3 Things to Consider When You Are Saving Childhood Memories

by Lisa Woodruff

Feb 5, 2016 | Episode 86 | 26:06

I remember hearing on the Clutter Interrupted podcast that "Clutter is delayed decision making." WOW did that resonate with me.

Yes! Whenever I am... not sure, out of time or stressed... I don't decide and I pile.

For years I just "organized" my piles in cuter containers, better systems and a larger house. But organization is not about containers or beautiful systems. It is about keeping what you want and love so you can enjoy those items now and in the future.

So today I want to talk about the items you are saving for your kids. Specifically - kids artwork, clothing, school papers, old toys, pictures, cards, books, old sporting equipment, etc.

1. What do THEY want?

The first question you need to ask is what does your child want to keep? So often I and other mothers save everything "for our kids". But what I realized is I was having trouble letting go.

Letting go of memories, stages of life and opportunities to do more in their short years at home.

At first we save ALL their clothes in case we have another child. But when no more children come, we just say we are saving the clothes for grandchildren. REALLY?!

I DID like it when I had some of my baby clothes to reminisce with my mom about when I had my children. But none of them fit. The stains you can't see now - were glaring when I looked at those clothes 30 years later.

My kids are pretty good at getting rid of things when they are done with them. WE put them in the basement! :)

So really ask your kids - starting at the age of 4 - what THEY want to keep.

2. What do YOU want?

Honestly your kids do NOT want every. single. spelling test they ever did. But I know a mom who keeps them all. Her child's handwriting is so precious to her.

That is TOTALLY FINE. Just know you are saving the for YOU not them.

Think about it this way. What if your mom showed up today with 18 boxes of every single school paper you ever did?

Nostalgic? Would you like to see them? Sure of course! For a few hours.

Would you want those 18 boxes in your basement?

How about your baby clothes? 5 large tubs full?

Every single toy you played with?

Of course I'm not saying to pitch everything, but think about it.  What do you really want?

So you've gone from saving everything to feeling like I just told you to chuck it all and you're probably screaming at me - at least on the inside.

Toy Closet Under The Stairs | Organize 365

Of course you are going to save things let's just figure out what, for whom and how.

I feel like a big bully, but it's all about perspective. You can't save it all. You can't go back in time.

What is the BEST. What is your FAVORITE? What can you see yourself playing with your grandchildren?

Because that's who you are saving it for. You and your grandchildren. Your children are going to run to you at 28 and say, hey mom can we please play UNO? And  if they did, do you know where it is?

So ok how do we decide what to keep and where?

3. WHEN do you each want it?

I'm not totally clueless. I know your storage room is accumulating boxes of things your kids DO want to keep. And those kids want to keep things at YOUR house long after they leave.

It's all about making decisions. While making a scrapbook of pictures, a binder of school papers and a baby blanket {more below} all take TIME - and lots of it. They are a way to:

  1. Process through the piles.
  2. Pick the best.
  3. Experience the memories together.
  4. Enjoy a NEW creation.
  5. Empty out your storage room without emptying out your heart.

I have explained in great detail how to make photo albums and save your kid's school papers in binders in other podcasts and posts. Today let's tackle baby clothes.

My children's baby clothes

Creating a memorable solution for saving baby clothes.

My kiddos are both adopted. I wanted babies before I wanted a husband. :) In high school I traded baby dolls for real babysitting jobs and worked 5-7 days a week.

Waiting to get pregnant, going through infertility and ultimately adopting our children was pain staking for me. I remember the morning after we got Joey {at 9 pm the night before} going to Walmart with Greg to get a few preemie clothes since he was so tiny and they have the best selection of preemie clothes. (Guess how I already knew that!)

My children's baby clothes

These are the only outfits I still have from my kiddos.

Babies were my life. And I finally had one! So it would stand to reason I would hold on to all his baby clothes. However, when his sister came along 18 months later I knew it was pointless to save baby boy clothes. Even if we had more children {we didn't} I would buy new clothes.

How could I save his baby clothes. Enjoy ALL those memories. And not out grow our storage room before the kids went to school?

I made baby blankets.

Baby Blanket Made from Baby Clothes

Let me take you through this process.

  1. Process through the piles. I picked my favorite outfits, baby blankets and made a baby blanket pattern. I knew how to sew and had made a few baby sleepers and bibs for the kids. I was a busy body and had LOTS of energy. Joey LOVED his waffly blankets and Greg and I wanted to transition him out of a blanket habit.
  2. Pick the best. Some of my favorite outfits were ruined with spit up. Joey has horrible reflux. BUT they were easy to cut a few good pieces out of.
  3. Experience the memories together. Greg watched me cut all the pieces and sew Joey's blanket. He and I talked about all the outfits, how cute Joey was and the memories we had as parents in the last 24 months. I didn't know what Joey would think of the blanket or if he would want it when he was a grown man, but I knew I would! I could picture his children napping with that blanket at my house. :)
  4. Enjoy a NEW creation. We gave Joey his blanket at his 2 year old birthday party. And WOW did he LOVE it! He carried that blanket everywhere for at least 2 years. He was instantly bonded to it and that made it all the more meaningful. 18 months later when Abby was 2 she got her blanket and she was SO happy to have her own big blanket like Joey had.
  5. Empty out your storage room without emptying out your heart. I think this is self explanatory. The only baby clothes we have in our storage room are the kids blankets I made and the outfits each of them were wearing when we adopted them.

Well you know I have this all documented in our scrapbooks. :)

Here is Joey's 2nd birthday:

boy baby blanket out of baby clothes

And Abby's 2nd birthday:

Girl baby blanket out of baby clothes

In the scrapbook I have documented the clothing each fabric came from.

Heavy stuff huh?

Don't get overwhelmed. Don't go on Pinterest.

But DO start thinking about HOW to enjoy the memories of your children TODAY. :)

Oh and for those of you who listened to the podcast... here are the other things I found in the box of items I saved from my kiddos...

Items I saved from my children