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How A Simple Box In The Kitchen Can Enlighten Your Family For Generations

Updated on June 27, 2014

What is this about a cardboard box?

So how on Earth can a simple cardboard box in my kitchen effect my family for generations to come? Well Its very simple really, just by putting a cardboard box conspicuously in your kitchen you can make sure you are keeping the stuff necessary for your family to remember all of the great things that happen in your life and theirs.

Quite Simply You Keep a Record of Your Life!

We get so many things all throughout the day, months, and years that we just toss in the trash. So many of these things are the memories and fabric that make up our lives. If we keep these things we can pass these on to our children who will then have a way to remember us by, and some fun things to reminisce about of their own lives. You can then make a scrap book with all of these memories or maybe something even more inspiring a family history account.

Its Becoming more and more Cool to Keep a Family History!

With the digital age in full swing and new technology making storage space smaller than dime, we can now make family histories like never before. I am not talking a simple family tree, but a full on genealogical record, chock full of pictures, announcements, childhood art, and anything else that can be scanned. You can have a complete and spectacular inside view of entire families with today's technologies. And believe me, maybe not now, but one day when your children are grown they are going to want to know more about you. So why rely on your memory build that digital lock box of family historical gems right now.

And This is Where the Cardboard Box Comes In...

You see it is here where we are going to capture those moments. Each and every one in exact clarity and in the moment. This box will help us insure for generations to come that our families know exactly who we are, what we have done, and can be inspired knowing where and who they came from.

So its as easy as this, put anything and everything important into that box!

And when it is full, tape it up, store it, and get a new one out and put it in the same place. Remember keep it going in the end you will be glad you did.

So without further ado, fanfare, or words, lets talk about what are some things that can go in the box...

Write it all down and you wont forget it!
Write it all down and you wont forget it!

Why Keeping a Journal is a Great Complement to the Box Concept.

You can save all of this stuff and nostalgic memories will come wafting back to you and the may be incomplete.How much better would it be if you had some of this stuff written down. A journal is a perfect complement to the box idea and will help fill in the gaps in your own words.

This will help your loved ones in future generations get a better feel for you in your own words. Along with photos and other artifacts from your past they will be able to get to know you on a more personal and deeper level.

The Beginnings of Life

Here are some great things to put in the box regarding the beginning of life, maybe you or your family is just starting out, well dont forget to think about keeping records of that time:

  1. Birth announcements, shower invitations, and certificates (copies only).
  2. Christenings, baptisms, and other church invitations.
  3. Pictures of the people who came to the birth, well wishes, and maybe small gifts.
  4. Baby clothes, shoes, bibs, or other fun items that were favorites.
  5. Drawings, art, and crafts.
  6. Preschool graduation invitation, hats and other products.
  7. First walking and talking moments.
  8. First birthday announcements, maybe hair locks, other memories.
  9. First day of preschool.
  10. Photos of newborns or toddlers with family members.
  11. Vaccination records, growth records, and any illnesses. (Copies only).

What are some other things you should keep from the beginnings of life? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

There are a lot of Birth Events make to sure capture them all.

Baptisms and Christenings are Important things your Children will want to See.
Baptisms and Christenings are Important things your Children will want to See.
Prom and other Dances
Prom and other Dances
First Learning to Drive
First Learning to Drive
Summer Camps
Summer Camps
Birthday Parties and Coming of Age Celebrations
Birthday Parties and Coming of Age Celebrations

The School Years of Life!

When your kids start going to school, K-12, your life becomes busy. Really busy. So there may be a lot of things you can save as keepsakes. Here is a simple list of some of the things you should think about saving.

  1. First day of kindergarten.
  2. As much of that art, craft, and school works as you can keep.
  3. Certificates, awards, and report cards.
  4. First day of grade school.
  5. Sports awards, trophies, and team photos and other recognition from athletics.
  6. Measurements for growth or pictures of growth.
  7. School papers or tests with good grades.
  8. Don't forget the school pictures you get taken every year.
  9. First crush, and maybe some Valentines from school.
  10. Bar Mitzvah's, Sweet Sixteen, Quinceneros, and other coming of age celebrations.
  11. Drivers permits, tests scores, and other driving information.
  12. Prom, Formals, and other dances photos and invitations.
  13. Homecoming, Sadie Hawkins, and other fun events.
  14. Birthday party invitations, camps, scouting, or church events.
  15. Graduation memorabilia.
  16. Off to college stuff, scholarships, and other college entrance information.
  17. Leaving the nest. Take lots of photos, they will want to see what they looked like before the world gets a hold of them.

