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Easy DIY School Memory Box for 2024 (under $40!)

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You don’t have to break the bank to create a school memory box! We’ll explain exactly what a keepsake box is and show you practical and affordable ways to capture and preserve your child’s priceless memories.

As parents, we know how quickly our children grow up and how fast their school years pass by. From their first day of kindergarten to their graduation day, every step of their academic journey is filled with moments worth cherishing.

That’s where school memory boxes come in! They offer a great way to gather and safeguard these school memories in one special place.

The best part? You don’t need to be a professional organizer or spend a fortune to create a meaningful school memory box for your child. With some simple and creative ideas, you can make this project a labor of love that fits your busy schedule and budget.

In this post, we’ll help you through the process of crafting a school memory box that captures the essence of your child’s school years.

We’ll explore practical tips, affordable materials, and unique ways to personalize each memory box. So, whether you have one child or four like me, this project will be a rewarding and memorable experience for the whole family!

Pinterest graphic with text and photo of school memory boxes stacked on each other.

What is a school memory box?

Child's keepsake memory box with vinyl name label on carpet.

When I graduated from high school, my school work, yearbooks, and photos were scattered all over my bedroom. It took hours to go through everything and figure out what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of.

And then once I did have everything I wanted, I just threw it all in some packing boxes. To this day it sits in my basement in a totally unorganized mess. I have no idea where anything is.

I wish I had everything organized in a nice keepsake box.

School memory boxes are simple containers to store and preserve various mementos and keepsakes from your child’s school years. It serves as a tangible reminder of their educational journey, allowing you both to revisit and cherish those precious moments in the future in a nicely organized way.

The contents of a school memory box can vary depending on your preferences and what holds significance to you and your child.

It may include items such as artwork, special projects, report cards, certificates, class photos, handwritten notes, letters from teachers or friends, programs from school events, and other memorabilia that hold sentimental value.

If you want to buy a pre-made kit you’ll spend upwards of $120! No offense to moms trying to make some money, but you can DIY these boxes for much cheaper. And I’ll show you how!


To create a simple school keepsake box, you’ll need:

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. If you’ll be adding a vinyl name to the keepsake box, you’ll want to use the Cricut Maker to cut it out on the vinyl. (You can grab a link to the Canva file I used to design my kid’s names below!) Alternatively, you can purchase a name label from Etsy if you don’t have a Cricut.

Vinyl name stick on plastic box with smoother tool nearby.

2. Peel the backing off the name label and attach it to the front of the box. Use a smoothing tool (or regular credit card) to make sure the vinyl is completely attached to the box.

3. Carefully remove the sticker paper from the box, making sure the vinyl is completely adhered to the box before you peel it away.

File folders, white labels, and plastic tabs on white desk.

4. Use your label maker to create labels from the early years of preschool through all of the grades in high school for the hanging folders. If you don’t have a label maker, simply use the provided white labels and write the grades on them.

5. Add the folders to the file boxes and fill them with important school paperwork, projects, and school photos.

Hanging file folders filled with papers in plastic file box.

6. As a little extra, I have a copy of Oh The Places You’ll Go for each of my children and we have their teachers sign it every year. This is totally optional but a fun keepsake they can look back on when they’re grown.

Tips and Tricks

Two children smile while sitting behind their memory box personalized with their name.

This project can be as expensive or as affordable as you want it to be! Don’t feel like you need to add the vinyl names. I didn’t have those on my kids’ boxes until this year and it was fine. I only decided to add them to show how you can personalize the boxes.

If you have hanging folders lying around the house, grab those to use! All you’ll need to get is the box. If you do it this way, the entire project is less than $20!

You can even customize each hanging folder if you want with the school picture from the year and a sticker with info about who their teacher was.

Lots of posts talk about how this is a fun box as a parent to have so you can reminisce on your child growing up. But I plan to send the box with my children once they permanently move out of the house. That way everything is nicely organized and they can keep their momentos with them.

Some parents also mention how they choose the items that go in each folder. But this can place a big burden you as the parent to decide what’s important and what’s not. So I let my kids pick!

Throughout the year, whenever I pull papers out of their backpacks I ask them if they want to keep them for their boxes. We set aside projects, artwork, and pictures and I put them on top of their box. Then at the end of the school year, we have a nice stack of keepsakes that we can go through once more and add to their folders.

I store their boxes at the top of their closets and they only come down once a year. This keeps them easily accessible but also far enough out of reach that they aren’t tempted to get into the boxes and play with anything.


What else can I use a memory box for besides school?

There are several ways to use a memory box. The most common is to use it for school grades, but you can also use it to hold important items like:

-Pregnancy documents
-Health records
-Sports awards
-Dance photos
-Summer camp projects
-Birthday cards
-Scholarship applications

The important thing is that you have a box for each child that contains special memories for them.

How often should I add new items to the school memory box?

We add new items to the school memory box once a year, once school has gotten out for the summer. I keep a stack of their special papers on top of the box throughout the year and then we officially add them to the box once they’ve finished a grade.

How do I preserve delicate or fragile items in the memory box?

If an item is especially fragile, it’s probably not suited for the memory box. Or you might have a separate box where you can store more delicate items.

If you have a delicate piece of artwork, it’s best to place it in a plastic storage bag so it won’t get ruined over the years.

Keeping these memory boxes out of reach of your children throughout the year will also ensure that delicate items aren’t handled too often.

How can I make the most of the limited storage space for the memory box?

To make the most of the limited storage space in the plastic file boxes, you’ll need to be selective with the items you place in there. Only the most important and special items should go in the memory box. Everything else should be recycled which will help reduce clutter throughout the house!

The size of the box is also limiting for larger projects. In this case, it’s best to take photos of everything that can’t fit into the box but is still special and save it digitally. I have a cloud account that holds all of my photos. You can create folders for each child’s photos and even add specific ones for school years (like you do with the physical folders).

My children are almost done with school. Is it too late to make a memory box?

Even if your children are almost done with high school, you can still put together a memory box for them!

It’s likely that you’ve saved important school items throughout the years. Organize everything you have by grade and then place it in the corresponding folders. You’ll be glad once everything is in one place!

Create Your Own Name Labels

If you like the name labels I made, you can get a link to the Canva file to personalize it for your child! Once you enter your email to unlock the image, click on it and you’ll be taken to the file.

NOTE: Please make a copy of the file before you start editing it so everyone can use it. Thank you!

Graphic with two black and white name labels reading Ella Fay and Hudson Forest.

Want More?

If you liked this post, you’ll love these related ideas!

Your Turn

Creating a school memory box is a heartfelt endeavor that allows you to capture and preserve the precious moments from your child’s school years. It’s the best way to document to their growth, achievements, and the beautiful memories they’ve made along the way.

Whether you’re a busy mom or a parent with a tight budget, remember that the true value of a school memory box lies in the love and thoughtfulness you put into it.

I hope this post gave you lots of affordable ways to get started! Leave us a comment to know how many kids you have and what grade they are in!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay and photo of two children behind school memory boxes.