories and experiences that seem so vivid now will soon become fuzzy. So any help we can get in keeping treasured memories is always most welcome.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN A SCHOOL MEMORY BOX?
It’s tempting to keep every single thing that your child brought home from school, but you’ll have to resist that urge, or your house will be more memory box than home. So, what should be in a school memory box? Well, there’s no hard-and-fast rule; it’s really up to you. But, if you want some ideas, here are some suggestions.
The first are the things your child made in school that are considered ‘firsts’ (first artwork, first writing activity, first letter, first card) to see how they started. Next are the handmade letters and cards your child made. And because they’re ‘firsts,’ it’s likely that there’s just a few of them to keep.
But, if there’s a lot, you may just have to pick out your favourites. Also included in the ‘to-keep’ list are the awards and certificates your child received. These are big ones and likely the proudest you were when your child was in that grade. Another essential item to include is your child’s report card or transcript of record, and let’s not forget the school photos.
Special Items That Break The Mould
What if you found a few items that you consider special while going through the keepsakes. What are you going to do with them? Well, you can keep them in a smaller box. Since they’re special keepsakes, you can also use a special box to store them. You can try a wooden box; you can easily buy one online. In fact, you can even have it personalised, so it doubles as a display piece.
Sometimes you will stumble across items that don’t fit into any of these categories and might not even fit into your box at all! You should never throw out a significant item because it doesn’t fit in a box you have assigned for mementos. Sometimes it’s not easy to store or categorise things like art class sculptures or primary school trophies.
That’s where dedicated; custom boxes come in. Places like Pip and Willow create beautiful custom boxes, with options for designs or text on them, made with beautiful wood, so your box can not only act as storage but as a lovely feature piece.
HOW DO YOU ORGANISE A MEMORY BOX?
Now that you’ve already ticked off what will go into your child’s keepsake box, you’re ready to get organised. So, what do you do?
- Arrange the items you’ve chosen to include in the school keepsake box in chronological order so that they’re easier to file in the labelled folders.
- Prepare the materials that you will need. The most important are the boxes with a lid and the hanging folders with tabs. They’re easy to buy from school and office supply stores. The others, such as sticker papers and printed labels, you can use substitutes for (like coloured pens and papers, and tape) if they’re not available.
- Make the labels for the folders and the boxes and then attach them.
- Get the chronologically sorted out keepsakes and start filing them in the correct folders and boxes. After you’re done, store them in arms reach but out of harm’s way. If your child is still attending school, it’s best to keep the memory boxes somewhere accessible so that they’re easier to get to when you have to add more items inside.
HOW DO YOU DECLUTTER A MEMORY BOX?
The first time that you organised your child’s memory box, it is unlikely that you paid much attention to limiting the items that you will put in the box. You were a newbie then and excited to finish the project. But, now that you’ve taken a second look, you noticed that you could trim down the number of keepsakes you have in the box.
So, how do you declutter? What items are you going to get rid of? Again, it’s really a matter of choosing what you think is essential. The first thing you should do is get rid of things that are already too damaged to keep or those already falling apart.
Next, choose representatives. For example, in a folder of artworks, choose only those that you like best and remove the rest. For future keepsakes that you’re planning to include, try to limit them to just one or two per category.
SCHOOL MEMORY BOX PRINTABLES
Printables save you time and energy when making your school memory box. They also make your box look neater and more organised, both inside and out. There are printables that you can download for free, and there are also those you can purchase online.
Some printables are given for free when you buy a school memory box. While in others, a digital copy of the printable will be sent to you after your purchase. You’ll be able to download it on your computer and print it out in the comfort of your own home.
The School Memories Pack by OrganisedHQ is an excellent example of where tidiness meets creativity. The printable and affordable organisers offer a great way to separate different mementos and documents from your child’s school journey that also have room for your child to be creating with it. When your child can fill out parts of the printable dividers themselves, it goes from you organising keepsakes to a bonding experience between you and your kids.
The School Memory Box System by Vibrant Christian Living provides you with all the flexibility you need so that you can organise your memory box in any way you like. On top of that, they offer very stylish designs, taking the look of your memory box from primary school keepsakes to important documents for their whole schooling career. So, for example, a year two drawing will look as nice as their high school diploma in there and will be just as easy to find with the vast range of dividers, tabs and markers.
It’s easy to see why so many people love the Simple School Paper Organisation Printables from Lamberts Lately. They offer printables that are the perfect blend of the three most important things, looking cute, being well organised, and are entirely free! These dividers feature vibrant designs with enough room for all the information you need, with room for your child to draw, write or attach a photo of themselves. So not only will you easily be able to find any piece of work from any grade, but you’ll also be able to watch them grow up with each box when you put their school photo front and centre.
If you are looking for something a little more classy, and want the focus to be what’s in the box, then the Keepsake Box Labels at How Does She might be exactly what you need. These printable dividers keep everything inside together neatly, boasting designs that would blend into any professional setting. People won’t know if “Jordan” is the name of your son or the big case you worked on last month. For people that work from home or that like to have some of their child’s work in the office to get them through the day, the stylish designs at How Does She offer a splash of colour and style that don’t automatically scream “year three school photos”.
How Do You Decide What School Memorabilia To Keep?
In deciding which school memorabilia to keep, it’s always safer to stick with those that your child made in school for the first time (artworks, letters, cards). You can also include your child’s transcripts, diplomas, awards, certificates, and school photos on this list. These things will always carry weight in terms of importance and of memories.
What Is The Best Way To Store School Memories?
The best way to store school memories is by using a memory box (preferably, a plastic one with a lid to protect the contents from damage). It doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to be neat and organised. But, of course, you can also use whatever available materials you have, be resourceful and creative!