This is a busy time of life for parents, children, and even those who are single. Life is whizzing by with work for parents, and school for children. Parents dont want their kids to grow up to fast and kids can wait to be eighteen. So cherish these moments but make sure you keep them and put everything in the box!

Its Graduation that Opens up the Next Chapter in Life.

Another perspective on their graduation ceremony can be priceless later on to your loved ones.
Another perspective on their graduation ceremony can be priceless later on to your loved ones.

Poll of the Hub!

What was your favorite moment in life?

See results

The Young Adult Years you know Everything past 18!

So you have turned eighteen or someone in your family has and now is the time to spread your wings and go out into the big bad world. Now comes all the things in life that are the big milestones. A new job, marriage, college, and other life events. So gather up all the information you can and save it for later because you will want it.

  1. College certificates, graduation certificates, diplomas (copies) grades, papers, and other things you will want to remember from college. Especially if you are going to be involved in boosters or other Alma Mater activities.
  2. Anything and everything that happens before and pretty much right after you get married. Including anythings you want to remember while you are dating like first movie tickets, photo booth shots, carnival keepsakes, and other love memories.
  3. First resume and first job application or memories like a uniform piece or other employment memory.
  4. Picture of your first real car, your first place living alone, and you first bills you had to pay.
  5. Birth of any children - see the section above for more information on this.
  6. All anniversaries, party invitations, and birthday celebrations.
  7. Any awards, hobbies you are interested in, or recognition you received.
  8. Any injuries, health concerns, or other health issues.
  9. Vacations, fun trips, or places you went to see.
  10. Plays, concerts, and other noteworthy events you attended.

This is the time when you are probably running around with zero moments to spare. You are also doing a lot of stuff, stuff that you want to remember. So save those stubs, receipts, pictures, and memorabilia that will help you remember when you are older.

Marriage is the Gateway to Adulthood...

The Later Years and the Golden Ages.

As we hit middle age and get into our golden years we think we can do more than we actually are able. Sometimes we go through a mid-life crisis other times we grow old gracefully. But even in our later years there are a ton of memories we need to capture. Especially since our loved ones may not be around to experience them first hand. So even though the kids have moved out keep that box alive and well in the kitchen and continue to save your memories.

Now is a great time to start giving away some of your stored items to your loved ones. Hopefully you saved them in a way that you can easily transfer them on. If not then invite the family over and to go through all the items and divvy them out to everyone. Better yet teach them how you saved all of this information and encourage them to do the same.

Recently I went to visit my brother who had purchased our long time family home from our parents. When he cleaned out all the old stuff he found a box full of my old items. Stuff from high school, pictures of two trips I took as a young teenager to Mexico and Europe and a whole host of other precious and exciting memories. To him I am thankful I had those. And I know you're family will be thankful to.

So here are some ideas of what to keep as the middle aged parent or empty nester.

  1. Anything about the kids moving away, off to college, missions, or careers.
  2. Milestone anniversaries and birthdays.
  3. Post graduate degrees, job changes, or moves to other cities.
  4. 50th Birthdays and Wedding Anniversaries for sure!
  5. Marriage of children.
  6. Grandchildren births and birthdays.
  7. Fun Vacations.
  8. Remodeling of the home.
  9. New trips with boats and recreational vehicles.
  10. Retirement from work.
  11. Work awards, charity events, and other recognitions later in life.
  12. Hobbies that you are involved in.
  13. Letters and cards from friends and colleagues.
  14. Changes in employment.
  15. Things you have written like poetry, music, or books.
  16. Businesses you started, websites, and other online work you have done.
  17. Passions, things you like to do, wishes, bucket lists, and other insights in yourself.

Now certainly is the time to reflect back on your life. Get out all the old boxes and go through them. Remember your life and celebrate it, then remember to give more to the box so your children can know and understand what is going on in your life and mind now.

Growing older doesn't mean you cant learn more!

