13 Beautiful Ways to Box Up Memories

So you have been Konmari-ing and you’ve got to the hard bit.

The letters from your first boyfriend. Friendship bracelet from your best friend in primary school. Some earrings you’ve inherited from your grandmother.

Marie Kondo encourages clearing out even sentimental items, insisting that precious memories will not fade even if you discard the things associated with them.

In concentrating what to keep, we should be guided by her all purpose yardstick – does it spark joy?

 

Marie Kondo

Image credit: Konmari media, inc

Did you inherit your Nan’s tea set, but it's not your style? If it doesn’t bring you joy, no matter how much joy it brought Nan, if it's packed up in a dusty box in the basement, it might be time to let it go and find a new home with someone to whom it will bring joy.

For inherited sentimental items, Kondo suggests that if it doesn’t bring you joy, thank it for the role it played in your family’s life and pass it on. Thanking it will reduce the guilt you feel getting rid of it.

So you work your way through whittle your way down to the stuff you truly want to hang onto.

What do you do with it?

Here are 13 suggestions of ways to hang on happily.

Urbansize box shelves

Urbansize box shelves

1. Display on box shelves

Pick selected items you love and that remind you of good times and display them for all to see. A box shelf is a neat, practical way to put a few key items on display without them taking up too much space.

Stick to an item or two per shelf so they don’t get cluttered. Give each item the space they deserve.

wooden corner shelf with knick knacks

Image credit: Fundamental

You can also use shelving to display smaller boxes filled with sentimental bits and bobs.

 shelves with photos

Image credit: Homedit

2. Archive in vintage filing cabinets and drawers

 Vintage oak filing cabinet

Image credit: Nellie Kettle Vintage

Photos, journals, diaries etc can be stored in some vintage filing cabinets. Have a look around antique stores and flea markets for bespoke finds.

Antique stationery drawers

Image credit: Ocovintage

Sometimes you can pick up the old cabinets from libraries when they used to catalogue books by card, or up-cycle interesting cabinets from doctors' surgeries.

library card catalogue drawer

Image credit: Retroburgh

upcycled filing cabinets

Image credit: Level8astudios

3. Personalized memory boxes

 Memory box for granny

Image credit: Modo Creative

A special way to store memories associated with a special occasion or a child is to create a personalized memory box. You can find some handcrafted boxes on Etsy that can be personalized by name.

Personalized baby memory box

Image credit: Belvedere Collections

4. Wooden boxes

Wooden boxes have that suggestion of permanency. Once you decide what you’re going to keep, you may as well emphasize the secure feeling of connection to your past with a wooden box.

hexagonal wooden boxes

Image credit: Evie

 

Whether you want something simple, modern, ornate or classic, you can find a number of wooden boxes on the market.

 

Wooden LP storage boxes by Harri Koskinen

Image credit: Harri Koskinen

Check out local designers or hop onto Etsy.

 Wooden boxes with fluoro acrylic lids

Image credit: Ring bell

5. Chests

Blanket chest by Seth Rolland

Image credit: Seth Rolland

Take a wooden box to the next level with a chest. Chests have that wonderful connotation of treasure. Or maybe you’re more inclined to a trunk, packed ready for adventure.

Either way, their sturdy durability also offers great security for a sizable collection of memories which could be extra special when devoted to a certain person.

In episode 6 season 3 of Queer Eye on Netflix, in designing a new home for a father and two little boys who had lost their mother to cancer, they filled a chest with memories of Mum.

Bobby's chest for the Elrod family on Queer Eye

Image credit: Queer Eye

In this clever way, Mum’s things and photos were not strewn all over the house, holding the family back from moving on, but collected preciously in one spot. When the family felt like it, all they had to do was open the box to re-live the memories.

If you’re dealing with grief in losing a loved one, unable to part with so many memories of them, a beautiful chest could be a good way to store those memories.

As in the show, you could even personalize the chest with an inscription or their own handwriting.

6. Origami boxes

rectangular origami boxes

Image credit: Gathering beauty

 

If you are already KonMari-ing, you may as well go all in for Japanese inspiration and opt for some origami boxes. These can be so pretty, you might want to put them on display too.

