Day #18 ~ Getting Organized Challenge (Keepsakes)

January 21, 2011
Before we start into todays challenge, I thought I would share this poem that I found about organizing… It speaks volumes.


If I could get organized
The morning goes, the noon is here,
Before I know the night is near,
All around me, I regret,
All the things I haven’t finished yet,
If I could just get organized!
I often times have realised,
Not all that matters is the man,
The man must also have a plan
I do this, I do that,
But I never finish what I am at,
I work as hard as anyone,
And yet, I get so little done,
I’d do so much you’d be surprised,
If only I could get organized!-Baidurya Mukherjee


I would LOVE to have a system in place like the one in the picture below, and a room to put it in.  This picture is my {muse} to getting my photos & keepsakes organized.  I think this would be the perfect place to house everything.  So in the next few weeks, Im on a mission to create a “keepsake” area in my home like this model.
For now, this is what I have.
I have three children… all 4 years apart. So, I have been collecting keepsakes for almost 13 years.  Until now, its all been placed into accordian file folders, which has worked great to “store” the keepsakes… But there is way too much stuff in them and its not easy to utilize. So in the end, I never go back to look through them.
This is my old system…


 A couple months ago, when I saw a post by Jen from  {I Heart Organizing}, I was ticked to peices.  She has a great system in place that houses her childrens keepsakes.
Jen says…
“I have been building binders for each of my children’s schoolwork, which houses all work K-4. This way, someday, I can pull out a “book” to look through and reminisce, vs. digging through piles and piles of paperwork.”
After seeing this, I was off to create the same thing.  If it works, why change it? I hope you are as inspired as I was!
I have a pie cabinet where I keep all “keepsakes & photos”.  Here are my binders (thanks to Jen). I used scrapbook paper to decorate the outsides.
Since I am SO busy, I honestly dont have time to take out the binders every day to add to them… so I purchased these trays as the “holding place” for the artwork & keepsakes, until I have time to add them to the binder. Iff a keepsake is created, I place it in a specific tray designated for each child… These trays are also stored in my pie cabinet, next to the binders.
On those rainy days, when I have nothing else to do, I can take everything out, hole punch it, and place it in the binders.


Here are the adorable binders for each child…


The separators will be labeled for each year.
You can create this too.  But, if you have another great system that you would like to share, please do!  I love learninig about new ways to organize.
 Coming up soon, I will be sharing how to organize “photos”, so if you want to go to the store to get some photo boxes, now is a great time to do it… so you will be ready for the photo challenge.  Jo Ann Fabrics has photo boxes on sale for $2.50 from now until 1/22.

Link up to Day 18 {Keepsakes} here…


28 comments on “Day #18 ~ Getting Organized Challenge (Keepsakes)

  1. Becky says:

    That looks so wonderful! Ikea also has these kind of boxes too – for pretty cheap {if someone lives closer to Ikea, like me}. My kids have their keepsakes in a box in their closet. I usually make them pick their best and most favorite art or whatever each year. If it gets too full they have to clean it out so they have enough room! I am resisting the urge to get rid of the stuff for them that I think is useless! Thanks for more inspiration, Toni!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  2. Fotf says:

    For some time now i have tried to keep my sons certificates and drawings and odds and ends together. Some art goes in a scrapbook and the above bits usually laminated and punched and into a clip folder. He gets them out of the cupboard and leafs through them.It’s great to think you can do that rather than it all getting caught up in piles as the do bring such a lot home and when their only five lots of white paper with an odd sqiggle lol

  3. Love your “muse” picture – I keep a word document labelled “pretty storage etc” and every time I see a pic (like your gorgeous one) I cut and paste it into that document – it’s a great inspiration to get where I want to be in my home!


  4. Great challenge! I linked up to how I store the Boy’s school papers that we want to keep.

  5. Jenn says:

    Oh boy. This one is going to keep me busy for a couple of days, I think. :}

  6. Toni says:

    Oh how I wish I had an ikea near me… Its 2 hrs away. This is going to be a difficult challenge for everyone to do. I hope it goes well. 🙂

  7. Kelli says:

    I would love to try this idea. Right now all of my daughter’s things are in a large bin. This will definitely be a winter party. Thanks for the tip on the sale too…I’ll have to check that out.

  8. Colleen says:

    I love your binder idea. I think I’ll hit Target or Walmart tomorrow to find some binders. Right now I have my daughter’s preschool stuff in a plastic container but the binder is so much better to look back.

