How to Make Memory Binders

An inexpensive way to make a scrapbook for your child’s school memories or achievements: How to make memory binders (Costco binders and sheet protectors).

Friends, looking for a way to preserve your kids’ memories or keepsakes?

Since about 2000, I have saved my kid’s “memories” in binders, filled with everything from school pictures, certificates, special, art, poetry, awards, report cards, our family Christmas card and letter … the list goes on and on.

How to Make Memory Binders

This post gives you a list of easy supplies to buy to make your own books. It’s also a great idea for recipes or anything you want to preserve.

When you’re not crazy about scrapbooking, then this is for you!

It’s something tangible, with easy access for both us and for our kids’ enjoyment. (I thumbed through my oldest son’s book one year ago as we sent him off to college, and found a very sentimental letter. I try to fill the books with anything memorable that will be fun for the kids to look at as they get older.)

That’s when I posted several years back about making easy, very inexpensive Memory Binders for your kids.

-Heidi wrote me last week and sent me a picture of her books, and I love how she organized them by her kids’ ages

-My books are organized by my kids’ school years.

-Either way, I’m linking to my original post, but here are the simple supplies that you will need.

Supplies needed to create a Memory Binder

  • 2″ white binders from Costco (4 in a pack)
  • Scrapbook paper (or plain colored paper)
  • 1 box sheet protectors

Starting with Pre-K, I have saved art, special memories, class pictures, sports awards, first book report, every report card, articles their dad has written – you name it, and have filed these papers into these books.

Here are more ideas of what goes in the binder!

ENJOY getting organized!

This is a repost from Sept. 2011

142 comments on “How to Make Memory Binders”

  1. Love the look of the notebooks. My kids are grown – wonder if I could find some other reason to create such cool looking binders. I could definitely use the most clutter rehab in the area of paper control.

  2. I think I am a border-line hoarder…well at least my husband thinks so :) but seriously, it seems like being able to get rid of things and minimizing is the biggest issue I face. I always think I might “need” it later…but later is usually the next time I’m cleaning. Thank you for the advice on the binders, great ideas!

  3. I really need help with paper clutter. Where does it all come from?!? The binders are great for the kids, love this idea.

  4. I definitely know that organizing my kids’ art, certificates, pictures, etc…is where I need the biggest help. I know my house could use a good going over and a lot of de cluttering. Thanks for posting!

  5. As a homeschooling mom I could really use help keeping all of our school stuff organized. Seems like we are always over run by books and papers and projects.

  6. I am constantly trying to get organized but never really seem to get there. I homeschool five kids so I guess that’s the biggest area I need to keep organized. I could use it in all aspects of my life!!!

  7. I need help with organization in my desk drawers in particular, but generally in any area where there is a lot of little items running around (my jewelry, for example).

  8. We use binders for the kids, too! Our area of greatest need for organizing is the home office. We find storing all the extra school and office supplies difficult.

  9. I love this idea! I am currently in the process of going back through my kids papers (they are now 17 and 21) since we are finishing our basement and I need to declutter. I have used smaller document boxes for their sports and awards, but for everyday papers from school and report cards this would be great!!

  10. I need help getting all my photos in the old fashioned scrapbooks. Minimalism has helped my housekeeping immensely. Get rid of stuff!

  11. I need help organizing EVERYWHERE, but if I had to pick one it would be our garage. We literally can’t even fit a car in there :( And now, with a baby on the way, I am feeling more urgency to get our place in order. I’m desperate! Pick me!

  12. I love this idea! I really need help organizing my home office. I have a home-based business, so I need to be organized! Thanks for the giveaway! I love your blog!

  13. I liked you on FB!

  14. I could use ideas for organizing my pantry and laundry room/closet. I buy in bulk and it is sometimes hard to make it look nice and organized!

