Keep a File Box.

2011 Happiness Challenge: For those of you following the 2011 Happiness Project Challenge, to make 2011 a happier year — and even if you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge — welcome! This month’s theme is Memories, and last week’s resolution was to Keep a milestone book. Did you try that resolution? Did it boost your happiness?

This week’s resolution is to Keep a file box.


If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…
In which I solve an annoying problem: what to do with those childhood keepsake papers?
Six tips for using mementos to keep happy memories vivid.

How about you? Have you figured out any quick, easy ways to organize mementos? I’m always looking for new suggestions.

If you’re new, here’s information on the 2011 Happiness Challenge. It’s never too late to start! You’re not behind, jump in right now, sign up here. For the Challenge, each week I’ll post a video suggesting a resolution for you to consider. For more ideas for resolutions to try, check out the archives of videos here.

* I had a lot of fun checking out the “spontaneous smiley faces” on the site, called, appropriately enough, Spontaneous Smiley Face. Find smiley faces everywhere.

* Remember, now you can get the happiness-challenge videos in the form of an audio podcast on iTunes. To get the audio podcast of the video:
— Log in to iTunes
— Go to “Podcasts”
— Search for “The Happiness Project.” Free, of course.

Or subscribe to my YouTube Channel. To get the weekly video by email, right in your email in-box, you can:
— On the GretchenRubin channel page, after you subscribe, click “Edit Subscription” and check the box, “Email me for new uploads.” Or…
— Go to your main drop-down box, click “Subscriptions,” find the GretchenRubin channel, click “Edit Subscriptions,” and check “Email me for new uploads” there.

  • Campbell Martha

    I love this idea, and I wish I’d had it many years ago when my children were small. But there’s no time like the present, so today I will create my file box to use for my grandchildren’s special things as well as other meaningful mementos from the year.

  • Shelagh

    I do a similar box for my kids for Christmas decorations. I give them an ornament each year and they would forget which ornament was theirs. So I bought them each a container to put their ornaments in and any other Christmas decorations that the received e.g. stuffed animals and I put a copy of each years family card along with any special crafts that they made for the holiday. Then when they are ready to move out on their own, they each have a box of ornaments for their new home.

    • gretchenrubin

      My mother started the same tradition for us when I was little. I love my
      ornament collection — even love the tattered box that I’ve kept them in all
      these years.

  • Thank you and loved the video and i have bought the box for my children and would have loved to have one of mine own.

  • I just posted about something similar! I started keeping my kids’ school papers and mementos in an accordion file. When they started going crazy with their at-home artwork, I gave them each a 3 ring binder and access to the 3-ring punch. Looking through their artwork binders makes them happy! And keeping all the papers and mementos organized makes me happy!

  • Nancy

    I have a picture frame (5X7) for each child. Every year I ‘added’ the most current school photo to the frame (keeping previous years in the frame too!). Now that my children are in their 20’s, it is fun to take the frame apart and look at the kindergarten through 12th grade photos!

  • Justyna

    I started collecting mementos of the most important events of my life some years ago, but I forgot about my box. And today when I was watching your video I thought about it. I found my memento box and I was really excited while watching all these things, which I haven’t seen for ages! Thank you so much for reminding me about this great idea of keeping memories !

  • Joan

    This is perfect! I am cleaning out my house to move, and I now have a way to store this stuff. Thanks!

  • Chasta

    I’m a BIG filer! It makes my life feel so much more organized which in turn makes me happy. I have a few file cabinets in our garage where I keep all of our records. And then I have a file box for saving momentos of my Husband and my love affair. At the end of the year I take everything from that year and make a little book. I scan documents, use pics, take pics of items and it turns out great. It’s a fun project that I do for our Anniversary and I’m so glad I started doing it years ago.
    Can Do Diva

  • Grace

    I have had a treasure box (large banker’s box) on an upper shelf in each kid’s closet since they were babies. It has been so easy to just reach up with a handful of “treasures” and stuff it into the box. Maybe too easy, because they are now both on their second boxes! My son turned 18 (legal age where we live) last week and I steeled myself to go into his first box, reach down to the bottom, and pull out some treasures. Well, I hadn’t steeled myself enough, because the tears they did flow. I brought out some wonderful things to show him and his friends, including his first pair of big boy “Simba” underwear! Where did those years go, and thank goodness for the treasure box!!

    • gretchenrubin

      I kept a preemie diaper from when my first daughter was born. Those things
      went up to her armpits when she wore them! so glad I kept one.

  • Mdavis

    Love the idea. Was wondering where I could buy a nice file box online? I already tried the container store and there are just ugly plastic ones