Organizing Memories : Making Keepsake Notebooks & Memory Bins

**Disclaimer: If you love to scrapbook the official, correct way, then this isn’t for you. Carry on.  You’re doing a great job!  If you love the thought of having scrapbooks for your children’s memories but don’t have the time, talent, or budget for the supplies, then this is for you!**

Today I’m sharing how I organize keepsakes and memories for my 4 boys. This system is tried and true, as I’ve done it this way for 11 years and wouldn’t change a thing. Organizing Memories:  Making Keepsake Notebooks & Memory Bins

Organizing memories with keepsake notebooks and memory bins:

There are three super-simple steps to this process:  Find Supplies, Gather, Upkeep.

1.  Find supplies for your system

I use 3-ring notebooks for paper keepsakes and plastic boxes with lids (Memory Bin) for larger items.

What do I put in the 3-ring notebook (“Keepsake Notebook”)?

  • school work
  • artwork
  • pictures
  • journaling pages (cute sayings; favorite food, color, toy at each age)
  • clear sleeves filled with small keepsakes, ticket stubs, brochures from trips
  • another option:  file box with folders by year or grade

What’s the Memory Bin for?

  • keepsake baby outfits or blankets
  • larger souvenirs
  • family heirlooms or gifts for when they’re older
  • key to choosing box:  practical & durable, not necessarily pretty

2.  Gather

  • Designate a landing spot to put all the papers, artwork, and keepsakes you want to save.
  • A couple times a year go through your pile of memorabilia, file and store.  Your kids can help you decide what they want to keep.
  • Print photos a couple times a year to include in the notebook.

3.  Upkeep

Repeat the gather step as often as makes sense for you. I used to do it 2-3 times per year, now it’s more like 1-2 times per year.  Whatever works.  Don’t be a slave to any organizing system — make it work for you!

It’s definitely a lot of fun to get the Keepsake Notebooks out around birthdays.  My kids love to look through books that are all about their lives.

And when my kids leave the nest,  it will be freeing to be able to hand them their Memory Bins & notebooks!

How do you organize all those keepsakes in your home?

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Abby is a pastor's wife and busy homeschool mom to four boys. Her family is thrilled to be Making Room 4 One More through the blessing of international adoption. This has been her longest "pregnancy" ever, but she has been amazed to see God's faithfulness, direction, and provision through it all. In her free time, Abby enjoys crafting, reading, playing the piano, thrifting, organizing her household, and spending time with all her boys!

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  1. says

    We use a large plastic box to organize our baby’s old clothes and accessories. I’ll keep in mind the 3-ring notebook to organize the papers when our baby grow up.

  2. says

    Great ideas! I have to admit we don’t really do anything. My boys are pack rats and tend to save everything anyway. But this will help when I decide to organize and purge…

    • says

      I hear ya — not easy to organize boys 🙂 But this gets rid of my mommy guilt when I want to purge. At least I’m saving some things.

  3. says

    I love the IDEA of scrapbooking and even have one for each of my boys and one for me, buuuut it’s completely lacking in attention and I have converted to something more like what you’re explaining here. It’s just so time consuming the traditional way. 🙁

    • says

      I agree — scrapbooks done well the traditional way are beautiful keepsakes, but for me, I just don’t have the time. It’s great to find a system that works for you. Sounds like you have. Keep it up!

  4. says

    I need to do this, I always have good intentions of keeping stuff organized and together but inevitably it ends up in multiple places. Now is a great time to start this while I am in the midst of moving….start fresh!

    • abby4onemore says

      yes! The benefits of moving… fresh starts! We just had a move ourselves, so I know exactly what you mean. 🙂

  5. says

    I love all things paper (think drawers of stationery and letter writing supplies) but things can get out of hand with all the school master pieces that come home. Your suggestions are really good. Thanks. I struggle with the ‘upkeep’ part the most. 🙂 Visiting via “FamilyFunFriday” linkup

    • abby4onemore says

      Don’t let my post fool you… I still struggle with the “upkeep” too! It’s a monster that always needs tamed. Keep up the good work!

  6. says

    I love this, Abby! I do something similar. I have a 15-quart sterelite container in which I collect school work and memorabilia throughout the school year. I use my labeler to create a label that says “Sam’s work 2013-14.” At the end of the school year, I sort through the work, keep only the best and what will fit into a 10×13 manilla envelope. Then I peel off the label from the bin, stick it on the manilla envelope, and store that work in a bin in my basement with the envelopes from past years. I make a new label and the bin is ready to go for the next year.

    We are on the same page, sister! Found you through the Be.YOU.Tiful link party. Thanks for linking up!

    • abby4onemore says

      Wow! Love your system, too. That’s amazing that you can get the pile down to a 10×13 envelope. That’s really good! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. reginapartain says

    Hi Abby. Thanks for linking up on Pintastic Pinteresting Party. These are great ideas. I think this is always a challenging subject and you have really simplified it. I am going to pass this on to my daughter. Thanks again for sharing.

    • abby4onemore says

      Yes, paper organizing can be a beast! No one right way to do it, but this is what works for me. Hope it’s helpful. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. says

    I really need to invest in durable boxes to store items for the kids. I am using a few of those plastic zippered bags that blankets come in right now. (It seems to work well, but a box seems like a better idea!)

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  9. says

    Though many moves and “systems” I now have 5 sets of boxes, a few army trunks and full plus half way done scrapbooks for all of them except the married one. I sent those packing with her. Adult kids and 2 teens…seems I am behind. I do wish I had been consistant in the keep sakes. We continue to plug away at the slides and photos of 30 plus years. I have a familybook too. Thanks for the encouragement! Visiting from MM&M today. Linda

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