How to Organize Your Keepsakes Safely So They Last


What are family keepsakes, and how can you safely organize and store them away? From preservation storage tips to advice on acid free storage boxes for textiles, keep reading to see how you can organize keepsakes for years to come!

Many of us own family keepsakes – and don’t always know what to do with them.

Whether they’re items you’ve set aside for yourself or things you’ve inherited from parents or other family members, keepsakes are important to preserve.

But how do you store them? Where should you store them? And how do you decide what’s actually a keepsake – and what’s just old stuff that you can get rid of?

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What are family keepsakes?

Keepsakes are items that hold sentimental value. In many cases, they are kept in memory of a loved one. In others, keepsakes preserve memories associated with a specific time or experience – a souvenir from a vacation, or a yearbook from our time in elementary school. 

There are no real rules about what can be considered a keepsake. Some items that can be keepsakes include:

  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Jewelry
  • China sets
  • Old toys
  • Crafts or handmade items
  • Clothes

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Which Family keepsakes are worth keeping? 

While the thought of getting rid of keepsakes and sentimental items might make you feel guilty, it’s an important question to ask yourself. 

What keepsakes are actually worth keeping? 

What’s a reasonable number of keepsakes to store?

When does it become too much?

The answers to these questions will look a little bit different to everyone. However, by considering some key points, you can come to a decision that’s right for you.

It might be helpful to think about what kind of sentimental value the item holds. Do you consider it a keepsake simply because it’s old? Or does it unlock specific memories for you and your family? 

Items that hold sentimental value might be worth keeping, while you may want to consider getting rid of stuff that holds negative memories or things you’re only keeping because they’ve been in the family for years.

It’s also important to evaluate the number of keepsakes you’re trying to store – and whether or not that’s even sustainable for you. Do you have enough storage space in your home? Is there an easily accessible attic, or enough closet space to tuck those keepsakes away? Or did you inherit your grandmother’s house filled with stuff and have no reasonable way to hold onto it all?

If you have space to store those keepsakes and they aren’t creating clutter, keeping them might be the best course of action. But if they’re taking up critical space that can be used in a more practical way, you may want to reevaluate how much stuff you’re holding onto. 

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How should I store and organize my keepsakes?

Once you know what you want to keep, it’s time to store and organize those keepsakes so you can preserve those memories. 

There are a couple of approaches you can take when it comes to organizing your keepsakes:

Organize keepsakes by category

One easy way to organize keepsakes is to store your items by category. By splitting items up by type – photos in one box, clothes in another – you can make it easy to know where to look when you’d like to revisit those keepsakes later. 

Display your keepsakes on a seasonal basis

Don’t want to keep your sentimental items stored away forever? Consider storing them by season and pulling them out to display at different times of the year.

For instance, you could…

  • Keep a box of keepsake holiday ornaments and old photographs and use them to decorate each Christmas. 
  • Store all of your summer-themed keepsakes together and organize them in shadow boxes or other displays during the warmer months.
  • Revisit keepsakes that remind you of your time in school during the fall, when kids are gearing up to head back to class.

Pro Tip: Check out the Tackle Your Closet Toolkit for helpful resources to organize those keepsakes. 

Consider Long Term Storage Options For Your Keepsakes

If you own keepsakes and sentimental items that you’d like to save but don’t necessarily need to access on a regular basis, consider long term storage options! You can safely pack up those keepsakes and put them in your attic or stow them away in a local storage locker. Check out this article for a deep dive on how to leverage long term storage for your keepsakes. 

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Preservation Storage Tips: How To Protect Your Keepsakes

When it comes to storing and organizing keepsakes, you have to do it the right way if you want them to last. That’s why preservation storage – the act of storing items in a way that minimizes their risk of deterioration – is so important. 

Cardboard boxes? They’re good for moving. But they aren’t so good at preserving items you want to keep for years to come.

Here are just a few tips that’ll help you safely store those keepsakes and preserve your memories for years to come:

  • Textiles: Whether you’re keeping your old wedding dress, storing baby blankets, or preserving other textiles, you’ll want to use acid free textile boxes or storage bags. Acid free boxes will prevent the fibers in your textiles from deteriorating over time. 
  • Photographs: Once again, acid free storage options are going to be your best bet here. Instead of opting for clear plastic boxes, choose ones that are opaque to prevent light from getting through. The light exposure can fade photographs over time. 
  • Artwork or antiques: Some items are too large to be stored away in boxes and bins. While it might be tempting to put these items in the basement or your garage, you’ll want to identify a climate controlled storage solution – whether that’s a space in your house or a dedicated storage unit. 
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More Closet and Storage Organization tips

If you enjoyed learning about how to store family keepsakes, then here are some more tips that you’ll enjoy next:

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