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How to Make a DIY Memory Box in 5 Simple Steps (for Kids OR Adults!)

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Do you have special mementos or keepsakes and want to know how to make a memory box to protect your precious treasures? Then read on to find out how to make a DIY memory box in five simple steps!

Are you keen to find out more about memory boxes and why they are important?

Make sure to read until the end of this post to get all your memory box questions answered by a minimalist mom and expert speech-language pathologist with both personal and professional insight into this topic!

Two children showing how to decorate a memory box with stickers

How to make a DIY Memory Box in 5 Steps

1. Pick a memory box theme

What kind of memory box do you want to make?

There are memory boxes for all sorts of occasions, so clearly identifying what kind of memory box you are making is an excellent place to start.

Are you looking for something to store your wedding memorabilia after the big day? Or are you looking to create a memory box as a gift for a child?

These memory boxes would look very different than, say, a bereavement memory box that you would create to honor and remember a loved one that had passed away.

Upcycled kids DIY memory box

A close up of a child's memory box with paint and stickers

READ MORE: 20 Signs You Might Be a Sentimental Person – Good or Bad?

2. Choose a box

The next step is to choose a box.

The most important thing is to choose a box that feels special and meaningful to you or for the person you will be presenting the box as a gift.

There are so many beautiful memory boxes available for purchase, or you can upcycle almost anything that’s box-shaped into a keepsake box for your precious treasures!

My memory box is a simple, practical, and sturdy craft box that holds all the sentimental items that are left after decluttering 95% of my stuff.

Meanwhile, the DIY memory box that my children and I created together is made from an upcycled wood wine box, which we painted in their favorite blue hue and decorated with adorable animal stickers.

✨ BE INSPIRED: Check out this list of the ten most popular memory box ideas!

My adult memory box

A minimalist holding her adult memory box

3. Decorate your box

If you are going the DIY memory box route, then you can now decorate your memory box!

How to decorate a memory box?

Here are popular ideas for decorating your memory box; feel free to mix and match any of the ideas below!

Boy holding his wood keepsake box open to decorate
Helping mom paint his memory box!

4. Put stuff inside your box

Now that you’ve decorated your memory box, it’s time to put stuff inside!

Just remember, memory boxes should be a well-curated place to store your sentimental items.

Don’t let your memory box turn into a catchall for clutter!

Memory boxes are for those more private memories, a place where you can store unique treasures to revisit every once in a while for a trip down memory lane.

“Just because something made you happy in the past doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.”

Melva Green

READ MORE: 120 Minimalist Quotes to Simply Live Your Best Life in 2022

Two children showing how to decorate a memory box with stickers
Decorating our memory boxes with our handprints and animal stickers!

5. Organize your memory box

Keep your memory box tidy by using vertical storage or smaller boxes or bins to organize the inside.

After all, you don’t protect and honor your cherished memories by stuffing them willy-nilly into a box!

You can use special organization boxes designed for this purpose or upcycle any boxes, tins, or small containers around your home.

In fact, I’ve had great success with using old iPhone boxes for storage.

If you can, store things like cards, books, videos and DVDs, and other items upright so that you can easily see everything at a glance when you open the box. This will prevent you from digging around and making a mess when you need to look for something inside your box.

💡 PRO-TIP: If you need more tips to declutter and organize your memory box, make sure to check out this helpful video guide!

Memory Box FAQs

Want to know more about memory boxes and why they are important? Here are a few of the most common memory box questions.

What is a memory box?

A memory box is a special container created to store and organize memories and mementos of people, places, or events. 

Memory boxes can also be called keepsake boxes or treasure boxes.

Why make a memory box?

Memory boxes are important because the things that we put in memory boxes act as an anchor.

They help give us a concrete keepsake that functions as a window to a specific memory, be it a particular person, place, or time in our life.

That’s because our memories are surprisingly fallible.

According to one study, while our brains can store 2.5 petabytes of data, or the equivalent of 4,000 256 GB iPhones, our memories are already beginning to fade in childhood, with children between the ages of five and seven remembering 60% of early life events and eight and nine-year-olds remembering less than 40% of the same memories.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to making a memory box

I never want to hear someone say, “I regret getting rid of X or Y” after decluttering their home because they feel like they “needed to” if they want to become a minimalist.

So it’s essential to be intentional and find the balance that works for you!

What to put in a memory box? 

What you put inside a memory box will depend on the purpose of the box. These can be mementos from a specific event, keepsakes from loved ones, travel souvenirs, etc.

Remember, you can have a single memory box that includes all of these items or multiple boxes with different themes.

Ideas for things to put in a baby or child memory box

Memory boxes are a fun DIY for your child at any age! Many parents start collecting memories as soon as their baby is born, but you can also make it a fun DIY project to bond over.

You can also make adding or removing items from the memory box an annual family ritual to reminisce together about the year!

Be clear if the memory is for you or them, and keep it in the appropriate memory box.

  • Pregnancy ultrasounds
  • Baby books
  • Their hospital hat or wristband
  • Special toys, blankets, or outfits
  • First tooth
  • A lock of hair from their first haircut
  • Report cards
  • Artwork or schoolwork

RELATED POSTS: Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist (for Moms Who HATE Clutter)

Ideas for things to put in an adult memory box

Adults can have all of the items mentioned above in the child memory box section, as well as any of the following.

  • Photographs
  • Trophies and awards
  • Concert, movie, or travel tickets
  • Yearbooks
  • Love notes
  • Wedding memorabilia
  • Diaries or journals

Ideas for things to put in a wedding memory box

  • Wedding album
  • Bouquets or corsages
  • Veil
  • Shoes
  • Wedding invitation
  • Cake toppers
  • Photographs
  • A video or DVD
  • CD of special songs played
  • Guestlist or greetings book
  • A copy of your vows

Ideas for things to put in a travel keepsake box

  • Plane tickets
  • Souvenirs or tchotchkes
  • Travel maps
  • Photographs
  • Sand, shells, or small keepsakes
  • CDs of local music or language

Ideas for things to put in a memory box for someone with dementia

As a speech-language pathologist who has worked with plenty of adults with dementia, I have witnessed the power of memory boxes firsthand!

I will never forget the tears of joy shed by my severe dementia patient and his wife after they realized he still remembered how to play checkers the day that she brought his old set to our therapy session.

Memory boxes are a simple way to comfort, support, and connect with loved ones whose memories may be fading away.

  • Childhood keepsakes
  • Photographs of their past
  • Games they enjoyed playing
  • Maps of places they’ve been
  • Favorite clothing or accessories
  • Pictures of family members
  • Hobby items (if they liked cars, knitting, etc.)

Ideas for things to put in a bereavement box

A bereavement box is a place to collect special memories of a loved one who has passed and help the living cope with and adjust to the grief of their loss.

  • Photographs
  • Videos or DVDs
  • Clothing items
  • Jewelry or accessories
  • Favorite home decor or keepsakes
  • Cookbooks or recipes
  • Notes, letters, or journals
  • Funeral cards
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Dried flowers from their funeral

READ MORE: 90 Quotes on How to Let Go of the Past and Heal

Final thoughts about memory boxes

Hopefully, you found this helpful information on making a memory box. The things you put inside a memory box can be cherished for years to come and will remind you of the good times.

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A step-by-step guide on how to make a memory box for keepsakes.

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