Simple Ideas For What To Put In A Memory Box (& What Not To)


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Do you know what to put in a memory box, and what NOT to? This list will help you prioritise and work out what’s really important. Create the perfect mix of keepsakes that you can treasure for years to come.

Simple Ideas For What To Put In A Memory Box (& What To Leave Out!)

A memory box is something where we can put keepsakes so that they are all in one place and are easy to find, but we often forget about WHAT to put into the box – which is where this post comes in.

It’s all too easy to just put anything and everything because we *may* want to look at it again, or we *may* need it again in the future – but that’s not the best way to ensure you have a memory box that you love to look at from time to time.

To ensure that a memory box is special to you, or whoever you are creating it for, then you must be your own curator of the contents.

You have to be sure that what you add will give you joy for years to come, give you a load of happy memories when you look at the items, and generally be a pleasure to use.

If you have too much, then it can become an overwhelming mess, and if you have too little then you may not feel it is useful to you at all.

Get the balance right, and you will LOVE what you create – and these memory box content ideas will help I’m sure!

Ideas for your memory box theme

There are two main ‘themes’ that memory boxes can take. Firstly – a memory box for a persons life, and secondly for a specific event in that life.

Memory box – for a specific person

A memory box is usually created on a person by person basis – with things from when they were a baby right up the present day.

It’s curated over the years and things are taken out and added in on a priority basis so it doesn’t become too overwhelming – but each item will have sentimental value to that specific person.

It also usually is stored away and brought out by that person at specific times when they are feeling nostalgic.

The other type of memory box that you could create is something for more than one person to enjoy – things like a wedding memory box that is likely to be put in a living room for people to enjoy, or a baby memory box that stays out while the child is young, or a holiday memory box full of photos and mementoes.

I want to talk today about what to put in them all – and will list them in a sort of chronological order because that’s how we often create them – over the years.

In fact – even though we may create smaller memory boxes for specific events, we will probably end up adding them to our main memory box after a few years – so they all work together really well.

As such, I’ve put together some ideas of what items to put in your memory box(es) to make them work really well for you, AND ideas of what to leave out….

What to put in a memory box

Ideas of things to put in a baby memory box

This is usually where we start with creating a memory box, as there are SO many special moments at this time:

#1 – First tooth

#2 – First lock of hair

#3 – Their baby book which you may have filled with specific events and dates of importance (their first word etc…)

#4 – Their baby scan picture

#5 – The outfit they wore back from the hospital

#6 – Their hospital wristband

#7 – Newspaper from day they were born

#8 – Coins from the year they were born

Wicker cot with blue knitted baby clothes draped over

Ideas for things to put in a kids memory box

We are good at creating a baby memory box, but it often tails off as children grow up – even though there are more items than ever to look at keeping. This is when it’s crucial to keep going, and to curate as you go as well to ensure you keep what means the most: –

#1 – Specific Items that mean a lot – special toys, hobby items etc…

#2 – Awards, certificates

#3 – School File – with memories of each year, and some of their special work/school books, school reports

#4 – Photobooks – you could do one per year of their life and scan/add in everything, you could have one for all their artwork over the years etc….

Related: How to Create a Photo Book

TIP – This is usually the stage where they leave home – and as such – their memory box will become a fantastic keepsake for them to take with them. Think about giving it to your child on their 18th / 21st / or the day they leave home.

Ideas of things to put in an adults memory box

#1 – Tickets for events attended and loved

#2 – Notes from people

#3 – Diaries / Journals

#4 – Greetings cards that you’ve been given from loved ones

#5 – Photos of larger items you want to remember but can’t keep (homes, cars etc…)

#6 – Photos of specific events / people

#7 – DVDs of events / people

TIP – This is usually the stage where they leave home – and as such – their memory box will become a fantastic keepsake for them to take with them. Think about giving it to your child on their 18th / 21st / or the day they leave home.

Quote - We didn't realise we were making memories, we we just having fun

Ideas of things to put in a wedding memory box

#1 – Cake topper

#2 – Photobook

#3 – Cards and notes

#4 – Your wedding dress (a photo, or maybe keep a section of it)

#5 – Pictures

#6 – DVD of the day

#7 – Anything special that you did or received on the day

#8 – A copy of the wedding service, or copies of the poems/readings etc…

#9 – Honeymoon mementoes

#10 – Flowers – dried – especially your wedding bouquet

#11 – One of the wedding favours

#12 – Place settings for bride and groom

#13 – The wedding breakfast menu

Mr and Mrs sign on wood with tree background

Ideas of things to put in a holiday memory box

#1 – Tickets (plane, train etc…)

#2 – Photos

#3 – Leaflets of places visited

#4 – Small items bought for keepsakes (maybe you collect coins from each place, or something similar)

#5 – Travel notebook(s)

#6 – Itinerary of special holidays where you have done lots of travelling and want to remember it all

Ideas of things to put in a loved ones memory box

The last part of a memory box is to have keepsakes from someone who has passed away.

They may have their own memory box, but much of this will be personal to them, of course, so you have to make something that relates back to you and your specific memories of them: –

#1 – Items of clothes / Jewellery etc…

#2 – Diary / Journal

#3 – Notes / cards from them to you, or vice versa

#4 – Photos

#5 – Awards they have received, newspaper mentions etc… (things they were proud of)

#6 – Their funeral service sheet – with any specific memories attached to that (it’s usually a really precious slice of their whole lives and a great way to tell their story).

Old book with flowers and photos over the top (sepia)

Related: How To Create a DIY Memory Jar incl. 2 Free Printables to Make it Easier

Items to leave out of your memory box

Obviously if you start a memory box when you have a baby, by the time they leave home it will become VERY big (probably way before they leave home if you try and keep everything!) – so you have to be selective over what goes in, and what stays in!

Firstly – have a box that’s large enough to keep a decent amount of keepsakes, but small enough to be able to lift and carry easily, otherwise you’ll never end up getting it out as it will be too hard.

Then – make a promise not to keep anything more than what can fit in the box. Hard, but a great way of making sure you curate it often.

Here are the things that you should never put in your memory box, AND things that you should probably take out!

#1 – Anything that will deteriorate over time, or in the storage space you have given your memory box

#2 – Anything that, when you look at the box in years to come, you can’t actually remember the memory attached to the item

#3 – Anything that you have more than 1 of – keep the most precious item as this will be enough to give you the memory

#4 – Anything that gives you bad memories. Sad memories are OK, we will all have them and they are a part of us, but bad memories are best left out completely.

Simple Ideas For What To Put In A Memory Box (& What To Leave Out!)

So – that’s the full list of things to put in a memory box over the years – and I hope it gives you inspiration to start or re-vamp your own.

It’s such a special thing to have, and you won’t regret starting one.

I love looking at mine with my daughter and talking about things I did when I was younger, and she loves looking at her own and remembering special moments in her own life.

Memories are precious – so it makes sense to keep them in a way that we can celebrate them!

If you’ve got any ideas for what else to put in your memory box, then I’d love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below…

Read Next: How To Create A Memory Box – Store Your Memories Easily


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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...


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