Keepsake boxes…

July 17, 2013

Kids Keepsakes ABFOL 1


When you have kids, you accumulate a gazillion papers, artwork, pictures, etc.  It can be hard to keep them all organized. It’s essential to get a system in place to file away the keepsakes that you want to cherish.  Later on, when you want to look through their things, you will be able to do so easily.  I found some plastic bins from Office Depot to organize our 3 kids memories.  They are the perfect size, they’re large enough to hold a lot of kid stuff and they stack well.


Kids Keepsakes ABFOL 3


I used my labeler to create labels for each file.  I choose the Smead “Color” hanging folders. I organized them into the following categories…


– Birthday Cards

– Report Cards

– Artwork

– School Pictures

– Toddler

– Preschool

– 1st – 12th Grades (1 file for each)

– Academic Awards

– Athletic Awards

– Dance

– Cheer

 – Sports

– Theater

– Misc Awards

– Gymnastics


Kids Keepsakes ABFOL 2



Kids Keepsakes ABFOL 5



I used my Cricut Mini to make the names on the front of each box.



Kids Keepsake Boxes ABFOL 4





This post is sponsored by Office Depot. All opinions are my own.


55 comments on “Keepsake boxes…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Love , love, love these!! I’m making them!!!

  2. Susan says:

    This is exactly how I organize my 3 childrens’ things. WOW. For the first time ever I’m already doing the same thing as my organizational guru! 🙂

  3. Beth Gilbert says:

    what is an example of what you would put in the toddler file and how would you condense the elementary years (they bring home just way too much stuff.

    • Rachel says:

      For my son’s box (he’s 21m) I have already put his first finger painting, not too much else, just to give you a quick idea. As the kids get older, you have to be particular and only hold on to what is truly dear to you and your child, not every single paper. Think ahead 20 years from now, are they going to love that you saved that weekly math quiz or are they going to love that you saved that math test that they got their first ‘A’ on?

  4. elizabeth says:

    If only I had started when they were young. I meant to. Now my youngest is 14. Maybe I can catch up focusing that they can take it with them when go out on their own.

    • Lynne says:

      My youngest is going to be 16 next month. I think I’ll have her help me, or, since I don’t want her working for someone else yet, pay her a little to do it!

  5. colleen says:

    I try to be relentless with what I keep but I am not sure I could fit it in something like this. yours look so neat and streamlined!

  6. Meghan says:

    These are great! How do you decide what to keep? I have huge boxes full of stuff already and my kids are just in daycare/preschool!

  7. Nicole says:

    Thank you for this idea! You must have been reading my mind because I was just putting aside all school related art work/certificates yesterday.. this is a perfect way to store especially for those of us who aren’t into scrapbooking!

  8. Terri says:

    I love the keepsake boxes. What a great idea. I have a huge folder of my daughters stuff. I am going to try this idea.

  9. Cindy says:

    Thanks Toni! That is a great idea. I have 3 little ones… 2 are in preschool and the papers have already been overwhelming. I have also been taking photos of any of the projects I toss… so maybe I could make a Snapfish book out of them. I don’t do the coloring book pages, etc. but little church projects, etc. I am trying to at least keep a memory. I love the bins and that is going to be on my “to-do” project list.

  10. Brittany says:

    I love these! Thanks for sharing.

  11. I have been looking for a solution like this for my three young kids and this is PERFECT! Thank you so much for sharing! Your categories were really helpful too.

  12. I love this. I bought containers like this a while back but have done nothing with them. RIght now my kids stuff is in a binder that is starting to over flow. My kids are still young so now is the time to start this.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just think what a great gift these would be for a mom! You could make them up “empty” and all she’d have to do is file!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing! Did you use the letter or legal size folders?

  15. Joyce says:

    Excellent idea! OK, does anyone know what to do with old trophies? I am open to any ideas. Thank you.

    • Liz says:

      Joyce, my son is in college now and really didn’t want most of his old trophies. First, I took a picture of each of the trophies and put the pictures in a folder to save. Then, I donated some of the trophies to a local children’s charity organization. They were able to change the names and dates on the trophies and re-used them. (I’m not sure how they did that.)

  16. Traci says:

    Hi Toni! What a clever idea! I picked up two pink storage boxes from Office Depot but could not find Smead hanging folders in pink. That is the color you used for your daughter’s hanging folders isnt it? Btw the storage boxes were buy one, get one free this week until the July 27th!

  17. This is such a great system, I am going to get to work on this one asap!

  18. Adrienne says:

    Great idea! What is your source for the personalized names on the outside of the box? TIA!

    • Rachel says:

      Toni uses a Silhouette SD machine to make many of her labels. You can check out her blog post on the machine <HERE>

  19. This is awesome! Will be doing this for my son (currently 10 months old =))

  20. April says:

    What do you do with items that won’t fit in there?

