Wednesday, April 23, 2014

File This

Back in the early part of the winter, I read "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. I was (and still am) quite enamored by it and all the ideas she shares for increasing the happiness in your life. One of the more tangible ideas that struck me immediately was a memory box. Specifically, a memory box for your children. To me, a person who loves to save things but never has an ideal place to put them, and one who took over two and a half years to finish #1's baby book, scrapbooking and album keeping sounds lovely in theory but would never get done. But this memory box, I could do this. Simple and organized. Now, why it took me nearly six months to get around to it, well, we'll just blame that on the baby.

So here's the idea: get a stack of hanging file folders and a box to keep them in. Gretchen Rubin got very nice ones for her girls; my boys got standard, inexpensive plastic ones. I figured I wasn't up to spending $50 or more on each box right now, and it would be simple enough to upgrade later on if I found the right box for the right price. (I actually cashed in some credit card points for a Staples gift card to buy two boxes and two 25-packs of hanging file folders, so I only had to spend $11 out of pocket.) Then, label your folders for each school year or age, other activities, etc. depending on your kid. I looked around Pinterest for a bit for a good list and adapted a bit to end up with these labels:

I took a little time to type up labels in Illustrator with a font and with a little extra decoration; some of the things on Pinterest showed using Avery labels that you use with a template in Word. My final rundown of labels is:
  • Age 0-2
  • Age 3-4
  • Documents & Certificates
  • Health Records
  • Baby Information
  • Kindergarten
  • First through Twelfth Grade (one folder for each)

One box has gray folders, the other has green, and I just put the extra, unlabeled folders in the back so that I can use them in the future (maybe for activity-specific stuff, like Boy Scouts or something). Then it was time for my handy labeler to label the outside of each box with the boys' names.

Then on to filling them up! How nice to go through my office and gather all the cards, projects and pictures that I've been randomly stashing. I also put photos of each of them from Halloween in their boxes.

So, what do the boys think? They don't care a bit. Keith was nice enough to say it was a good idea. Someday though, their wives will thank me. I just know it.


  1. I read that book a few summers ago...and somehow do not remember this idea! (Though I was reading it while nursing / substitute teaching, both activities that zap my brain power.) I love it, though, and will endeavor to follow in your stead.

  2. That's a great idea! And I think I have two of those boxes in the attic from my college days. You wouldn't mind sharing the labels with me, if you saved them on your computer? They look so nice!


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