Saving Memories From The Landfill With Your Very Own Memory Box

May 20, 2020

Interviews & Inspiration | Kristina Cassar Dowling

This is a concept that’s so close to my heart. It keeps my memories safe and reminds me of things I may have forgotten or pushed out of my memory. I’ve kept a memory box since I was about 10 or so; no one ever told me to do it; I just did. And I’ve kept it safe for 19 years now.

The strangest thing here is that my wife, Nina, started her own memory box when she was a similar age. It’s odd because it’s not really a thing; we were both kind of shocked when the other said they have a memory box too.

Why keep a memory box?

In a world where we’re constantly filtering out parts of our life and trying to reduce the amount of junk we keep, a memory box provides a safe little space where otherwise useless stuff can find a home.

We often forget about the sentimental value that inanimate objects bring; we forget that a birthday card from our parents or a school-kid note passed around in class could trigger such joy and happiness in years to come.

But are we supposed to hold on to everything we feel is valuable to us? Surely not; that my friend is how we could describe a hoarder - someone who thinks everything means something and needs to be kept in our possession. It’s not entirely the same thing.

What should you keep in your memory box?

There’s no right or wrong here - it’s totally personal and can be organised (or not) according to our own wants and needs. Since my home is constantly organised, without a single cushion or candle out of place, my memory box is 100% miscellaneous and full-on chaotic. Thank you OCD for allowing me this one organisational flaw - I really appreciate it.

In my memory box I have, old notes, my childhood dog’s tennis ball, a festival wristband, receipts from our wedding day, the key to my first car, a cute gift my niece gave me when she was a wee tot and a whole lot of other junk that anyone else would chuck straight into the bin.

But they all mean something to me.

If you think about it, our life is just a store of memories. Some good and some bad. And our priority in life should be to keep the good and look back upon them when we need a pick-me-up. Most of us do this through photography and with Instagram, their log and presentation is pretty damn awesome. So much like the way we devote time to our Insta pages, we can curate a memory box to keep the good memories close at hand. It’s a tangible keep safe if you will.

While writing this, I’m trying to figure out what possessed me to keep such a store of past events; and it might have a lot to do with the 90s TV shows I used to devour when I was a kid. So many kid TC programmes featured a step back into the past where the protagonist in the show would stumble upon something their grandad left in his study. There were even episodes where weird things were stored in a time capsule and buried underground for future generations to find. This might have been my inspiration.

It’s never too late to start a memory box, and if you think it’s silly to start collecting memories in your 30s, why not do it for your kids, nieces or nephews? What a great way to preserve the happiness of your past!