    • Anonymous says:

      Great idea! But I would also like to know what you do with items that do not fit in the bins.

      • Ruth says:

        These boxes hold letter or legal hanging files. You could turn them long ways to hold legal size. May eventually need two boxes per child . Just a thought!

  21. Ejslater says:

    I just love this idea. Fantastic!

  22. Laura says:

    I use this same system for my three kids. It does not fit art projects, but I had a bin about 5-6″ in height for each of my children. by the time they get to middle school, you will only use the file boxes, you will no longer be getting art projects. So 2 of my 3 kids have had their bins put away in our storage area. I like to point out that this is a great spot for not only school stuff, but sports stuff too. I put in report cards, notes from teachers, maybe a special project, school photos, all sports photos and awards, certificates. It’s perfect. For my 2 boys in middle school, I did elementary hardbound photobooks for them. I included a picture or two from each year and all their sports photos. I just went from year to year K-5. It’s so wonderful when I see my boys pulling out their photos books and looking through the years. I plan to do this also during middle schools years and again during high school years. Then they’ll each have three books to take with them when leave me. My son was asked to play on a special club lacrosse team and I took photos and made a special book just for that too.

  23. Maritza says:

    Love Love Love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing! Did you use Red hanging Folders for the Pink Bin… I am looking at Office Depot and cannot find Pink folders? Thanks!

  24. Kristin says:

    I love this idea. I have four kids and have stuff gathered for all of them but not organized. Can I ask where you keep these bins? Are they out in a central spot or stored away some where? Do you just stack stuff and spend a couple days a year filing or do you file as you go? Thanks.

  25. Peggy says:

    Does anyone have any alternatives to get the pretty sticker alphabet letters other than using one of the fancy machines like Cricut? I love the keepsake box idea but I want nice lettering without using one of the craft machines.

  26. Shana says:

    Making these now, thank you for the easy, creative, wonderful idea! Love the labels & names on the front!

  27. Shana says:

    Which font/size/color did you use for the vinyl names? It looks silver in the pics.

  28. I’m pretty sure you got this idea from Heaven… from whence you must have come. Lol. Godsend!!! *happy organization squeal*

  29. Bren says:

    I understand the preschool artwork conundrum…. We have taken to photographing every single piece, throwing most of it away, or using it as gift wrap, or giving it to special people for mothers/fathers and Birthdays. I am going to make him a photo book of his preschool artwork. This is a surprise for him as he loves his art and between kindergarten and having been in childcare since the age of one we receive up to 15 creative pieces a week. some are bulky 3d creations. He is happy that we take photos of them and I think the photo-book will make him very happy.

  30. Michele says:

    Thanks so much for doing this post! Well needed! I am wondering if you took the pics before you filled it, and if so, how have things progressed since you filled it? I don’t know how you could have so many categories in one box and still fit everything. For example, the birthday cards file alone would need one of those box-bottom files for my 11yr old….that’s 11 years of birthday cards! And we usually only save the favorites! But it looks like only 5 max would fit in that file. Thanks!

  31. Wendy says:

    I actually had purchased those colored boxes to organize my children’s schoolwork and they work wonderfully. I love the names you put on the outside of their boxes. I have a cricut, but I have no idea what type of paper that has an adhesive back I could use. Can you please email me what type of paper/material that is that will work with the Cricut?
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  32. Julie Berry says:

    How do you keep all of their work so neat and tidy in those files? My girls things are all different shapes and sizes and sticking out of each file. I want mine to be pretty like yours!

    • Rachel says:

      not every piece of artwork is able to be kept. If it’s truly important, I would suggest taking a picture of it and keeping the digital copy in the file. I keep a pile on top of the box and then go through the papers being very specific about what I want to keep. My eldest daughter loves to write, but I can’t keep every story she writes or every homework sheet she brings home with her handwriting practice on it. Leaving it for a bit helps me separate, emotionally, from each piece of artwork.

  33. Tracie says:

    I love this idea! Can you please tell me what paper/stickers you used to make the names? I have a circuit and would love to be able to make the letters. Thank you!

  34. Jen T says:

    Artkive is an awesome app that allows you to take pics of art and file them digitally. One of my goals for 2014 is to get all the kids’ (Freshman in HS and 6th grade) stuff organized and/or thrown away and get rid of the 4 huge bins of stuff we have in the basement.

  35. Kirsten says:

    How did you make the labels for the files? Label maker or type them up?

    • Rachel says:

      Toni has a couple of different label makers. One of her favorites is the Brother P-Touch which is great for making labels such as these.

  36. Simone Wolfe says:

    My children are grown but I still have their keepsakes all over the place. This is a great project to get it organized and handed off to them for their own homes. Thanks!

  37. This will be my next project and I can’t wait to get started!! Thank you!!

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