Danielle opened up Pandora’s Box with her post on keeping track of what matters. Documenting memories? That’s my thing. I could share a ton of info on this topic. See, I’m my family’s archivist and memory keeper. Meaning, I take a ton of photos and write down a lot of what happens in our lives. Not just the big things like vacations and birthday celebrations. But the little things; the everyday, prosaic moments.
Why? Because I never want to forget the cute thing Peach said on the way to school one day, or that I peeked into Hamster’s room the other morning and caught her lying on her bed, talking to a book that she was “reading.” Those moments make me smile. And no one has the memory of an elephant, so the next best thing is to write things down.
Those seemingly inconsequential, everyday moments are the stuff of life. They are what make us a family. And they tell the story of us.
And so, I document. I record it all. I write long passages. I jot down three- or four- word notes and record snippets of conversations. I collect bits of ephemera like the movie stub from the film Andrew and I saw on our anniversary, or the bib from when he ran his first 5K. Sometimes I record even seemingly boring things like what we had for breakfast. It all matters to me, the big moments and the small ones, the good and the not so good. Years go by in a heartbeat, especially childhood years, and I just don’t want to forget the little moments that brought us happiness.
I used to just keep random notes I would write to myself on scraps of paper. I still have them, stuffed in an envelope inside a drawer. Peach’s first word. The date when Hamster first rolled from her back to her tummy. The funny saying my Dad would always utter when he knew he’d lost an argument. Especially now that I have children, I want to keep track of that stuff. Not just for me, but for them. For their children.
Those memories are doing no one any good hidden in a drawer. I needed a simple way to archive all the words and photos I was collecting. I tried keeping the written memories in a draft email document. But what about all the photos I take? Those lived on my hard drive, just sitting there, with no hope of seeing the light of day. What about a scrapbook? A good solution, but I’m just not the type to get glitter and glue all over my hands. Besides, I have more modern sensibilities and the scrapbooking stuff that I was used to seeing was a bit on the cutesy side for my taste.
Then, two years ago, I came across the perfect solution called Project Life. You can read more about it here, but at its core, it’s just a simple system that uses plastic pockets that you then put into a 3-ring binder album. Print your photos, slip them in. Jot down your memories, slip them in. Simple and done. I can even add those collected snippets of paper into a pocket without doing anything else to them and finally free them from the drawer. Voila, memories preserved.
I started recording my year with Project Life in January of 2014 and I’m happy to say that I love the system so much, that I’ll be doing it again this year.
Danielle has her business card solution and I’ll be keeping track with Project Life. And both of us will be sharing on this blog from time to time throughout the year. We’d love for you to follow along and join us. Here’s to both making memories and preserving them.