Sentimental Storage

While some mothers get the urge to scrub baseboards and wash cabinets, my nesting usually comes in the form of keepsake obsession. It’s probably driven by my own mother, as she impeccably saved it all and then some! Maxi has some of my dresses, Harry has all of my childhood books, and she even kept a calendar from my first year of life that documented what we did EACH day. My children love looking at it!

So around the time nausea subsides to half the day, and I can come up for air, I start printing photos like a mad woman and labeling each and every item. I shared my thought process on this during Harry’s pregnancy here, and I couldn’t let this pregnancy go by without breaking down my system as well. I still use their baby trunks and suitcases for favorite clothing (more of that shown in the prior post), but many of you have asked about photo storage, so I wanted to share how I store it all. My parents’ buffet that we have, houses our wedding album and travel albums, and I talk more about that in this Homeworthy tour here. But for photos of my children, school photos, and more, I store it all in this armoire.

This armoire was quite the steal! A furniture store was going out of business in North Carolina, and I think Paul got it ordered and shipped here for all of $600. It’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture, not only for the deal but because it is home to my most treasured items.

Above is a mini breakdown of how I divide up this armoire. My children’s baby Petite Keeps (petite size) stay in their closets (it is far easier to toss in favorite onesies and items), as do their mini suitcases filled with baby clothing. But I keep personal Petite Keeps in the armoire- a family one filled with family photos and vacation memories, a personal one filled with letters, photos, and art from my kids, a wedding one filled with wedding items, and a Christmas one filled with Christmas cards, Santa letters, and Santa photos. The blue leather one up top is Harry’s toddler box. Maxi has one with her favorite toddler books, toys, and costumes- and I suppose I’m following suit on Harry. Since he is still three, I haven’t finished filling it up just yet. Let’s break down these shelves, shall we?!


Top Shelf

At the top, you’ll find a box I use to store journals for my children, their school photos, and two boxes for each child. Those boxes contain stationery (birthday invites, shower invites, etc.) and photos from activities (dance, soccer, etc.).

Second Shelf

This is where I store our family, Christmas, and wedding Petite Keeps.

Third Shelf

In the middle, I store albums, baby books, and my personal Petite Keep.

Bottom Shelf

 I have a fireproof box of photos, medical documents for the kids, school storage boxes, and school memory books on the bottom shelf.

Looking at the top section, let’s break down these photo boxes and how they store stationery.

Each child has two boxes: one with their initials that says “cards” and one with activity photos. I keep a one-inch binder ring to store all of their stationery, from their baby thank-you notes to birth announcements and birthday party invites. They may not want to flip through them when they are older, but I’m sure I will—and it keeps it nice and sorted.

The next box has their initials with activity photos. For Maxi, she has dance photos from each recital year, and for Harry, we’ve got soccer photos. My goal is to essentially have one activity photo year-over-year in this box to show their interests!

In the journal box, I keep their brag books, journals, and birthday journals. Brag books are just little 4×6 albums that you could keep in your purse to share special baby photos with family and friends- you know, before we all started carrying smartphones. 😉 But I love to have them as a way to store newborn photos. Mine are by Jan Sevadjian out of Dallas, but I’ll link some similar options for you that I love.

Next to brag books, I keep leather journals for each child. In these small journals, I jot down funny things my kids say or special memories. If we are out and about and Harry says something funny, I’ll e-mail myself what he said, and at the end of the month, I’ll sit down and pull from that folder to jot down all his phrases.

The final component of the journal box is their birthday journals. I use the Emily Rollings “Birthday Letters to My Baby” journal. On the eve of their birthday, once I set up gifts and bake a cake, I sit and write them letters.

After the journal box, you’ll see quite a few Petite Keeps- or storage trunks. I have a leather one for Harry (not currently sold), and I keep toddler toys. Maxi’s has already been filled up with her favorite toddler books and dolls, so I can save for grandchildren one day. My Nana has a closet in her guest bedroom filled with boxes of our parents’ favorite toys. There was NOTHING better than bringing out my Aunt Darla’s Barbie Camper with my cousins. I think those toys entertained us more than even new Christmas ones, and I hope to carry on that same tradition.

