Ever heard people mention their memory box? Likely- most people I know have one (or several) tucked away somewhere, but I’m here to argue the point that perhaps it’s not a necessary part of your possessions. I personally choose not to have a memory box simply because all of my special items are stored with other knick knacks of a similar ilk or are out for all to see. For instance I have a beautiful vase that belonged to my nana in a display cabinet on my landing, I have framed a cushion cover that was made for our first wedding anniversary which hangs above our bed and my Christening bracelets reside in my jewellery box along with all my other precious gold and silver. Here’s why not everyone needs a memory box in their world because your most prized pieces deserve more than to be kept in the dark. 

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Most memories can be digitised: Which renders the physical items useless. Letters, photos, messages, notes, cards- you name it- you can probably take a picture of it to refer back to it as you see fit. It will surely take time to load everything up onto your computer or laptop but once it’s there, all you have to do is keep on top of this file every time something new comes into your life that you want a digital trigger for. 

It’s a societal expectation: Yet another one. People expect others to have a little cubby hole where they keep their most treasured things, but why? Surely if they are that important- you should display them proudly in your home and not put them away to never see the light of day again. Which brings me onto my next point…

Physical items can be used as decor: Rather than storing such items in a box- there is scope to put them about your home to look at every day. Pictures, cards and letters can be framed and hung, smaller items can be displayed together in a presentation box, clothing can be cut up and made into a memory blanket or teddy bear. Take a look online at all the ingenious ways people have repurposed their cherished things into something that they can use and enjoy daily. 

It’s a big business: Ever wandered around TK Maxx lately? Check out the homeware section and you will be spoiled for choice with the large number of decorative boxes that can be used to store memories. And there is one for every occasion- a wedding memory box, a graduation memory box, a baby memory box- if you look online you can even get them personalised and made from wood rather than cardboard so it’s totally bespoke to you and will protect your things from the elements. Retailers want you to gather all your things in one place and call it a ‘memory box’ because it makes them big bucks. While it may look attractive and serves a purpose- an elaborate box is not going to strengthen the memories you are trying to preserve within. 

MORE: Minimalism: Seven ways repetition can help you in your minimalist journey

Sometimes it can bring back painful memories: Memory boxes can be something to open at key points in your life and remember the good old times- but they can also be a source of hurt. If you currently have a memory box and find yourself pondering on your regrets, feeling sad or let down after looking through your items, this is proof in itself that it’s not working for you. A box such as this should be something you open and think of the best times in your life- yes you may cry a little- but they should be happy tears not sad ones. 

They are an excuse to live in the past: If you have a box in your home and find yourself spending a lot of time looking through the things in it- it’s possible you are stuck in the past and are finding it difficult to move on. Relationship related items are a classic example of this. If you are struggling to recognise that your partner and you are no longer- reminiscing over old photos, letters and cards is not going to help you in the present or the future. If you truly want to be future focussed, a memory box can be the anchor that is keeping you from sailing into the sunset. 

They take up room: A basic point but a true one nevertheless. If you are space saving through choice or necessity, a memory box can be a burden on your home. If it takes up a large chunk of real estate, ask yourself- is it really working for you or is it simply a place for delayed decision making. A memory box can encourage the ‘I don’t know what to do with this so I will just pop it in here and look at it later’ mentality. Perhaps this is your dumping ground for things you aren’t ready to deal with, in which case it’s not really serving you as a memory box, but is more of a catch all for things you feel uncomfortable with or about. 

You don't have to have a memory box in your home, nor do you need one despite what big companies market to you and make you believe you need. If you truly want to capture your memories in a capacity that can be passed down in a meaningful way to your family, why not write a journal about your experiences? Or take more photographs to capture the moments in life you want to remember in an easy format?

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
find me on and follow me on

Tagged in