The golden years is the time to do all the things you want to do, read more, learn those things you always wanted to, and spend the time with loved ones.
The golden years is the time to do all the things you want to do, read more, learn those things you always wanted to, and spend the time with loved ones.
Family portraits are good to keep.
Family portraits are good to keep.
Keep any stuff from family reunions.
Keep any stuff from family reunions.
Keep those Christmas Cards especially those ones with family photos.
Keep those Christmas Cards especially those ones with family photos.

This one is all about the Family!

This section is all about keeping memories and things from family. So hear are some ideas of the things you can put in your box to remind you of your family no matter how big it is. And remember keep it all from both immediate and extended family members.

  1. Keep all the cards you get from family, and dont forget the envelopes (or at least write the address on the back of the card from the envelope before throwing away).
  2. Treasure all the letters, correspondence and invitations from family members.
  3. Print our or save relevant emails, and photos on social media sites.
  4. Keep gifts that have any family history attached to them like ornaments, and other dated material.
  5. Save wedding, graduation, and other event invitations.
  6. If you have a family tree or pedigree done get a copy of that and put it in the box or start your own with a genealogy program.
  7. Save holiday photos especially those from Christmas cards, and other holidays.
  8. Keep special Valentines as love is a powerful memory jogger.
  9. Put those fun memories from your spouse or significant other in the box.
  10. Keep a few of those odd Father, Mother, and Birth, day gifts that you are tempted to throw away, especially anything hand made.

For me this is an easy one. The standard rule of thumb here is to keep everything. You can always sort it out later and let others help you decide what to keep and what to discard. Don't think you are becoming a hoarder as these are memories. Just remember to keep a box, and when its full empty it into a tub, label and seal it. Or seal the box and store.

Divorce or a broken heart are not fun things to go through.
Divorce or a broken heart are not fun things to go through.
Grave site photos or head stone rubbings will make good memorials to save.
Grave site photos or head stone rubbings will make good memorials to save.
Sickness or disease may help future family members know how to prevent them in the future.
Sickness or disease may help future family members know how to prevent them in the future.
Broken bones or sprained muscles are common so share about them.
Broken bones or sprained muscles are common so share about them.

Save the Not So Happy Stuff...

This section is a hard one to write because it deals with all the unpleasant things that happen in life. So as a disclaimer if you want to skip this section I understand. As you are going through the things "in the moment" it might be hard to want to keep them but in my experience when things have settled down you will be glad that you did.

Now I know there are things to painful to remember or things you shouldn't want to and I am in now way encouraging you save anything you dont feel comfortable saving. This is merely a suggestion of things to think about saving for future reference.

  1. Divorce records, I know they are painful at first, but in the end my children know I was married once before and I wanted to tell them about it. Also when doing my family history I needed the dates.
  2. Break ups, perhaps you dont get married or you are a life long single person there may be breakups that have been hard but you still love and care for the person and because they were a huge part of your life you want to remember them.
  3. Obituaries and death records, these are hard to keep, but they are necessary from family history. My mother died when I was a teenager and I still refer back to some of the great memorial items that were published about her. As painful as it was at the time it know serves as a way for me to stay connected to her.
  4. Memorial or articles about deceased loved ones.
  5. Grave stone photos or markings.
  6. Health histories will help those who read your family history to know of certain health issues that may run in the family and can better setup a prevention plan.
  7. Accidents, broken bones, and other injuries can let your family know you are human and see a side of you that had to overcome adversity.
  8. Natural disasters you had to go through and how you recovered.
  9. Crimes, arrests, or other information you are not afraid to share with your loved ones to help them steer clear of trouble.

This again is a hard section and I apologize for it, but I do know that this is information in the end that your family will want to know about you.

Just some Random Stuff to Think About Saving...

  1. Maybe write down a few things about each child that you like or admire about them.
  2. Take some time and write a long love letter to your spouse each Christmas and give it to them.
  3. Do a time capsule each year and save something from each family member along with a note of why it is important.
  4. You can write down your history of moving, that is if you move around a lot.

There are a lot of random things you can write down, that at the moment might not seem interesting but later on can be a gold mine of information. So go ahead get out a little note pad and write down a bunch of random lists, thoughts, or wishes.

In Conclusion

In the end I truly believe this box can be such a blessing in your home and something you and your family will be grateful later on. It may seem like a lot at first, but it is really easy. If you see something worth saving throw it in the box!


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    • Greg Chan profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Bradenton, FL

      Thanks for the praise.

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      great ideas you had enlighten me


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