  9. ~alicia says:

    Love this! I am behind in posting my pix…getting organized, but don’t seem to have time to link up. Am going to try to do that tonight.

    Thanks for all your great ideas…I love this idea and a friend of mine just asked me about this the other day…I have some flat organizer boxes that have my kids’ stuff, but I like the idea of storing it in binders.

    Have a great day!


  10. Jamie says:

    I cannot get enough of this blog. I am additcting to organizing and find that it cheers me up on even the darkest of days! My husband doesn’t understand my affliction so this blog, while I’m new to it, is quickly going to become my escape!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  11. Ohhh… I NEED to do this too! You seriously should see my to be gone through armoire stuffed with my kiddos papers & photos. One great thing… My goal in the next couple of months is to get my ENTIRE craft room organized.. & my armoire is a part of my craft room… Thanks for the great ideas! I will be using some of them!

  12. Mrs. Meek says:

    I so, so, so heart this idea. But I do have a problem and a question. My problem is that often my children (especially the 2nd grader) will bring home papers or paintings or creations that are too big to fit into a neat binder. These items are seriously 2 feet long. So, my question is: How do I deal with these? I would like to keep the actual artwork, not take a picture of it. But I’d also like to keep it with the other items that will fit in a binder. Any creative solutions?

  13. Toni says:

    Mrs. Meek… I think there are hole punched page protectors that open up to have a two page layout spread. THis may work if its not larger than two pages together?? Other than that.. I also ahve this problem. SO if anyone else has suggestions, that would be fabulous. 🙂 Toni

  14. Kate says:

    This is a great idea. One addition you could make to the binder system is using the clear binder sleeves/pockets so you don’t have to holepunch through the item and it will help protect it.

  15. Patty says:

    I love this idea!! Yours are so great looking too. This won’t be an easy one. My 4 kids are 8-18, and I have boxes and folders of stuff everywhere, but it certainly needs doing. Thanks for the inspiration and kick in the rear to get things done!

  16. Toni says:

    You are all doing so awesome with the challenge!! Thanks for being a part of it. 🙂 Toni

  17. MonkeMama says:

    Yay, thanks for the heads up about the photo boxes!

  18. Thanks for the shout out {again!} You are amazing!

    I also shared one of your links on facebook today! I can’t get enough of your posts!

  19. Sadie says:

    I have kept my kids school work in binders like this since my oldest was in preschool and love them. I keep them in a closet right by my kitchen so I can grab and add to them easily. I haven’t added the cute scrapbook paper yet though…definitly going to do that.

    When my kids have something to big to store that I really want to remember (like life size drawing of themselves that they have painted, a science project or a salt dough replica of our state.) I take a photo of them holding the project and then add it to the book. Much easier to store and is a cute reminder of their age….I don’t keep many other pictures in the book, only school related. Thanks for all your great ideas!

  20. I am almost pathologically frugal but I ventured out to pay FULL price ($3.99) for JoAnn boxes. I didn’t find any cute ones! I now have photo box envy because I paid almost 2x as much for boxes that are half as cute (plain black Pioneer with bookplate, no cute metal corners).

    Other than my pouting over “she has cuter boxes than ME” — I really want to thank you for this inspiration! It’s been enjoyable AND such a load off my mind to be gathering all our photos, scrapbooks, albums, and ephemera in one cohesive system.

    Not posting my boxes (yet) because YOURS ARE PRETTIER (kicks sand for emphasis.) 😀

  21. Health says:

    Good to know someone I could share my ideas. Looking forward to know and learn some more from you.
    Apcalis Jelly

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Not really SAFE in case of fire or water damage. For long term storage, one needs metal, fireproof, waterproof protection. I keep looking for the right way to store items long term.

  24. Dawn says:

    I know this was a post from awhile ago. I was hoping you could tell me something. On your binders spine, is the scrapbook paper on the outside or inside? And how did you get it in there? And what size are those binders 2 or 3 inch? Thank you! I just discovered you.

  25. Judi says:

    I love the binders, but are you ever afraid to punch holes in any of the keepsakes? I just don’t want any tears, (pages or salty ones!) Thanks!

  26. April says:

    I was exploring your website and saw this. I have been using this for my children. The first two out of five have graduated from high school. It was so nice each year to display their binders with all of their accomplishments for guests to see at their graduation party. So glad you shared for others.

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