Cotton balls, popsicle sticks, finger painting, oh my! The works of art from our budding “Michelangelos” are their pride and joy – and our precious keepsakes.
But when every swing of the refrigerator door creates a snowfall of glitter, and every turn of the head is greeted with orange, bigheaded smiling people and handprint turkeys, you may be wondering if your home is turning into a children’s art museum – and how you’re going to keep up with the sock puppets, marching band programs, report cards, and special recognition awards coming through the front door, year after year.
As parents, we want to hold onto all the memories each item captures – and now there’s a way to remember every moment and stop feeling guilty about tossing your kids’ memorabilia.
In fact, by digitizing their masterpieces, you can keep everything without stuffing the back of your closet with more boxes. Your fridge will thank you, and one day so will your kids. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Decide What to Scan
First up: decide what to keep and digitize. Depending on what you have plus the number of children, you can sort the memorabilia differently. The system can be as complex or simple as you like: group all by a child and their age or child and their grade. Add layers to the sorting system by grouping sporting events, seasons, special activities, or months. Whatever works best for you and your family is the way to go.
Once you have a sense of what will be saved, it’s easy to figure out what type and size of scanner will be required for digitizing. Different scanners can produce different results, depending on the goal for the digitized items. That brings us to the next step.
Step 2: Go Digital
In going digital, you have three choices, depending on your needs and situation: do-it-yourself, use an app, or hire professional. Each has unique advantages. For price-conscious moms with the time and ambition to self-scan the keepsakes, this is the way to go. The downside? A standard home office all-in-one won’t pack the punch some moms need.
For the power that meets the task, OXO uses Kodak Picture Saver Scanning System. The Kodak Picture Saver Scanning System PS50 is capable of handling artwork and old photos, especially when using the optional flatbed for textured crafts. You can also rent one.
Today, there are a variety of downloadable apps that organize and snap memories using your phone. Staff favorites include Artkive, Keepy, and Canvasly. Users of Artkive love being able to turn the digitized artwork into a hardcover book, or other neat gifts like pillows and blankets. Keepy creates a memory timeline for each family member and allows archives to be shared and commented on by grandparents and loved ones. Record the child telling you about the each item in the collection, thereby preserving the memory forever. Canvasly is similar to Keepy, with audience control setting and an easy share option to allow multiple caregivers to add to the timeline.
If technology is not your forte, or dealing with scanning boxes of memorabilia is not your idea of a relaxing retreat, hiring a professional digital organizer is your answer. Use someone adept at organization that will create the system perfect for your family. Search APPO.org for a professional near you or, if you’re in Orlando, our team at OXO can help. We love helping families save their special treasures!
Step 3: Back It Up
Don’t miss this critical step! After all of your pieces of memorabilia are scanned, make sure you back up those files! Using a cloud service, like CrashPlan, or having an offsite digital copy at a family member’s home, is vital. Unlike scanning boxes of old family photos, a collection of kids’ stuff will evolve constantly – making it difficult to update often, especially manually. A hard drive in a safety deposit box, for instance, will be out of date very quickly! You can even use CrashPlan to “automate” a copy to a hard drive at a family member’s home.
Losing these precious memories would be devastating, and unfortunately, does happen. Give yourself peace of mind knowing there is a backup. If you have questions, you can contact OXO or an organizer near you.
Step 4: Display Your Treasures
Now that everything is scanned and the backup is secure – it’s time to say goodbye! Go through the piles one last night to decide what you really love and what can be tossed. Since everything’s been scanned, you can be choosey and preserve only the truly exceptional pieces in hard copy.
Step 5: Prepare for the Future
Until now, it’s been about catching up. Now stay on top of the incoming memorabilia. Set aside a designated storage for their keepsakes like a folder or a box. For large artwork, IKEA boxes work because they’re affordable and spacious. A more attractive option is Bigso document boxes found at The Container Store. Get a leap on sorting by using different colors for different children. Another option is artwork accordion storage cases. The large pockets can be used to sort all kind of ways: grade, child, and event. Pick a date to sort the material in the boxes and stick by it. That way you’ll avoid becoming overwhelmed with the magnificent output of our precious little ones.
Saving our children’s keepsakes digitally is a smart option. Keep the memories while cutting down on the constant stream of clutter. That way on graduation day the macaroni mosaic can be pulled out again still as fresh as the day it was glued!
September is Save Your Photos Month! For more ideas on saving your photos, Take the Pledge at SaveYourPhotos.org.
Living in Central Florida? Join us in Winter Park, FL at the Winter Park Public Library on Sunday, September 18 and get your photos scanned for free! For complete details, click here. If you’d like more tips on saving your photos, check out our blog on Leaving Your Kids the Memories – Not the Mess!