  15. I need help with paper clutter. Paper seems to be coming out of my ears no matter what I do!

  16. EVERYHING!!! I have 4 kids 6 and under. i have finally completed my 2nd child’s 1st year photo album (still haven’t done 1st child’s). i have only ever converted one tape to dvd (we have the mini tapes, so you can’t actually watch them until they get put on dvd). my toy closet is a mess (where we put toys after 1 kid grows out of them to be saved for the next kid). my boxes of too small, too big, consign, donate…clothes is a mess! and on and on!!!

  17. I need help with daily stuff, like mail organization — it ends up piling up and getting put in different places and sometimes lost….. :o( Even if I have a central location it seems to end up like that — we just moved so I’m hoping to get a fresh start on clutter rehab — I’m learning (slowly but surely) to give and throw more away! yay! Thanks so much!

  18. I would have to the sentimental stuff…

  19. What Heather said! Oh, and basement. Basement, basement, basement. I’m not entering to win a copy, I’m just commenting. I went right online with Chapters.Indigo and ordered it. :-D See how desperate I am?

    BTW, Sandy. Your peach cobbler recipe is in the oven (for a Saturday BBQ) as I type. I threw some blueberries in this time. The aroma is killing me. I must run downstairs and boogie for a while. Cheers!

  20. I love love love this! I have been storing all these wonderful thingg for years in a huge plastic tupperware box and stressing about how to get them into a scrapbook. You are my answer! I am going to do this myself. I will have to feature you on my blog! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  21. While paper–including kids’ school paper–is a problem, my biggest problem at the moment is figuring out a laundry system that works for me.

  22. i need help de-cluttering!!! cupboards, laundry room, closets … argh. it feels so good when i do it but i need a plan and some inspiration :)

  23. I need help organizing my closets and garage and all the photos! Thank you!!

  24. Already “liked” you on FB. :)

  25. I struggle with organizing my kids artwork. What do you do with things that are too big for a binder but you still want to keep? Right now, everything is in a bin.

  26. I need a better way to organize my kitchen “excess.” I live in an apartment with 6 cabinets, 2 drawers, and no pantry, so the extra kitchen appliances and food that one fit in the cabinets are all in odd places.

  27. I need the most organization help with my desk!! I work from home, so I end up with piles upon piles of paper…things to look at later, things I want to save, things I’m working on, etc.

  28. I need help with paper. It’s everywhere and my daughter hasn’t even started school. I know it’s only going to get worse! Thanks for the giveaway!

  29. I need help with organizing my kids art work, letters, etc. This binder idea is perfect for what im looking for! Im in the middle of a complete overhaul on our home and could desperately use this book!

  30. I need help organizing my papers and my kids toys.

  31. I liked you on FB.

  32. I homeschool my 2nd grader, work part-time and tutor for my homeschool group and I also have an extremely active 2 year old. My biggest need is organizing paper & homeschool stuff, but I sure would like some ideas to declutter & make household management easier & less time-consuming (since time is something I don’t much of!)…..

  33. I need help, mostly in my home office. Thanks.

  34. I need help organizing recipes and cookbooks, and suggestions would be helpful

  35. The area in which I need the greatest amount of help is my basement. It looks like something off the television show “Horders”! It is a horrendous mess! I have everything downstairs from holiday decorations to my childrens clothes that I want to make into a quilt (they are 21 and 19) I hate to even venture to the basement to do laundry. HELP

  36. I have 6 kids (today is my quadruplet’s 15th birthday, a 12 yr old and a 6 yr old). We get overwhelmed easily with all the paper clutter, and finding a place for everything in our 1500 sq ft home…as the kids get bigger, the house gets smaller! Love the binder idea, all of their school stuff and memories items are in bins in the garage, and pictures from back to when the quads were babies are in pictures boxes (newer ones on the computer). They love going to grandma’s, because she actually had time to put all their pics in albums. Would love a copy of the book…sound concise and to the point…just what I need. “Liked” you on FB as well.
    Thanks for your consideration!

