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Curating Your Life: Creating a Home Filled with Cherished Memories

I am a big believer that keepsakes and other items stashed away in boxes are not really that important if they are not a part of my everyday life. Of course not everything can be displayed all the time but if you have the opportunity to keep something from a loved one that has downsized or has died, think about choosing something that can enrich your life. The same thing goes if you want to buy a souvenir for your travels. Keepsakes are an important part of many people’s lives, but if you don’t know how to display them, they can be easily tucked away.

Christmas Keepsakes

Christmas is an important holiday for me and I bring out all the sentimental items.

1 – I display a nativity set from both of my grandmothers. They instantly make me think of celebrating Christmas in their homes. One year, my parents were at our house and when we finished decorating, my son helped set up each of the sets from that side of the family.

Nativity figures on a shelf for Christmas

2 – We have a reindeer basket in our living room where we place holiday cards and it came from my husband’s grandparents house.

reindeer basket filled with Christmas cards as decoration

3 – On the first trip we took with our son when he was 6 weeks old, we bought a Christmas ornament. On every trip we have taken since we have purchased a new ornament (or keychain) to hang from the tree. It’s a fun trip down memory lane when the tree goes up but it is also a fun part of the trip to pick the ornament to represent the trip. This year, our tree only has ornaments from our travels and it brings me so much joy.

Ornament on the Christmas tree

4 – We have glass bowls from both my grandma and my husband’s grandma. I rarely use them to serve food but one sits out in our living room and is where we place cards for birthdays and other holidays. During December, other bowls are filled with ornaments not on the tree. 

Glass decorative bowl that is filled with ornaments

Year-Round Keepsakes

Painted dresser with a variety of different patterns and colors

Beyond Christmas, we have several things throughout our home that are from our family.

  • The desk and a small dresser in our guest room have been painted and are fun accents.
  • An old kitchen table has been painted and sits in our family room and gets used for games and puzzles
  • In our kitchen, we have an old TV cabinet that houses shoes and a few things right inside our back door

Cabinet in the kitchen to place catch-all items

  • The chair in my son’s room has a different cushion on it but this can be seen in several photos from my childhood
  • On our dresser, I use an old tiered candy tray to put my jewelry

What are your favorite keepsakes?

I would love to know what things you have in your home that are “keepsakes” that become a part of your everyday life.

Want to learn more about storing keepsakes for later use or display? Check out my blog on keeping keepsakes. If you need more tips on memorabilia storage and photo organizing, schedule a free 20-minute consultation with Lisa!

4 Comments

  1. Seana Turner

    We also got onto the tradition of buying ornaments as souvenirs. I love this so much, because I handle and look at the keepsakes each year, which is more than I can say for other keepsakes I’ve bought.

    I started doing the same for my girls, so they would have the memories of their various trips on their trees when they were adults. Unfortunately, the girls don’t have big enough living quarters yet to accommodate a tree, but I’m hopeful they will in the future:)

    Like you, I have a special piece of furniture. It is a small sewing cabinet. It sits in my dining room, and although I don’t sew much, I do keep my mending supplies inside. It’s unique, and connects me to family, which I love.

    Reply
    • Lisa Tonjes Moritz

      LOVE that you also collect ornaments! The looking for a new ornaments is also a little something fun to do as a family on the trip too.

      Reply
  2. Julie Bestry

    I definitely believe in functional keepsakes. We don’t celebrate Christmas, but when I fully moved away after college, I “stole” my mother’s menorah (she got a fancier new one, so it’s OK) and I continue that tradition from childhood. When my sister was little in the 1950s, my mother refinished a bare wood desk for her; it’s not exactly pretty (it’s sort of that shiplap/oatmeal color) but I’ve been using it as a sorting table since the 80s. It’s old enough to get Social Security, but it always makes me feel connected to my family.

    And for myself, when I travel, I only buy keepsakes that will be used rather than hidden away. In Italy, I bought a gorgeous leather purse and Murano glass and silver necklace. In Edinburgh, I bought a ring. I’m a big believer in only keeping (or bringing things into your life) that retain meaning or create it. I definitely agree that if we’re going to keep things in our homes (other than 100% functional items, like kitchenware) then we should make a point of using or displaying, rather than burying or hiding what we have.

    Reply
    • Lisa Tonjes Moritz

      I love that you have a family menorah and desk! Jewelry is a great small souvenir!

      Reply

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