Storing Keepsakes

A while back, I wrote a post on organizing keepsakes. It was really more focused on getting your keepsakes organized. This post focuses more on tips for storing keepsakes.

Clarify keepsake category

The first step to storing keepsakes is to recognize that you have them! As a reminder, we are talking about items that you are keeping strictly for sentimental reasons. We are not talking about sentimental items that you would like to display. Those would go under the “decor” category and they should be displayed. If you have sentimental keepers showing up all over the house, you definitely need to dedicate a zone for keepsakes. A remote area, like the attic, usually makes the most sense. 

Organize by era

If you have a large collection of keepsakes, it makes sense to first sort by eras. For example, I recently edited my keepsakes and realized that I could pretty evenly divide my life by two eras. My first 30 years went into one box and my second 30 years are going into another. It then becomes easy to recognize if you have too many items representing an era (or sub-era). Minimizing keepsakes is important, because the fewer items you have, the more you will value them.

Reveal, don’t conceal

If something is important to keep, it’s important to keep well. I realized that it was time to update my footlocker of keepsakes. While I had all the contents in clear containers, I couldn’t see them in that opaque box. I always recommend clear containers, wherever possible, for everything else, so clear only made sense for keepsakes. To take full advantage of your clear containers, don’t just stuff the items in. You can really appreciate the clear feature, when you strategically place the contents. When you have items facing out, like they are in the photo above they are more compelling. It is easier to value your keepsakes, when you are reminded, at a glance, what’s in the bin.

Separate 2d from 3d

Besides a division by era, it is also helpful to separate two dimensional keepsakes from three dimensional ones. I keep 3D keepsakes inside a smaller bin, in the center of bigger bin. This serves two functions. First, it makes it easier to access the 3D items in the center. Second, the smaller bin acts as a support for the 2D items that you might want to stand up on the outside of the bin.

Make friends with Ziplocs

In an effort to protect your keepsakes, I recommend Ziploc bags, both gallon-size and quart-size. These are better than folders, because they are more forgiving in structure and, again, they are clear. You can go higher end with heavyweight polyethylene bags from Light Impressions. These are also great for larger items like newspapers, from historic events. 

Another reason that am glad to dump the trunk is that it was extremely heavy. Therefore, I couldn’t easily access it or add to it. I blame Neil Young. One of our high school class songs was Young’s Long May You Run. In it, he refers to “trunks of memories still to come.” So storing keepsakes in a trunk, seemed the thing to do. Not any more. While it is important to honor the past, you don’t want to be weighed down by it. So edit your keepsakes down and keep them compelling for the moments you do want to look back.

And long may you run!

What methods do you use to organize your keepsakes?

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