How to save mementos for your kids
Get tips and ideas for saving and organizing your kids things
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Childhood is so fleeting—it's hard not to want to keep every teddy bear or handmade sweater for nostalgia's sake! But unless you have a lot of space (and are very organized), it doesn't make sense to hold on to everything. Read on for suggestions on how to save the best memories, what to save and what to toss, and tips for keeping it all organized for generations to come.
Unique items to save
When saving an heirloom for your child, add meaning by also saving a snapshot of them using it.
Consider re-creating a photo of you as a child by snapping the same photo of your kids. These can be displayed or stored together.
When you pair mementos together, you can capture moments in time, beautifully. Plus, photos hardly take up any storage space! If you think outside the box, the possibilities are endless.
Save photos of the cherished item:
- Snap photos of your child using a toy or heirloom and save it along with the item
- Store photos (or a video!) of music recitals along with the instrument or sheet music.
- Save a child’s favorite painting along with an artistic photo of his paint-covered hands.
Save moments in time:
- Document unique "firsts" through photos: first piece of chocolate, first garden, first breakfast out with Dad, etc.
- Capture a yearly photo of your children taken in the same place.
Tip: Try taking photos on both the first and last day of school and see what a difference ten months makes.
Create new heirlooms and traditions:
- Capture a photo of your child in the same setting—or even the exact same place—that you were in when your parents took a photo of you. Store or display the photos together.
- Save similar childhood drawings by both you and your child.
- Take a photo of you and your child making your family's signature holiday dish. Save it along with the recipe in your grandmother's handwriting and a photo of Grandma.
Tip: If you have a lot of family recipes and photos of cooking adventures, try creating your own family cookbook.
You don't have to save everything
From personal essays and science projects to ceramic masterpieces and favorite toys, how can you keep your child's mementos from overwhelming you? When considering an item, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Will it be important to you in the future? Diplomas, certificates, and report cards may seem obvious, but personal letters from teachers or day-care assessments may not be. These glimpses into your child's life are easy to keep through scanning and archiving.
3. Would you enjoy displaying it? You'll display a photo of your sons in their football uniforms for decades, but what about all of their trophies? Consider photographing your child with large mementos and, after some time, donating them—with their approval, of course.
5. Is it still useful? If it's your child's favorite book and it's in good shape, by all means keep it for future grandchildren. If it's a basketball and no one plays sports in your family anymore, consider passing it on to a cousin, neighbor, or charity.
2. What are your child’s strengths? Consider where your child’s strengths and passions lie and save accordingly. For example, if they are gifted in art, they will likely appreciate their drawings more than a box of old math assignments.
4. Do you want the memory or the item? If the item is no longer useful, takes up a lot of room, or doesn't have a particularly strong nostalgic pull—such as a torn baby blanket—take a photo or scan the item…and let it go.
6. Can it physically last the test of time?That kite your children flew every summer won't last more than a few years or may end up lost or broken. Consider photographing or scanning the item in addition to—or instead of—keeping it.
Make a practical plan
It's easy to be overwhelmed by too many keepsakes! Whether your child is a twinkle in your eye or already has children of their own, it's never too early or too late to start saving—in a realistic way.
- Assess the space. Whether it's your garage, attic, or your child's room, decide how much space you can reasonably afford to dedicate to saving items and try to stick to it. When boxes start spilling out into your everyday life, it might be time to reassess! Of course, the space can grow as the child grows, but make sure to keep it in check.
- Have a place to keep things on hold. Make a folder for each child (and yourself!) in a handy place. This can be dedicated to schoolwork, photos, or important documents. Keep larger items in the saved space.
- Set aside a specific time for archiving.Make time once a month—or even a few times a year—to sort through your folders and decide what to keep and what to toss. If your child is old enough, get their input!
- Throw things away or donate them. The fewer mementos you have, the more important the ones you keep will be! There is nothing wrong with tossing things out or donating them to someone who will put them to good use. And because there will always be more mementos to come, leave plenty of room for growth!
- Keep mementos organized After deciding what to keep, keep everything well-labeled! Have a box for each child and indicate what is in the box. Keep digital files neatly organized on labeled CDs or external hard drives.
Saving and displaying physical items
Displaying like items together, such as three generations of handprints, is an easy way to bring cohesiveness to family heirlooms and keepsakes.
Original newspaper articles may yellow and become brittle. Instead, scan, print, and display using archival quality HP Original Paper and inks.
Once you've whittled down what you want to save, take the time to come up with a creative way to display a few items that mean the most! When displaying items.
- Do display like items together such as each of your children's hand and footprints.
- Do print photos and create scrapbooks,photo books,and photo albums from online photo sharing sites. Storing and sharing photos online is still very convenient, however it's easy to lose or forget about e-mailed or uploaded photos as technology is always changing.
Tip: Photo albums are more likely to be shared with future generations and are important family heirlooms. Going to a family gathering? Bring one of those photo albums with you and watch how people flock to them!
- Don't display originals such as newspaper articles, playbills, or other non-archival quality papers in direct sunlight where they may yellow and become brittle.
Tip: Scan originals and print using HP Original inks and HP Advanced Photo Paper, creating prints which will last for generations.1 You can save both the originals and the digital copies.
Learn how to print photos that resist fading.
Saves items digitally
Instead of keeping every favorite toy, create a yearly photo book of your child's favorite things.
Rather than keeping every greeting card, scan the personal message on the inside and then re-use the cover of the card as a gift tag.
Just because you don't still have your daughter's favorite bath toys she loved when she was two doesn't mean they're lost forever! Saving items digitally can grant the same nostalgia in 1/100th of the space.
Check out these fun ideas for digitally archiving for your kids:
- Create a yearly photo list—or photo book!—of your child with their favorite things. Come up with unique “favorites” such as favorite doll, favorite book, and favorite food. Repeat every year. Use the book as a way to “save” an item that no longer interests them.
- Scan and save letters and cards they've received from grandparents. After scanning, let them re-purpose the front of the card as a postcard or gift tag.
- Scan toys your child no longer plays with—they might look back on them fondly in a few years. Yes, even 3-D objects!
- Artwork created on thin, non-archival paper won't last forever—and a few years' worth could fill your attic! Scan your child's artwork for posterity—plus, scanned art is easier to share with friends and family.
Get detailed tips for archiving your photos and scanned items.
Get started saving for your kids
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- Discover new ways for improved home office archiving.
- Get tips for taking better photos of family.
- Learn how to scan 35mm photo slides and negatives.
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