I also keep a Christmas trunk, a wedding trunk, a family trunk (filled with family photos), and a personal trunk. The personal trunk is KEY- it’s the best to store letters from friends in high school, art from my kids, and photos from college! I’ll share a little peek at our Christmas trunk.

Here I keep a Letters to Santa album, photos with Santa, Christmas crafts, and Christmas cards to save for our family. Each child has a binder ring with all of our Christmas cards to look back on!

Now, we’ve made it to the album section! On this row, I store baby books, baby albums, birthday scrapbooks, family photo albums, and more. I have their brag books in the journal box, but below, I love these albums, where I store my favorite toddler photos for each child.

Next to baby albums, I store baby books. I have my baby book and albums as a child, and Maxi and Harry’s. I have had quite a few messages on favorite baby books- and I don’t know that I’ve found one I’m super drawn to either way. I used Artifact Uprising for Maxi- which I ADORE! I love the binder concept, as you can glue so many extra mementos to it. My only con, is it’s IN DEPTH. And this is coming from me….lol. Just something to keep in mind if you don’t have as much margin. Harry’s is this one, and I loved it. I thought the illustrations were darling, and it was *just* the right amount of text to fill out. However, when adding photos and gluing, it really stretches out the binding. I get so nervous it will break, and I’ll have to get it bound again. For this new baby, I ordered the Sugar Paper one, but if anyone has any feedback on how it is, I’d love to hear!

I find a lot of joy in adding vintage cards, stickers, and photos to baby books! Call it the Millenial in me (did we not cover our bedroom walls with magazines?!), but I just think baby books need a few extra touches. 😉 I’ll scour Etsy for vintage cards, baby ephemera, or junk journal supplies. I’ll link a few of my favorites below.

Next, I have some birthday albums. The above scrapbooks were made by one of my mom’s friends and she gave them to me as baby gifts for each of my children. I add in my favorite photo of them from their birthday that year. 🙂

Then, I keep these birthday party scrapbooks! I add in invitations and photos from our celebrations.

I also like to scrapbook their activities, so for Maxi, I have this ballerina book where I save yearly dance photos and performance programs.

And lastly, we have school organization! I ordered these school memory boxes from a local mom FB group and just got them via porch pickup- but Etsy has a ton of options to make them unique to your own child. I keep their favorite projects from that year, teacher notes, and a few art projects in each folder. I also use these school journals that act as school scrapbooks. Next to school organization, I have medical documents, and fireproof photo storage. When I print photos, I try and just print 2 of everything so I have backups there.

And that’s a rundown of how I store photos, baby books, and all the paper items I never want to forget! My kids may not want all this one day, but I think I will. 😉 I like having a system because it helps me prevent overstoring or understoring. I know what I need to print each school year, etc! I added my checklist, and while I know it pertains to our life, I’ve added one you can download below if it at least helps you have a starting point to make a specific one for your family.

You can download the checklist here.

How do you store baby items?!

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  1. Haleigh wrote:

    This is fantastic!!! So much inspiration here. I keep all of these little momentos but they are scattered in various locations around our house. Love this post!

    Published 06 Jun 24Reply
  2. Kaylee wrote:

    I need an “add all to cart” button. This might be one of my favorite posts you’ve ever done- I’m obsessed and have been struggling in this area with what to do! THANK YOU !!

    Published 06 Jun 24Reply
  3. Marguerite Steele wrote:

    You’re amazing! My brain doesn’t think this way at all. I’ve enjoyed this post & hope to implement a few of these ideas! I’m an old mom…probably closer to your mom’s age .. but eager to organize & sort family photos & mementos. Praying for a safe delivery! You’re beautiful inside & out! Blessings!

    Published 07 Jun 24Reply
  4. Vicky wrote:

    THIS POST IS SO HELPFUL!! I have an almost one year old *sheds tear* and I have been trying to think of things for keepsakes etc. You literally have EVERYTHING here. Thank you!!!

    Published 12 Jul 24Reply