In most home, space is a very limited resource. We all wish our house was half empty with only what we need. Every time our family moves (and I have moved 27 times already), we discover how much we have accumulated. 17 years ago, Gal and I moved to another country with 3 suitcases, 2 boxes and a little girl. Today, we would probably need a 40-foot high-cube container.
Accumulating things is part of life. We accumulate things because we think we might use them (later) or because they have some sentimental value. Just a while ago, I wrote about how hard it is to get rid of kids’ artwork to clear valuable space for new creations. Taking digital photos of many of our things can be one solution to saving space, but there are always things that we cannot throw away as parents, or that our kids, partners or other family members need to decide what to do with them.
When I was 16, I made myself a treasure box and put all my treasures in it – cards I had received from people, special show tickets, photos and awards I had won. Having that box, which I made out of a shoebox, was a great way for me to monitor what I was keeping and what I was not. The space in the box was limited, so I could not keep everything.
More than a place to keep items, a treasure box is a place to keep good memories and when we are down, it helps us relive good memories. When our brain remembers good things, it floods the body with chemicals that are healthy for us. Good memories are very good to our immune system and when we are bit down, we need them more.
It is a good idea to give every member of the family a box to keep his or her possessions. You can buy a colorful box or decorate a box with gift-wrap. Having a lid is very important in order to prevent the contents from gathering dust, as well as for privacy. Shoeboxes are easy to find and easy store, as are boxes of printing paper (especially if you have a home office).
Make sure the box can be easily accessed. Placing them too high for kids to reach is going to defeat the purpose. Try finding places where the kid can easily take their treasure boxes out and look at their treasures from time to time. At the same time, make sure the storage place is safe from baby siblings, pets and any other damage-causing creatures.
Personally, I have never had to lock my treasure box and I would not recommend putting a lock on it. It is not a secret that we all treasure things and if the parents have a treasure box and share it with their kids, the kids will never think it is there is any need to hide theirs.
When I had an early childhood center, I did a treasure box project at the beginning of every year and got all the children to decorate their own box. My students were between 18 months and and 5 years old and all had treasure boxes. Even little toddlers can decorate their box by painting it, pasting stickers and gluing things on it.
We did not help the kids and allowed each one of them to do their best, but at home, you can lend a hand to improve the result. You can get your young child to pick the wrapping paper and put it on the box for them. I have met mothers years after their kids had left my center and they told me their kids still used their treasure boxes.
This is also a great thing for teenagers, because at that stage, they have many more treasures to keep.
What to put in your treasure box
- Special show tickets (like from that famous rock band that gave that great concert)
- Traveling memorabilia: flight boarding passes, special park tickets, foreign coins and other souvenirs
- Letters from special people (make sure there is also a love letter from you in there)
- Wish lists for New Year or Santa Claus
- Cards from family and friends
- Things to remind you of people who have passed away
- Things to remind you of old friends
- Objects from a previous home that may remind you of your time in it or special events while you lived there
- Report cards
- Awards (laminate them if they are special to the child), medals and trophies
- Special quotes
- Drawings and other artwork that have significant meaning
- CD with a special event or song on it
Remember, the idea is to collect memories and stories to help your kids gain perspective, decide what is important to them and what is not and to have a place to go to when they are a bit down.
This post is part of the series Handy Family Tips:
- Handy Family Tips: Dishwasher
- Handy Family Tips: Pre-Marinating
- Handy Family Tips: Kitchen Scissors
- Handy Family Tips: First use date
- Handy Family Tips: Kids’ Artwork
- Handy Family Tips: Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Smelly bins
- Handy Family Tips: Treasure box
- Handy Family Tips: Glass jars
- Handy Family Tips: On time is late
- Handy Family Tip: Early is on time
- Handy Family Tips: Electric toothbrush
- Handy Family Tips: Make a Note
- Handy Family Tips: Laundry day
- Handy Family Tips: How to Peel Avocado
- Handy Family Tips: Bathroom Art
- Handy Family Tips: Easy Healthy Spread
- Handy Family Tips: Wake Up With a Smile
- Handy Family Tips: Color Coded Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Road Trip Games
- Handy Family Tips: How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
- Handy Family Tips: What to Do When There is No Shaving Cream?
- How to Control Your Kids’ Mobile Phone Use at Night