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Do you enjoy looking at your childhood mementos? Or instead, are you ‘enjoying’ the view of boxes worth of childhood stuff. What are you saving for your kids? Read on to discover that you CAN enjoy your childhood mementos and make it easier on your kids, too!

Mary finally decided to tackle looking through the 24 boxes her parents had given her of her childhood things.  She opened the first box and discovered papers. Lots of papers. Drawings, reports, programs, report cards, photos, and more. She dug through and pulled out a report card from third grade. Now this was interesting! The next box had toys. Lots of blocks, doll clothes, Barbies, all kinds of things. She discovered her favorite bunny near the bottom. That was enough for today.

Troy, on the other hand, had three boxes. He found his favorite truck, a binder with his report cards and other school programs, some photo boxes and trophies. He had a great time going down memory lane, reading his teacher’s comments, looking at his old school photos. He put it all back and put the boxes on the shelf in the garage.

Who would you rather be? Mary or Troy. Both had boxes with items that they were are happy to have and look through. Troy, however, had a much easier time enjoying his three boxes of treasures than Mary did with her 24 boxes. Sometimes boxes sit in the garage for years because it is too daunting to start looking through them all. Having fewer items that you actually take out and enjoy is worth more ‘memories’ stuck in a box for years and years.

More isn’t always more

People who have gone through the task of sorting through boxes of their childhood things are often simply overwhelmed and find it too emotional to decide what is meaningful to keep. It can be hard to part with things they think should be meaningful to them in some way (why else would it have been saved for them?) even though it might not.

What do people most want to find?

People get most excited about photos, letters, things they have written, like school papers, seeing their name in print such as from a program they were in, and a few favorite toys and mementos. Also, having a ‘thing’ with a story attached is more fun than just the ‘thing’ itself.

Have a memory bin

Having a designated bin for each child (and yourself) gives you a place to put things you want to keep all in one place. It also sets a limit on how much you can keep. Label things, like photos, with names and dates. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just labeled, all together and a reasonable amount.

Let a little time pass

As you are collecting treasures for your kids (and yourself), it helps to collect the items from a school year and then wait a bit before going through it at the end of the year. It is much easier to decide what few things are really worth saving when a little time has passed.

Be selective

People who have gone through the experience of having too many things saved in boxes are much more likely to edit what they are saving for their kids. They have a sense that more isn’t always more meaningful. Teaching your older child how to store memories prevents them from having boxes and boxes of things to store as well. One of the best gifts you can give your kids are cherished memories rather than a mountain of stuff.