If Family History Matters, It Should Be Organized

Organize Your Keepsakes


For several months I've focused on family history for busy people whether they are parents, grandparents, single adults. The purpose of this invitation to all, including those with full calendars, is that if your family matters, your memories should be preserved and the sooner, the better.

Some say childhood memories never fade.

Preserve Your Childhood Memories
From MyStatus360

But that's simply not true. If you don't take the time to organize the childhood memories, they'll be forgotten. With a little bit of effort, you can change that with Grow With Me  Boxes Preserve Childhood Memories.

Some people refuse to take the time to organize their life because they don't have time, but the time spent finding a place for everything pass great dividends in return.
Quote from The Organized Mom

Busy individuals benefit from organizing their daily life and creating a keepsake in the process when they make Daily Life Binders That Are Family History. These binders can be digital or hard copies. 

 The trick is to remember to:

  1. Organize in short spurts (15-minutes blocks)
  2. Work from this point forward 
  3. Incorporate the past as time permits

If you've missed the previous Busy Lives Posts, check out the series here: Family History for Busy Lives

If you have other organization tips that also serve as family history projects, share your ideas below.





Other Posts on Organization Memories
Be Organized in 2017 - Photo Collection Tips
Power Scrapbooking: Labeling Hard Copy Photos
Narrative Project: Organizing Through Roots Magic



Further Reading on Organization:
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Messy Photo Collection
Discard Papers Fearlessly (Webinar)
Treasured Keepsakes or Clutter? A Look at Memorabilia
Organizing Your Boxes of Family History Keepsakes


Grow With Me Boxes Preserve Childhood Memories



"I didn't realize how I had saved for my oldest son and my younger daughters have so little." Do you say these words as a mother of multiple children? Or do you feel overwhelmed with the school and artwork that your kids bring home or produce? Do you wonder how you can preserve the precious memories without feeling guilty about tossing out a hand tracing, an early attempt at writing, or school achievement certificate?

Too many parents are divided into two camps when it comes to preserving their child's life... a) they don't save enough or b) they keep too much. In between, a parent will say, "Not another keepsake. Do I really need to save this?"


The answer lies in your preservation system. Whether you have a small flat or apartment or a large home, the amount of clutter memorabilia you save for your children should fit into a portable file folder box or a file drawer. If it can't fit inside, that blessed darling should consider parting with the item (or you could stuff it in the trash can when they're not looking!) 



For an excellent article, visit Daily Mom's Keepsake Bins post


There is an inexpensive system that will help you curate the most valuable treasures, so you have something to provide your offspring with to remember their childhood that will make a family historian's heart sing. 

What you'll need: 


  • 15-20 hanging file folders with tabs
  • file drawer or hanging file folder box
  • all of your child's (or your childhood) keepsakes and artwork
Childhood Family History Project
A file cabinet drawer or a file bin works well!
If you're handy with a computer, you could print out file tabs. Otherwise, go simple and preserve your handwriting using a pen or fine-tipped sharpie. Your file folders will include the grade school years and then additional folders to round out the child's life. 

  • Each school year receives a tab from Kindergarten - 12th grade (in the US)
  • Additional files could include: 
    • Infancy, 1-Year-Old, 2-Year-Old, 3-Year-Old, Pre-K
    • Vital Records, Health Records, Prenatal Care
    • Baptism, Scouts, Activity Days, Sports, Communion, Awana's, Brownies, etc.

You don't have to have a category for each file folder at the onset. As your child ages, new categories may be necessary. The beauty of this system is that it's expandable! 


Preserving Your Family Stories
Annual photo, Christmas card, and photo CD fit snuggly
in the file folder.


What goes in the files? 

