Kids come with a lot of, well, stuff. Some things are easy to ditch while others not so much and once they accumulate over time, it can be more than a little overwhelming and emotional to decide what you need to keep. Organising expert Amanda Lecaude shares her tips for keeping and storing those precious childhood memories.
Formal records and documents
These are the type of documents that are important, need to be kept and need to be easily accessible. E.g. Maternal Child Health books (Blue Book), birth certificates and any other health or important documents relating to the birth, growth or development of your child.
My advice when it comes to keeping these records is to have them in one or two locations where you can easily put your hand on them when you need them. In my case, I have always kept my children’s Maternal Child Heath books on the top shelf of their bookshelves. My boys are now 13 and 16 and this is still where they are located even today. Every time I have to check when they were last immunised for the upcoming school camp it’s been easy as I just go straight there and find the information I need.
In terms of the other important records that I have for each child they can be found in my filing cabinet in our office space. I have a health file for each child and birth certificates can be found in our legal file. At the end of the day it is not so much about which folder or file you store them in but about where you keep them, ensuring you put them there and how you will remember to know where they are.
The moment you find yourself putting bits here and there is when you can find yourself searching and looking for records when you need them and wasting precious time. This can create both stress and unnecessary pressure when you are time poor and need to put your hands on something quickly.
Keepsakes and mementos
These types of items are probably more emotional and are attached to a special memory. Perhaps they are name tags from the hospital birth, cards or gifts you were given in the early days right though to the piles of artwork that seem to flood home from school.
While it is best to keep these mementos together in one location, unfortunately this isn’t my experience with many of my clients. When we find a piece of memorabilia that relates to their child they are glad they kept it but had no idea where it was. Often items are spread across many locations and poorly cared for or damaged. Once you have decided on a location to store these items, whether it is the top of the wardrobe, in the garage or the linen closet, plastic tubs offer protection to keep items in good condition and are easy to locate when you have something new to add.
The decision on what to keep can be even harder to make. Naturally this is up to you but realistically, with storage a premium in most homes these days, you must note that it can be a struggle physically to keep everything. Some of my clients have every piece of artwork their child ever made whilst others have kept what they perceive to be more milestone related or pieces with a special meaning. Some people like to keep certain keepsakes and take photos of others – this can be particularly useful when it comes to artwork. Another idea relating to artwork that some of my clients do is to produce a book of their child’s artwork to give to them one day rather than hold on to all the items. These days there are many different ways of storing or keeping artwork and the Internet is a great source for finding these.
I could write a whole article on photographs but the key message I want to make once again is to keep your photos in one location. These days we don’t have as many printed photos lying around but digital photos can bring their own storage issues. I still usually see that many of my clients have no system or structure as to how & where they file and keep these online let alone have secure back ups – this is crucial crucial crucial! We never think it will happen to us but unfortunately it can & does so please ensure you protect any precious memories by finding a backup solution that works best for you.
Whilst it might take a bit of time and thought in the early days to determine where you will keep your records, keepsakes and mementos it will be worth it as soon as you get a chance. It will most likely save you time and peace of mind in the long run!
Amanda Lecaude is an organising expert and academic coach who loves being able to help people – her clients – get organised. She sees the difference it makes in their everyday lives, particularly families, just to have a way to create some TIME, SPACE and BALANCE! She also very passionate about equipping school students with organising skills for life to maximise greater results primarily in secondary school and limit the overwhelm and frustration for both them and their parents.
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