What Do You Keep? - Kid Keepsakes

Updated on February 28, 2011
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
19 answers

Responses to my other post are prompting me to ask this question:

When your kids make you something, how do you choose what to keep and what to toss? Do you only keep the "major" projects like Christmas ornaments they make at school, or do you save every little thing down to the post it note where they wrote "I luv you mommy", or are you somewhere inbetween like myself? If you are a saver, where do you put it all?

I am guilty of keeping, according to my husband, way too much of the kids' stuff. Will I regret it if I throw some of their little projects away? I don't mean to say I keep everything by any means. But, I do keep a lot.

What can I do next?

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answers from Los Angeles on

I keep the really special ones, handmade without tracing or handouts or ones that are really cute and you can tell were done by my little one. I try to keep it to a minimum, but I am like you and don't know sometimes which ones to keep. I have a box that I put them in after they have been displayed on the fridge, christmas tree, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

We keep everything. Each child has a box and we just keep adding on top. I am going to let them go through it when they get old enough and let them decide what they want to keep.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Philadelphia on

I keep end of year report cards, recital, play, concert, chorus handouts etc. with my kids names on them. I also keep self portraits and journal writing that they have done in school. My youngest daughter is quite the artist so I have an extra 3 ring binder for her art work. I mount her pictures on card stock paper and insert it into on of those transparency covers for presentation. If it can't be stored in the binder it goes but I am not a saver and I really hate clutter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I feel the same way, it is so hard to know what to keep and what you can toss, because once you toss it, it's gone forever. I have kept quite a bit, things that they made or cut out on their own, pictures they have drawn (at least two for each year of age), I like to look back at the progression of their writing ability or drawing creations. So I guess I try to keep the things they seemed to put a lot of time into, not the dittos from school. That being said I know that I have already saved too much, but can't bring myself to toss it out. I have a friend who's mom kept all these things and when the mom moved from the family home, she offered the "kept papers" the her children. None of them wanted what mom had kept, it was nice to look at for the moment, but nothing they wanted to hang on to. So it all got tossed at that point, keep that in mind. I also have another friend who will take pictures of all her sons creations, (after they have been hung in her home for a while) keeps the picture and then passes the actual project to other family members to enjoy and then dispose of. That way she always has the photo of things he has done but not the clutter of keeping the project itself.
There is no right answer, do what you feel you need to do.
Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have alot, I will admit. My daughter is an artist now, and writes as well, so I am glad I saved things (she is 16 now). Its fun to see when her abilities really emerged! But my faves are the things that are not school things. The post its (her Grandma got her addicted to them at an early age!) with little notes...the stories she wrote just to write...like when she had just turned 7...and 2 weeks later 9/11 happened. She wrote a little story about what happened and what "War" was, as defined by a just-turned-7-year old with no expereince of military people, but a loose connection with a friend of ours who was in the Army at the time. Interesting stuff!

But I have tossed alot of stuff...as she got older I decided what I wanted...and what seemed important to her. I had exactly one thin file folder of my own school papers that survived the water damage after a kitchen fire in my house when I was in Jr High...and those required holiday decorations from 7 years of Catholic school, so I was a bit obsessive at first with my own child's stuff...plus I had a whole house to fill up back then! LOL Not so much now. I do home childcare and every inch of the house is used..so I purge things and rearrange..and my artist daughter adds to the things here. More needs to go on the walls...and she needs more portfolios for her upcoming professional life (*cry*)...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

been saving my kids' stuff for 23 years now! A very wise mom told me (years ago) to save only those projects/etc which are the work of my child's imagination & creativity, awards, presentations, & other items honoring or reflecting my child's individuality. She recommended pitching everything else! She said to keep the weekly work (from school) for only a week or so, eliminating it as the next week's work comes home. This greatly cuts down on clutter....& I have always appreciated her recommendations!

The next part of her method was genius: thru the school year, she kept everything in a storage tub. As soon as summer vacation started, she created a scrapbook for the year. She kept only what would fit into that album & everything else was pitched. She combined photos (from the year) with projects/keepsakes. She said the entire process only took a day or two....& then she was done until the next summer. What a quick, easy way to document your child's life! She also mentioned that as she shopped thru the year, she would pick up embellishments which reflected her child's growth, activities, & achievements. By that 1st day of summer, she was ready to go.....

I have always really liked how this method is quick & easy. & I like the fact that it prevents clutter & truly reflects the child's individuality, as opposed to rote paperwork piling up in a box somewhere......

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I have become a minimalist & hate clutter. Everytime they bring a craft / certificate home, I struggle. I have a feeling , later , I will regret all the things I have trashed / that' my fear. Honestly, I keep very few things. I really only try keep things that are extra cute, a 1st of something, / funny. I also don't see the pt in keeping stuff if it is going to collect dust / be put away in a box.
So, to keep that from happening & to cut down on the clutter, I try to frame everything & hang it. I feel like the clutter annoys me less if it/s on the wall & people can look & comment on it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We are at the beginning of this...not too many things yet. A friend of mine shrinks and copies special pieces and puts them in a scrapbook. She also asks her son which are his favorite. Hope this helps. :)

You could also digitally scan and keep them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

My oldest is only 3 1/2, but I only keep major or milestone pictures/projects. I have a file in the filing cabinet for papers and seasonal projects go with that seasons decorations in a storage container.
I have a seperate container for first outfit, baptism bib/candle, first overalls, and other keepsakes to come, I'm sure!



answers from San Francisco on

You might regret it, so better to err on the side of caution.