If you have a file box, you will soon realize that you can't save everything. That's the BEAUTY of the Grow With Me boxes. You're forced to keep the best artwork, the best report card, the best photos, etc. Here are a few suggestions of what to keep:

  • Annual photo of child
  • Annual family Christmas card or photo
  • CD of photos for the year
  • Copy of family journal
  • Letter to the child from the parents
  • Most meaningful recognitions, ribbons, and certificates
  • Most significant school project
  • Most outstanding art piece for the year 
  • Report Cards, IEPs, Assessment Test Results
  • Special Needs Diagnostic Results and Updates
Saving Kids School Projects Without Guilt
Save the Most Interesting School Projects and Art Pieces

DECISION-MAKING TIP: If you have trouble narrowing down pieces every year, then wait until the middle or end of the following year to pare down the potential keepsakes to the most significant. 


ADDED BENEFIT: If your child struggles in school or has a special need, this system can manage their progress and serve as a reference aid. If there is ever a question or challenge, refer to your files to review what has been achieved or needs continuing services.

Saving family journals
Include a copy of the family journal or letters. 


 It's Never Too Late To Start

Many of you are lost past your childhood or child rearing years. Your box would not grow with your offspring but could help you when you prepare to downsize or declutter your home. You'll be able to have the files made and sit with a stack of preserved documents. As you review each piece, you can file them appropriately. Be prepared with tissues if you're a weeper! The memories are powerful, but they will be better preserved. 

My friend recently shared how she started this organization system after finally purchasing her first home. Her son is a teenager, but he enjoyed sitting with his mom and sifting through his earliest scribbles and cut and paste activities. Together mother and son reviewed photos, certificates, and report cards. They speak fondly of the experience, even though they did throw out a mountain of keepsakes that were less valuable that when would fit in the files. As the son approaches adulthood, he knows his childhood has been preserved and knows where the report cards and recognitions should go when he receives them.

Click to Tweet: Guilt Free System to Save Childhood art and keepsakes. #parenting #familyhistory http://bit.ly/2r4tmPP

A Perfect Gift

If you want to give a uniquely thoughtful gift for moms-to-be or mothers who are having their third or fourth child with no planned baby showers, these systems are highly praised gifts. If the receiver already has a system, they can regift the system to another deserving mother without any stigma!

An even better gift is spending time with your disorganized children or their spouses, providing the file system and file box and then helping with the legwork of sorting the papers. It's a family history project that saves the recent past and present and plans to save the future as well.


Do you have an organization system that preserves childhood well? Let me know if the description below. If you've used this system or given it as a gift, share that below as well.

This post is part of my year dedicated to demonstrating that busy people can participate in family history! You're never too busy to contribute to genealogy! You just need to pick something that works for you. 

Mom's Advice: A Blessing, A Curse, A Cause to Preserve

Preserve Mother's Advice


"Men are like shoes.
You have to try them on until
you find the one that fits."

When I became of age to be interested in boys, my mothers would often repeat this motto. For some, it is practical advice. For others, it is eye raising. In fact, I wonder if mother's advice would have held up to standards of the beau monde during the Regency England. Regardless, my mother's dating advice carried her truism. And in her truism, I how these little mottoes are an essential part of family history.

Friday Funny: High Cost of Trowing Eggs


Can you guess what year this article appeared in print?
The costs in the assault case against Mrs. Andrews, who is accued of throwing spoiled eggs at her neighbor during a quarrel a few days ago, amount to the sum of $42.05, which the court assessed against the defendant.
Boy, times have changed when an assault is now something more egregious than spoiled eggs.  Over 113 years ago near Tacoma, Washington, two neighbors just couldn't get along. And if that $42.05 in today's dollars were assessed, the defendant would have to sacrifice about $1,000 for the eggs which could cost $2.07 a dozen.

(Article: found in The Tacoma Daily News: Tacoma, Washington, 26 April 1904)

Daily Life Binders: Organization Meets Genealogy

Genealogy Tips: Save Your Daily Life


Who has time to for family history when their daily activities are out of control? Is it possible to be more organized with your everyday life while creating a family history keepsake in the process? Of course, there is!

Think of your ancestors. Do you know what they did day to day? Do you wish you did? Would it tell you of the things that mattered to them, distracted them, or things they wish they didn't have to do? If you answered yes to these questions, consider for a moment that you are someone else's ancestor. If you have a child or a grandchild, they'll want to know about your day to day life, and it's super easy to make that happen.
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