How to Put Together a Memory Box

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For many people, even the smallest item can hold a precious memory. This can often result in drawers and cabinets filled with a clutter of ticket stubs, photos, dried flowers, and high school love notes. One popular solution for organizing these items is to create a scrapbook. However, these are time consuming projects that require the purchase of paper, stickers, glue, photo corners, and page protectors not to mention the book itself. Once you've begun a scrapbook you may also find that some of your most precious items aren't flat, and therefore don't fit onto a piece of cardstock. A memory box is the perfect way to store your treasured items. This project is quick, easy, and inexpensive. Your memory box will keep your items safe for years to come and provide a wonderful rush of nostalgia every time you revisit them.

Creating a Memory Box

Gather your items together. This may include pictures, magazine and newspaper clippings, seashells, rocks, ticket stubs, and any number of other items. Consider a wide variety of objects. Anything that you don't want to get rid of, but rarely use is a candidate. If you have a bottle of perfume with one squirt left that you keep because the scent reminds you of a special trip, or a scarf, hair clip, or piece of jewelry that will never wear but have to keep for its sentimental value, these are perfect candidates for your memory box.

Sort your items. You can use any system that makes sense to you. You may want to sort them by year, event, location, or the person that the items remind you of. Try to avoid keeping all of your mementos jumbled together.

Collect the appropriate number of boxes. You may have gathered treasures for one memory box or for several. With the items you are storing in mind, select an appropriately sized box. Shoe boxes are good for this purpose, but you may want to use a shirt box, jewelry box, hat box, or any other container that meets your needs.

Decorate your box. Be creative. You can cover your box with a collage of magazine clippings, wrapping paper, fabric, or even leftover wallpaper. Select a medium that is appropriate for the contents of the box. If you are filling a box with Christmas memories you may want to wrap it like a Christmas present. For a box of beach memories, put together pictures of the ocean, sand, and seashells from a travel magazine. Don't forget to put a label on the front or top of the box to remind you of the contents. This doesn't need to list everything inside, but can instead be a general title such as "Christmas 2000" or "Grandma's Beach House".

Fill your box with memories. If you have a lot of pictures, keep these in an envelope, folder, or even a small photo album to prevent folded corners and bent edges. Wrap dried flowers or breakable items in tissue paper. If you are including jewelry, consider keeping it inside a smaller box, or tape it to a piece of cardboard so it doesn't get tangled. If you have a special scent associated with the items, spray this onto a handkerchief and fold it neatly in the box. Memories are associated strongly with scent, and a whiff of pine or cinnamon when you next open the box may take you right back to a special time and place. Your items should fit snugly, but don't need to be stuffed in. Arrange them so that a few special things will be front and center when you revisit your box. You may want to tape a special picture to the inside of the lid so that this greets you first, or put a special seashell right on top.

Store your box in a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity are never good for storing things. Keep your memory boxes in the back of a closet or under the bed. Revisit them and add to them as often as you like.

Things You'll Need

  • Several keepsakes
  • Box
  • Wrapping paper or magazine clippings
  • Glue or rubber cement
  • Tissue paper
  • Photo sized envelope


  • As you collect keepsakes, keep them in a special place to await your next memory box.