Memory Keeping

Do you journal or do any kind of memory keeping?  Sometimes I wonder if journaling is a lost art- the act of sitting down and physically writing your thoughts on paper.  I used to journal a lot years ago, but sometimes, I would find myself using the computer to get it all out because it was faster.  I have a fascination with documenting things and always keep my paper calendars from years past.  I’ve got calendars dating back to when I was a college waitress and bartender and every week wrote down how much I made in tips.  I even found an old journal entry the other day from 13 years ago, the first week of law school when I was lamenting how hard it was.  Funny how I made sure to put that it was 12:41 a.m. at the time. 
Seems like so long ago now, but I’m glad I have those memories recorded.  Do you remember when Oprah encouraged us to keep a gratitude journal?  I did that too, writing down 5 things I was grateful for each day.  I’m still grateful for some of the same things now- a comfy bed, my health, long sleeps . . .  and of course new things like my son and family, a nice home, and recent tight friendships.
I think this is part of why I enjoy blogging so much- it’s a log of what’s been going on in my life and around my house over the years.  It will be 4 years I’ve been blogging in June.  Now, I seem to be drawn to other types of journals, like the DIY 5-Year Notecard Journal.  The idea is to create 365 notecards, one for each day, and jot just one thing down on each card, continuing over the years.  This is great for a low time-commitment type of memory keeping.  I like this idea for chronicling things with your kids since they grow so fast and say the funniest things that we want to remember. 
I’ve also been hearing a lot about Project Life, which is more like a journaling/scrapbooking combo.  Seems like I would like this, I certainly have a lot of crafty supplies I could use!  It would take a lot more time, but be something I think I would enjoy doing.  I’m just not sure how often I’d really do it.  
I love how Neena prints out her Instagram photos to make them into her memory book.  I take a ton of photos with my iPhone- I have 6,220 right now- totally need to start deleting some.  

I was also considering putting together a Shutterfly album.  Have y’all done that?  I hear it’s pretty easy.  I think I’m just craving something more intimate to store personal thoughts and precious memories than FB and Instagram.  
While browsing Finding Nana’s blog, I found this free app, COLLECT.  It’s the cooling thing, a photo journal app for Project 365 (committing to taking one photo a day for a year).  Although it’s been out for  a long time, I’m new to it and I’m still playing around with it, but look what it can do- 
I already take one photo a day (at least), but I’m going to start putting them in this calendar format for sure.  I can easily commit to that!  
All this talk about journaling reminds me of the SMASH book I shared in jr. high with two other girls.  We took turns passing it back and forth all year and it was chock full of opinions, cutouts, songs, poems, crushes, and inside jokes- completely awesome.  Until it got stolen. 🙁
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Do you do anything special to store your memories?  

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. I'd like to try the DIY 5-year notecard journal because it wouldn't take much time. One of my most treasured possessions is a journal I kept on my first 3-month trip backpacking around Europe many years ago. I promised myself I'd write in it at least every other day and even now many years later I like to read it.

  2. I've never heard of this app, will def look into it. This is an amazing idea a photo a day for 365 days. I am terrible at snapping shots on any occasion. This might force me to store my memories. I've tried keeping a journal multiple times in the past, and have always given up. That is why I've started my blog hoping I can keep it up.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. I was really inspired by's memory keeping projects. I currently use the Collect app to make the photo cards for my Project Life. I love that how it "date stamps" the photos for the day. Aside from Project Life, I also keep a little notebook in my purse to jot down little man's funnies. They do grow up so fast, don't they?

  4. I love this post! Like you, I am also a little fascinated with documenting things. I'm a newlywed, and my husband and I just purchased/moved into our first home. About a month ago I actually started a blog to document this exciting time in our lives (to keep all of my pictures/thoughts in one place, other than so scattered around Instagram/Facebook all of the time). I might start trying the 365 day notecards idea! I always do so much with pictures but not as much with thoughts/written memories.

    I used to scrapbook, but found it just took a lot of time and a lot of supplies. I recently just used Mixbook (similar to Shutterfly) to make a photobook for my parents and grandparents of our wedding, and next will be making photobooks of the 2 years we were engaged (engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor parties, rehearsal, etc) and also one for our honeymoon. I like making these books because they are a great way to have a physical representation of all of your favorite pictures (without them stuck in folders on the computer) but removes some of the stress of printing them all out and scrapbooking. They are also easy to store on a shelf somewhere because they are just thin books!

