Creative ways to preserve family mementos

May 1, 2012 at 11:50 a.m. ET

Is your basement bursting with boxes of family mementos, photos, kids’ artwork and other keepsakes? Discover creative ways to preserve family mementos and cherish your memories for generations to come.

Family scrapbook

It’s not always easy to decide which family mementos to keep, display or send to the recycling bin. But it’s certain that your kids aren’t going to need or want 26 boxes of their dusty preschool scribbles when they reach adulthood one day. Finding unique ways to display and preserve your treasured keepsakes can help you immortalize the moments that really count.

Unique ways to display children’s art

When your children’s masterpieces start filling every nook and cranny of your home, it’s time to find a better way to display them. Consider scanning all your favorites and turning them into an elegant photo book of your children’s art. Or use a Dynamic Artwork Frame where you can easily swap out new drawings each week while storing up to 50 other pieces of art underneath. Want to share your children’s artistic genius with the world? Make greeting cards with photos of your children’s artwork on the front. They make the perfect gift for teachers, family friends and relatives.

Time for some tough decisions? Your kids' artwork: What to keep and what to throw away >>

Chef hatMake a family cookbook

Stop digging around in your kitchen drawers every time you want to use your great aunt’s killer buttermilk-biscuit recipe. Preserve your family mealtime traditions for future generations by creating a one-of-a-kind family cookbook with all your favorite recipes. Family cookbooks also make thoughtful gifts for family reunions, weddings, birthdays or other holidays. You can create your own or use a site such as Heritage Cookbook which will print top-quality treasured heirlooms highlighting personal stories, photos and recipes.

Learn how to take gorgeous photos for your family cookbook. Tips for taking fabulous food photos >>

Scrapbook memories

You don’t have to save every science fair project, diorama and pair of baby shoes to keep those tender childhood memories alive. Design a one-of-a-kind scrapbook for each of your children that spotlights favorite activities, friendships, academic achievements and plain ol’ good times. Pair photos of your child playing the piano with a piece of sheet music or a photo of your toddler’s paint-covered hands with a finger-painting masterpiece. Take pictures of school projects, favorite toys and other treasures to add to the scrapbook instead of stowing away the real thing.

Want photos with professional flair? 10 tips for taking memorable photos >>

Sew a memory quilt

Not sure what to do with all those old baby clothes? Upcycle your favorite T-shirts, sports uniforms, blankets, baby clothes, grandma’s aprons and other treasured fabrics into lasting memories by designing a beautiful memory quilt. Got mad skills? Try making one on your own. Not so crafty? Use one of the many sites online such as Original Quilts to redesign your old clothes into warm, cozy memories.

Quick tip: A fun way to preserve a moment in time is to create a family time capsule. Fill an old coffee tin with photos, letters, kids’ drawings, small toys, newspaper clippings and lists of favorite foods, music, books, movies and hobbies for each family member. Choose a time five or 10 years from now to open it up and peek back at all the beautiful memories.

Watch: How to create a photo memory quilt

Another fun idea is to create a photo memory quilt. Check out this easy DIY tutorial to learn how.


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