Photos, Souvenirs, and More: How to Organize Memories

April 17, 2014

Photos, Souvenirs, and More: How to Organize Memories

It may sound a little esoteric to write a “how to” on organizing memories. It’s kind of like telling you how to organize your dreams. But in today’s digital age, where every picture is snapped on an iPhone®, we end up with fewer physical, meaningful mementos to hold on to, not to mention a lot less available space on our hard drives. I sometimes feel the urge to somehow capture the moments and to enjoy them for just a little longer. Read on for tips for keeping track of the moments that matter most.

Picture This

If you don’t have the space to display all of your favorite snapshots, use a digital frame to rotate pictures. They no longer have to be an eyesore now that Vera Wang and others are producing more high-end options that can rotate up to 1,600 pictures at a time! Think of all those wedding pictures: now you no longer have to choose just one to display.

But, as professional organizer and founder Erica Ecker reminds us, more important than displaying those pictures is saving them. “The number one thing when working with photos is to back up those digital files, on an external hard drive as well as some kind of cloud backup plan like Carbonite or Crash Plan. It’s imperative,” she says.

If you’re still holding onto shoeboxes full of good old-fashioned prints but haven’t figured out where to put them or selected the perfect frames for your perfect pictures, try a magnetic board where you can easily display pictures and invitations as well as important notes. Also consider having the most significant and precious prints digitized and add to your now well-organized digital collection. The most important thing is to get them out into the open for friends and family — and you — to enjoy.

Keep a Rotating Gallery

Sometimes there are mementos that you know you won’t keep forever but you’re not ready to part with just yet: your kids’ artwork, the playbill from a great play, a flyer or tickets from a rockin’ concert, a postcard you picked up while on vacation. Using simple twine and clothespins, selectively hang your happy memories in a part of your home where you’ll see them, such as the kitchen, the hallway, or your bedroom. They’ll give you a smile when you pass them and soon enough you’ll be ready to part ways.

For a more sophisticated style, do as Ecker suggests: Hang two to four magnetic strips on a wall in a hallway, kitchen, or foyer to display the incoming artwork. “Because it is magnetic, it’s easy to change up the art or memorabilia as the old is replaced with the new, and it’s fun for kids to do, too,” she says. “Then it all becomes like a rotating gallery space!”

She suggests keeping a portfolio case in a closet nearby where you can stash anything that you take down. Her recommendation is to keep all art and mementos for a year after displayed. Then, at the end of that year, edit through it. “Not everything will seem as precious as it did when you initially saw it. It will be easier to weed out the trash from the treasures,” she explains.

Plan a Future Trip Down Memory Lane

Keep a memory box for those expired passports, letters from your first boyfriend, or your best friend, locks of your baby’s hair, and other mementos: the little gifts your kids or your nieces and nephews make for your birthday, and the poems they write. Your memory box can be any kind of sturdy or decorative box or chests. Be selective because you can’t keep everything, but you’ll be glad when you’re older that you saved the memories that shaped your life.

Nicola Ruiz

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