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The Trick to Organizing Keepsakes: Make These DIY Memory Boxes

Create an easy keepsake box to stay organized

Is your home overflowing with all the precious artworks, school pictures and everyday items that come along with having kids? If so, then you are not alone & these DIY memory box tips are great ways to start cherishing those memories!

I know how overwhelming it can be to keep everything organized and neat. As I talk about organizing these keepsake boxes, the rest of my house is becoming completely unorganized.

Now that we have a few children, it is more important than ever to start creating these DIY memory boxes for each child.

Kid's artwork in an unorganized drawer


This is totally the drawer in my awesome DIY teal desk, that I have been throwing all of my son’s art projects, report cards, T-ball picture (you get the unorganized idea) into.

Since it was the start of the new year and organizing was on everyone’s mind, I decided to finally start a DIY memory keepsake box that I knew would help me stay organized for the next 18 or so years!

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Find the right file cabinet container

My husband originally just wanted me to use an old, refurbished file cabinet we have in the basement. However, I wanted something that I could physically give my kids when they were older. I honestly think by setting these memory boxes up the right way now, I will easily be able to add important keepsakes as things come home.

Shop Plastic File Container Boxes

If you are like me, you will price shop around to find the best value for a plastic file container that works for you. Here are several that I would have considered buying.

Banker’s Box from Walmart

Iris 4 pk. Legal Size File Pack from Target

Sterilite 18.5″ x 14″ Plastic File Box Clear/Black from Target

Before placing things in these bins, you may be interested to find other ways and tips to display artworks before they permanently find their home in the DIY memory box.

2 black plastic file containers sitting on chair to be used as a file keepsake box

Okay…so I am always a DIY girl, but in order for these to be store nicely, I could not just repurpose cardboard boxes. I found these plastic filing bins that I knew would be perfect for our keepsake boxes!

Easy DIY Memory Boxes to store children's keepsakes

The next thing needed is wonderful hanging files. I did splurge and spend the extra dollar in order to get the rainbow color ones!

Looking for more DIY Art Displays for before you store in your memory?

Read: 13 Creative Ways to Display Artworks In Your Home

How to decorate a DIY memory box?

I wanted to keep the outside of my keepsake boxes pretty neat. The memory box design may change over time, but…

Hand transferring letters to memory box

I simply decided to use my easy letter transfer technique to place each of my kid’s names on their keepsake boxes. Below you can see how great the letters transferred to the black plastic of this file container.

Graphite on the back of paper after drawing transfer technique for lettering

I then used another one of my favorite art supplies (one that I love to use with kids as well) to fill in the lettering.

Organizing your DIY file keepsake box

First, you will need to figure out what categories you will like to have files for. I set mine up by age and will add a baby photo book in the beginning once I am done displaying those pictures around the house.

Will I ever get tired of looking at my children as babies?? You will need to make sure to purchase enough hanging folders for each category. Here are a few suggestions.

Memory box categories for folders

1. Drawings and special school projects by Age and Grade

2. Report Cards

3. Sports Folder

4. School pictures and certificates

5. First locks of hair/first tooth

6. Baby books (I make one of these books for each of my kids to keep all of the precious pictures from the first years!)

7. Extra photographs

8. Old Birthday Invitations

9. Notes from teachers and other adults in their lives

On the outside of each age file, I plan on putting a small school picture. I can’t wait to see how those pictures change over the years and I always have a few of those wallet-sized pictures left.

I also may put a few notes with my nicest handwriting about my child’s interests at the time. As my children get older, I may change these questions, but right now I think the questions might be:


Favorite Food:

Favorite thing to do:

Best Memory from this year:

Favorite TV Show:

Questions that 4 year old son answered on the outside of a file folder for DIY memory box

Create labels and starting filling your memory box with keepsakes

I decided to just write out my labels and went with labeling each folder by the grade/school year. When attaching the plastic label holders, I also found that attaching the next label two slots over creating a nice look in the box. This allowed us to see each category when the hanging folders were in the keepsake boxes.

File labels and hanging folder for DIY memory box

It is fun to see your child’s memories organized!

I was able to fill my son’s 3-year-old with everything that I had saved from the previous year in my teal desk drawer. It really was fun and heartwarming to look at the school projects, report cards, and drawings. It truly did bring back so many memories.

I can only imagine how I will feel looking back on this priceless memory box in future years.

Files in DIY memory box

I am ecstatic for several reasons! First, my drawer finally became empty of all the things I was stashing in there. Secondly, I loved looking at all the photographs and other memories from just the first couple of years of my children’s lives.

Finally, I now know that I did the hard work in getting ORGANIZED now! I just plan on filling my drawer and periodically through the year filing keepsakes in my children’s memory boxes for years to come!

Follow us on Pinterest or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

What is your favorite way to store your children’s keepsakes? I would love to hear any tips and organizational ideas that could go along with making these DIY memory boxes!

If you love this idea and are looking for a more professional way to display photos or memories, check out our DIY gallery wall. I love being able to see our memories every day (and I am sure you will love the tips I show you how to hang the perfect wall)!

I love my DIY memory boxes and hopefully, we inspired you to organize your precious keepsakes forever!

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Kam K

Monday 13th of January 2020

What a lovely idea. I put my son's school work in plastic containers for every grade, but adding the categories and fun questions will make storing them even more fun. Fun memories for years to come. Thanks for sharing.


Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Thanks, Kam! I am glad you like the extra ideas that I have added to my children's memory boxes. I think it will be fun to look back on.


Monday 13th of January 2020

This is such a cute idea! Totally saving for when my kiddos are bigger and start bringing home endless art projects!


Monday 13th of January 2020

Hi Sarah! I am so happy that I finally made these DIY memory boxes to help me stayed organized. Hopefully it will be easy now!

Audrey @ Two Pink Peonies

Monday 13th of January 2020

I need to make this! I’ve been wondering what to do with all the little things my kids have made. Such a good idea!


Monday 13th of January 2020

Hi Audrey! This was a simple and easy DIY project to save all those memories. Good luck!


Monday 13th of January 2020

GREAT idea!!!! I wish I had started something like this when my son started school. He's in third grade now and everything is all jumbled.


Monday 13th of January 2020

Thanks, Desiree. I’m hoping that because I have somewhere to put things then I will be able to keep all the art projects, school papers and pictures organized.


Sunday 12th of January 2020

Omg I have done this first years with my kids’ stuff and I use those EXACT same file boxes!!! They are so perfect! I obviously love this post ?


Monday 13th of January 2020

Hi Megan! Yes these file boxes seem to be perfect. I even love that they have a lid on top to be able to store some keepsakes as well.

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