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love this post! I tried using collect a year ago, but I wasn't the biggest fan because of the interface. I like to add a little sentence or two about the day/picture but it was a little difficult to do so – I'm not sure if they've changed things now though. Instead, I like Day One app a little better. You can also export the posts and eventually create a blurb book.

    I'm always going back and forth between writing in my journal vs blog vs even personal emails to myself. I'm obsessed with saving the "paper" items — for example, when we go on vacations, I'm the one that saves the tour guides and pamphlets from our destinations. Or saving those movie stubs on fun date nights. My problem is, I don't know how to save all of these. Right now I have them in a box, but I want to keep them a little more organized than that. Any ideas?

  6. Oh my word, I had forgotten all about SMASH books! LOL I made a notecard journal for my dear friend for Christmas. She loves it!! Quite simple to do as well.

  7. I LOVE Shutterfly photo books. I am a crazy picture taker and would always print out 40-50% of my images and load them into huge photo albums. Problem was that there was so much that I was accumulating 3 jumbo albums a year and running out of space for them! Plus, there was no written documentation to go with most of the photos so I decided that less would be more and last year was the first year I chose to do one photo book for the full year instead! It was hard to narrow down the images to use, but I find that it is SO MUCH more enjoyable to look at and I can include monthly summaries of the events that took place or the funny things the kids said or did. I can also scan cool travel mementos and pop them into it too, instead of holding onto the actual item. For this year's 2014 family yearbook, I am making a point to update it on the last day of the month while everything is fresh in my mind. Shutterfly lets you make photo books with up to 111 pages so there is plenty of room for everything and you can even add a plastic sleeve to the back of your book so that you can burn 100% of your images from the entire year to a DVD and stick it back there for safekeeping….that way if I ever want to go back and make a wall print with one of the images from the year, I can do that easily. Or if I want to see all 1500 photos from the vacation, instead of the 50 I narrowed it down to for the photo book, I can do that was well!
    I have plans to make one eventually for all of the kid's artwork as well! With 3 kids, their drawings and school art projects really add up and you can only hold onto so much. I have plans to scan/photograph each item and import it into a book for each of them. Always trying to find ways to simplify and eliminate paper clutter!! There is also an app called Artkive that makes this easy, although my phone doesn't take high enough quality photos to make me happy using this method alone.

  8. I'm doing an Instagram photo every day this year. Mostly of my daughter, but I want to capture all the things that are happening in our lives, even if it's just snuggling on the couch. I'll definitely have to check out that app!
    I used to journal all the time, but haven't over the past few years. I'm hoping to start doing Project Life soon! I just don't have the time for traditional scrapbooking anymore.

  9. My friends and I used to do the same thing in High School. The boys would get jealous of all our secret talk and try to steal our book…I might even still have one or two of them. I try to scrapbook the millions of pictures I have taken over the years, but it is hard to find the time to keep up with it. It seems Project Life would take precious time too, although I've heard good things. We both have the iPhone picture taking problem. I finally had to delete some, because I ran out of memory on my phone. Those pictures take up a lot of space!

  10. I'm for sure the memory keeper here! I keep a prayer journal, and another journal about my kids. funny things they say, memories that we've had together, etc. i've been journaling since i was 12, and have a journal from every year till now. We R Memory keepers has some cute little albums specifically for instagram. they are adorable! i have two, a shiny gold one too!

  11. I make shutterfly albums for each of my kids. Each year they get a new one that showcases their entire year. So hopefully by the time they leave the house they will have 18 to keep for memories.

  12. I am very excited about the timing of this post. I have recently started blogging, and have been thinking about how I need to start journaling. I am terrified that I am going to start forgetting all of the amazing things that my kids say and do. I have just been debating on how I was going to do it. I am curious, what do you think about going back and journaling things from the past? How should I organize that? Yikes, its a bit overwhelming just thinking about it.

  13. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who keeps calendars from previous years! I'm also trying to figure out the best way document life right now. I appreciate the options you shared here.

  14. Hi Megan! So fun catching up with your blog tonight. My Friday night treat. 🙂 I've done Project Life for years and love it for my kids' albums. You can see how I've done it here:
    Although it was completely shoved aside while we were building. Hoping to get back into it again soon! My girls LOVE their albums. They look through them all the time and it means so much to me that they'll always have a way to remember their childhood.

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