 Paperclover UK origami boxes

Image credit: Paperclover UK

Buy some gift wrap or traditional Japanese washi paper and get folding.

7. Jewellery boxes

There are so many ways to go with jewellery boxes for your treasures.

You might even have a family heirloom jewellery box or perhaps one from your childhood that can provide a sentimental home to your sentimental items.

Or you can go totally modern with a sleek, clean design like these.

Image credit: Mod cloth

 

MENU jewellery box

Image credit: MENU

Or maybe you want to indulge your inner child and buy yourself that magical jewellery box perhaps you never had.

You know the one I mean, that plays music while the ballerina turns around. We’re not judging. Just saying.

8. Hat boxes

vintage hat box

Image credit: Grey Cat Brocante

 

There’s no reason why boxes have to be square. Round hat boxes can look great on their own or stacked up and are another option to consider when boxing up items to store on open shelves or the floor.

 

French art deco hatbox

Image credit: Frenchwave

9. Design boxes

You can get your hand on some great design boxes like these. 

Danish design company, HAY, has a range of minimal boxes in various sizes, colours and patterns that are sleek, clean and multipurpose.

HAY box set of 4

Image credit: HAY

South African DE STEYL created these sustainable interlocking storage boxes.

De Steyl multicoloured wooden drawers

They do block colours and striking patterns designed by Deánne Viljoen. A flexible storage solution, you can put them on wheels or pedestals to build them into a more substantial piece of furniture.

De Style stackable wooden drawers

Image credit: De Steyl

If you're a record buff, Sprout created these Baltic Birch Plywood boxes that are stackable and suitable for all kinds of stuff, but are perfectly sized for vinyl collections.

Sprout stackable boxes

Image credit: Sprout

Metal is another sturdy, durable option that takes on a minimal, rainbow aesthetic in these stackable modules from Normann Copenhagen.

Image credit: Normann Copenhagen

10. DIY boxes

If you’ve got some time on your hands you can make your own boxes. If the origami route is too fussy for you, re-purpose cardboard boxes with fabric or paper.

 

DIY felt box

Image credit: Lily Ardor

In making your own boxes you have full control over their aesthetic, and you can go so far as to match them to patterns, colours or textiles in the room you will be using them.

wallpaper covered box
Image credit: Kootut Murut

Perhaps you have some left over wallpaper from that feature wall in your bedroom you could use for some boxes. Talk about custom made.

11. Tins

Does anyone else have a thing for tins?

Who hasn’t once stored their treasures in a tin.

Remember the tin of childhood treasures Amelie found?

Amelie tin picture

Image credit: Amelie

What a perfect depiction of the power of memories and the joy they can bring.

Our parents parents put stuff in tins and my daughter has her Frozen lipbalm tin she hides her treasures in!

Succumb to the lure and put those tins to good use.

Some of them are so pretty, you need to display them.

Again, take some more Japanese inspiration from Washi tea cannisters.

Washi tea cannisters

Image credit: The Japanese Shop

Display tins in a collection of sizes and patterns to create a striking display.

And the good things is, you’ll have an excuse to buy Danish cookies, posh biscuits and fine tea.

tin collection

Image credit: Silly old suitcase

12. Cigar boxes

cigar boxes on wall

Image credit: Apartment therapy

These old things have plenty of patina and charm if you can pick them up at fleamarkets. You can turn them into jewellery boxes, sewing kits, or photo boxes.

painted cigar box photo boxes

Image credit: Martha Stewart Living

13. Chocolate boxes

Forget Cadbury, but some luxe chocolate shops make some pretty special boxes.

After the chocolate is long gone, you can linger on the indulgence by using the boxes for sentimental stuff or everyday items – bandaids, receipts, baby pacifiers.

 

Kreuther chocolates

Image credit: Kreuther

 

Box it up

Whether you are going clean lines with a modern designer box or as humble as a chocolate box, boxes are a fantastic way to not only put everything in its place, but for significant sentimental items, to give them a fitting home.

A special box for special memories.

Treasure troves of happy times.

And if the boxes are gorgeous, there's no need to hide them away, but you can display them on shelves or in stacks.

So go ahead and box up those memories.

How do you store your sentimental bits and bobs? Leave us a comment below.

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