I have been making scrapbooks for my grandson since the day he was born. At age seven, he already has more than a dozen.
However, I discovered early on that not everything lent itself well to a scrapbook format. Big pieces of artwork, three-dimensional craft projects, and even extra photos could not always be easily converted.
Consequently, I had to think of a method for housing the remainder of his treasures. I finally came up with the idea of a memory box.
I chose to use a simple cardboard file box that I purchased at an office supply store for less than $5. Inside of it I put file folders and dividers. Each one was clearly marked with one of the categories desired.
Categories included: artwork, cards, craft projects, clothing, holiday celebrations, keepsakes and more. Blocking off sections of the box with the dividers, there was plenty of room to hold on to anything of great meaning my grandson might want to keep.
Instead of leaving the outside of the box blank, I covered the box with brown paper. Then my granddaughter and I drew pictures of objects and things that represented who my grandson is as an individual.
For example, on one side we drew sports pictures since he is quite the athlete. On another we drew pictures of his various pets. On another, we put representations of his extended family, etc.
Josh loved his memory box and can’t wait to fill it completely. He’s already started talking about designing the cover for his next memory box himself.
A memory box can be made to commemorate almost any event or person. There could be one for a wedding and subsequent anniversaries. There could be one made for each year of school. One could be developed for each child in the family. The only real limitation lies within the maker’s imagination.
As for what can and should go inside of a memory box, that is open too. We included fabric from Josh’s nursery along with paint swatches that represented the various colors of his room as he has aged; pieces of wallpaper and more.
We also included every certificate he’s received in school, every picture he ever drew, homework assignments of which he was particularly proud and cards he received for virtually any and every occasion.
For each birthday, we included samples the themed decorations, paper plates, napkins and hats, etc. For Christmas, we kept his letter to Santa and pieces of Christmas wrapping. For Halloween, we kept his costumes and masks.
We even kept some of his board games after he outgrew them as well as instructions to some of the toys he’d been gifted and a few of the smaller toys he once cherished. We also kept his first big boy shoes, tie and other special pieces of clothing.
Making a memory box is simple. All it takes is a box big enough to house the items you want to include. An office file box or the box used to house reams of paper is a good size to choose.
The box can be left unadorned or you can choose to cover it with wallpaper scraps, colorful wrapping paper, brown or white paper on which pictures can be drawn or even fabric.
Divide the box off inside to include sections of items you want to include. The easiest way to do this is with file folders and dividers; both of which fit well into the size of boxes outlined above.
You may wish to laminate delicate paperwork to keep it from disintegrating over the years. Most office supply stores can do this for you if you don’t wish to purchase your own machine.
Leave old photographs inside their frames whenever possible. They will help protect the photos as well as add to the overall memory and experience.
If you don’t want to keep full pieces of clothing, cut scraps from the items and put them inside a brown envelope or laminate them. Be sure to mark what clothing item they came from and the year they were worn.
Keep old toys that might have a long-term value like Barbies or action figurines from films. You never know what kind of investment you might be making on behalf of the box’s owner.
Put tickets from movies, ball games and carnivals inside along with any programs or trinkets received during the events. Also include menus or paper napkins from their favorite restaurants.
Make audio or videotapes, CDs or DVDs to place inside the box. These will help bring back even more memories of the various occasions being represented.
Get creative and allow the person for whom the box is being made to contribute to its contents. After all, who knows better which things will have long-term meaning?