Spotlight on the Memento Keepsake Journal

Memento keepsake journal

In my books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, I wrote about my desire to hang onto happy memories, and in my book Outer Order, Inner Calm, I wrote about various methods I followed to save and curate mementos of happy memories.

This effort takes energy and time, but it’s worth it—research shows that one of the best ways to make ourselves happier in the present is to remember happy times from the past.

When I was little, my grandparents gave me a small spiral-bound book School Years that was made of a set of 13 pockets, for kindergarten and grades 1-12. For each pocket, it suggested, you’d add your report card, class picture, mementos, and samples of reading, writing and math.

Photo of Gretchen's School Years memento book

By chance, the report cards of my school fit exactly in the pockets, so that was satisfying—but the pockets were too small to hold much.

For my own children, I set up a “file box.” I put in a folder for each school year, and put in items such as their birthday invitations, our yearly holiday cards, some representative schoolwork, some photos, etc. (If you want to hear me talk about the file boxes, you can listen here.) I love these file boxes, but they weren’t very well-designed for that purpose.

I wanted to create something with a better design—something that would hold more items, be visually appealing, space-efficient, and organized.

I wanted to create something flexible—that could be used for school mementos, travel mementos, project mementos, that could record “My 35th Year” or “2022”…and whatever else people could dream up.

So…here it is!

The Memento Keepsake Journal has twelve pockets, with pages where you can record the contents or make notes about an experience. The spiral binding is concealed, so it looks great from the side—if you want to tuck it onto a shelf—as well as from the front.

Memento keepsake journal
Memento keepsake journal

So often, I find myself thinking, “I want to keep this memento, but where? What the heck should I do with it?” The decision fatigue can be draining, and that leads to clutter.

This journal makes it easy to preserve and organize mementos, and to create the outer order that contributes to inner calm.

To create the Memento Keepsake Journal, I worked with some brilliant minds on The Happiness Project team: Anne Mercogliano, Emy Joyeux, Lindsay Logan, and Hannah Wilson.

What strategies and tools do you use to hold onto important memories and mementos?



Like what you see? Explore more about this topic.

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter “5 things making me happy”.

Subscribe to Gretchen’s newsletter.

Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.