I kept a lot, but not enough. I kept almost all of what they made or wrote, but I got rid of most of their toys. I now wish I'd kept a couple of each phase of their toys. There are also a few books I wish I hadn't discarded.

I label and date and throw it in each child's memory bin. It can be sorted out when I have time when I'm an old lady or something.


answers from Kansas City on

I keep things up for the season that the kids make, then I take pictures of their projects and am making a scrapbook for them. It keeps the clutter down and they will always have book for memories. Things with their hand prints I have kept though.



answers from New York on

I started off keeping about 80% of it. Most was just because I wanted my kids to know that I was proud of them and didn't want to hurt their feelings. When the kids were little we would decorate for most hoidays, so I would hang up/display what they brought home, and then when it was time to redecorate, most got tossed the ones that were special to me, I kept. Then over time, many of those got tossed too.

I keep a large rubbemaid bin in the basement with these items.

You can always take pictures of some of the items.



answers from St. Louis on

I am a big saver but things had to go. I keep all handmade Christmas ornanments. But I sifted through the other stuff and did keep only things I thought were important memories. Now I have seen people make a huge poster and yearly take a picture of their child in front of it and enlarge the picture. Then they would get rid of most of the stuff and move on to the next year. I thought that was clever. I do have one box and everything that does not go into the scrapbook goes there and periodically I do go through it and I slide it under a bed so no one sees it. I so hope this helps. Good luck



answers from Minneapolis on

Think about what you would want your Mom to give you now. Would you want her to show up at your house with every piece of paper you wrote on when you were a kid? If you start that, do you continue all the way through college?

I save the special stuff. The first self portrait, first time they wrote their name, some of the more special preschool projects (with handprints or footprints). I have a rubbermaid for each of them. My kids are prolific, I can't save everything. And what the heck would I do with all that stuff if my Mom had saved it for me?

I do like the idea of a scrapbook (digitally saving stuff takes no space at all!), but have never actually done it.




answers from Washington DC on

I'll freely admit I'm a pack rat when it comes to my kids. I've saved pretty much everything. My oldest is 4 and my baby is 8 m/o. Every sonogram (I had weekly sono's with both for medical issues), baby booties, outfits they came home from the hospital in, first pair of shoes, etc. I've even packed away my oldest's crib bedding, curtains, and mobile from her nursery when we transitioned to a big girl room. I bought spacebags which literally suck down to an inch for easy storage. I thought it would be nice for her to have the option of her own child using those items someday. I saved every single drawing, project, card....everything my oldest has every made. What I have done is scanned everything into digital pics. I then make digital scrapbooks from snapfish and shutterfly. If you join their sites they will periodically send you coupons for free books you only pay the $5 shipping. My oldest really loves looking through her books and seeing all her creations. I also make regular scrapbooks and include alot of her projects in there as well. Once the originals are digitalized then I pack them away in a trunk for her and will do the same for my baby as she grows. I did a time capsule at my daughter's 1st birthday party and had every guest write her note on special stationary. I added some special momentos to the capsule as well. The capsule will be given to her on her 16th birthday. I will do the same for her sister. Honestly, I think the fact that I lost my parents when they were so young drives me to capture as many memories for my girls and I can.


answers from Modesto on

I kept a ton of stuff for the first few years, then realized there was no where to put it and no one else cared about it as much as I did. So, I downsized to just the report cards, the Christmas ornaments and the cards they gave me for my birthday, moms day, valentines day. Those are still in my trunk of stuff along with their very first drawings of people and houses. The trunk is full of their stuff and it isnt important to them or anyone else but me, so when it's time to get rid of it I guess I will... it's not like I need to look at it all the time and it really has no meaning except for that I was a mom of kids once. My kids don't want any of it, I already asked them. I suppose I should get rid of all of it now since its 30 years old and no one else wants it and it would free my trunk up for something else, like dust. I choose to leave the memories in there tho, so the kids will see it when I croak. It will have a new meaning then. But saving too much of their stuff is just lame, they really dont care about it. Save their report cards and their first milestone pictures, and any good projects or reports that they did... that's all that really matters, but even then...... in the long run... if you croak.... they wont even want that stuff to clutter their closet :)



answers from Milwaukee on

My husband is the one who gave me the idea to put everything in a shoe box because that's what he started doing with the kids drawings and cards and stuff. The box got full and I got a tote that would fit a lot of things. Not the long ones, the taller ones that books could fit in. I save a lot of the drawings and when he writes his name. Special pics. I keep all projects in my curio and hutch. I am starting to run out of room but I cherish them all!!! The stuffed animals they give me I put in a zippable bag like from a comforter after a few years so they stay nice. My tree is full of my kids ornaments since my oldest is in high school and I have younger children.


answers from Raleigh on

Right now, we are just starting this (first year of preschool). We got a small tub with a lid that we put everything in right now. At the end of the year, I am going to go through all the pieces and pick and choose which ones I want to keep and which ones will be tossed. The ones that I keep will be put in a nice folder (if they can fit), and placed at the bottom of the tub. The cycle will start fresh again next year. The goal is that this one tub (not huge, but certainly not itty bitty) will make it through elementary school! It is hard to decide though...


answers from Chicago on

I recently bought a rubbermaid tote and started storing things in there. I just keep the bigger projects. I honestly don't like the "hoarding" feeling. Watching the show Hoarders has ruined me :) Me being grown up now, I really could care less if my mom saved a piece of paper that I colored. But I like to see the bigger projects, that's always nice. So I just saved the bigger projects that my kids have done.

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