Organizing Children’s Keepsakes – What to Keep and What to Let Go

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Angie at Echoes of Laughter.

Organizing Children’s Keepsakes – What to Keep and What to Let Go

During the past few weeks, I have been busy re-doing my 12 year old son’s room including a fresh coat of paint and a new floor plan. And for the first time in 8 years, I completely emptied his room. I mean that we literally removed everything and did a major purge and re-organize. It was hard work and it took a lot of hours. We sorted the many contents of his closet and had to make many, many decisions about what to keep and what to purge and it was not easy. You see, although I love being organized and clutter-free, I am also a very sentimental person. I do like to treasure things that bring happy memories of years past. So for me, it’s a constant dilemma as to what to keep to satisfy the sentimental side of me and what to purge to keep my ‘organized/clutter-free’ side happy. It’s a constant battle, which I’m sure is why many people get into trouble with keeping and storing too many things, and in extreme cases, leads to hoarding. The battle between heart and logic is a tough one. After sorting through many of the things in my son’s room, I have kept only memories of his first 12 years in these 4 small boxes (purchased from London Drugs for $9.99 each). That’s it. Everything else went…and that was a huge accomplishment. Let me share with you what we decided to keep and what’s inside these 4 little boxes.

Organizing Children's Keepsakes - What to Keep and What to Let Go

After much thought, I decided on one box of keepsakes for babyhood, one for toddler-hood and 2 boxes for special books and toys. Below you will find the box for babyhood, and inside are just a few special things. I decided that I wanted to keep just a few things to remind me of his precious baby days and  so he could have some tangible keepsakes from a period of his life that he doesn’t remember. And we could keep it very minimal if we stuck to a few little special moments in his life. Here’s what we kept: the outfit he wore home from the hospital, one little outfit that he looked so sweet in, one baby blanket, one onesie, his first sun hat, his baptism outfit and his first Christmas bib. Lots of things were disposed of years ago, so these are the final remaining keepsakes.

For toddler-hood, we kept his favourite hat, his first little tie, some favourite fall sweaters, and some other special gifts like an engraved silver cup. Just a few little reminders of the little boy that he once was.

When it came to books, we had oh-so-many, but in the end I chose to keep the books that he really enjoyed as a little guy and that I clearly remember him looking at and asking me to read to him. In his case, some of his favourite books were also the ones that were the most chewed! And I also kept a few small baby toys.

These 4 boxes were all that I allowed myself to keep. And as my son and I went through the items together, I shared some stories of what he was like as a baby. He loved hearing these tidbits, which is another point for keeping a few keepsakes…they help to trigger memories to share with loved ones and that serves to strengthen family connections. And he was happy with having a few things from his baby and toddler days that he could share with his own children some day.

And now we have those 4 small boxes stored on a shelf in the storage area in our warm and dry basement. It was a lot of tough decision-making, but in the end, I believe that we have found a balance between heart and logic, and that makes me very happy!

How about you? Have you found a happy space between heart and logic when it come to keeping keepsakes?

You can see a bit more of the re-organizing we did in my son’s room by visiting HERE.

angie bio pic Angie’s blog, Echoes of Laughter, is all about filling your home with love and laughter. She loves creative projects, organizing & decorating, cooking, baking, and all things domestic. Angie lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband and two great kids.





Linking up at Home Stories A to Z

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Keepsakes, Kid Stuff


7 Responses to Organizing Children’s Keepsakes – What to Keep and What to Let Go

  1. 1
    Karina says

    Great job! But what about artwork? Paper is the toughest for me to let go…

  2. 2
    Heather says

    My parents kept many of my childhood books and toys and stored them in the attic. A few years ago (probably when I was around 28 or so) my mom decided that she needed to purge some things from their attic and had me sort through the stuff to decide what I still wanted kept. I am unmarried but have many friends with children that come over, so I was excited to have some toys and books for them to play with. I also kept things that I would want for the future if/when I had children of my own.

    In the end, I ended up keeping a lot of books (I am a big reader and was as a child as well so that is where a lot of my memories were). I also kept toys that were simple and classic. The rubbery toys did not hold up well in the poorly insulated attic so the barbies, the my little ponies, and the strawberry shortcakes were tossed. While my mom probably didn’t like storing that much through the years, it was pretty meaningful to sort through as an adult.

  3. 3
    Lauren @ Mom Home Guide says

    WOW — you’re good! I could never get my kids’ keepsakes down to those 4 tiny boxes. But I need to get rid of stuff. My home’s basement is filled with my kids’ old toys. I think I might aim to get it down to four filebox-sized boxes instead.

  4. 4
    Susan says

    Wow! We would have WAY too many keepsakes to fit in those! Our organizing system works like this: we take pictures for just about everything and then keep the special, meaningful ones in a box in our closets. It’s not quite the same but Ur takes up less space

    • 4.1
      Becky says

      Hi! How about taking digital Photos of the things you are sentimentally attached to during your “purge-session”, but want (or NEED) to get rid of? You can afterwards create an album or put them into a photo-book, so they and the memory of them are not lost.

      PS: Excuse my English – as it is not my mothertoungue (I am from Austria/Europe and I LOVE your blog, even bought your book ;) – Helped me a lot to get more organized).

  5. 5
    Carrie G says

    Thank you for this. In clearing out some storage and prepping for a de-cluttering garage sale, I realized I had tubs of some things I have kept but I really do need to whittle them down for my girls. I don’t have time to do that before this garage sale but am thinking about what to do and how to choose. It’s so hard. Your article helped. Keep writing!


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