  37. I need help organizing household papers. I used to be good at household files before the 3 kids, age 5, age 4 and age 2. However, I have not filed papers in 4 years and it is just one HUGE stack inside of a file drawer so my husband doesn’t see it. He would FREAK! It takes forever to find anything we need and around tax time its horrible.

  38. Oh your Memory books look so neat and organized. How nice. My biggest organizational problem is my office/homeschool area. Things get so out of hand so quickly.
    Have a great day Sandy!

  39. I am already “liking” your FB page.

  40. I have a hard time keeping my desk tidy. I don’t really use it as a desk because it is so cluttered. It’s more of a landing zone for mail, coupons, etc.

  41. Just “liked” RE on facebook. Don’t have twitter so I won’t be doing that one.

  42. We are going paperless/digital, so right now I need help with all the paperwork. Just finding the time to get through it all, deciding what to keep, where to keep it, how to name/ file it, etc., not to mention making everything accessible and having a back-up of it all. It’s quite daunting when you’re just getting started, but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end. Right?

  43. AND I just “liked” RE on FB, too. I’m a little surprised I hadn’t run across your page before now b/c I actually do like it. Thanks!

  44. I need help organizing my spare room that is supposed to function as a office/playroom/guest room. It’s a dumping ground for all “pending” and misplaced items. It looks like something from the show hoarders!

  45. I “Like” Reluctant Entertainer

  46. I need the most help organizing the mass of clothes that come with my family of 5. Laundry, hand-me-downs, limited closet space, etc.

  47. I am so glad I found you.. I liked you on facebook to get more ideas.. The place I need help organizing is my spare room with all the craft supplies, video games, extra blankets, pillows, and all “stuff” that doesn’t have a regular home…

  48. Organizing pictures was one of the 1st things that came to mind! Definitely need some help there…

  49. Paper clutter. I hate to throw it out – I just *know* I’ll need it at a later date.

    Already like RE on fb!

  50. I could really use help organizing all the kids keepsake stuff they make at home and at school. Trying to determine what is important enough to keep and what I can throw out can be tough.

  51. Love this idea. I have issues with all this sentimental stuff. I am pretty good about getting rid of things but have no idea of what to do with the stuff I keep! These binders are fabulous.

  52. I need help with organizing all of the organizational, clutter controlling tips I find on the internet and never seem to have the time to implement!! Would love to be able to read “Clutter Rehab” for more inspiration!

  53. I need to get our atic under control! It is just too easy to throw stuff up there when we want to get it out of the way!

  54. What a great idea! I tried keeping all of my son’s work in notebooks but by 2nd grade the task was so overwhelming that I stopped. I think I could do “memories” of each year though. I am mostly in need of help in organizing my sewing/crafty things. We have a mobile home with very little storage space so I don’t really have a sewing area. Just things stashed here and there wherever they fit in. So need to get this organized. . .would be nice to see the kitchen table again;-)

  55. I lke you on Facebook;-)

  56. Love the binder idea! Thanks!! I need the most help in organizing shoes and outdoor gear.. with 2 munchkins under 5 we have a LOT of shoes, boots, coats, hats, etc.. etc…

  57. I need help organizing my husband. He has a tough time putting things back where he got them. Hmmmm

  58. My spare bedroom closet… It still has untouched boxes from when we moved into our condo more than 3 years ago. If I win, I hope this book comes with some motivation!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  59. Love this idea! I’m not a scrapbooker (and feel terribly guilty about it), but this seems like something I could handle!!!

  60. I tweeted.
    I need help with using my time wisely when I organize I seem to get sidetracked easily….so I guess you could say I also have a focus problem. ; (

  61. I need help in my office and the kids playroom! So excited I found your blog and the memory books. Thanks for the giveaway!

    I LIKED RE on FB too :-)

  62. I need more motivation to continue what I’ve started. Usually I will have the initial drive to organize my pantry, kitchen cabinets, living room, etc. but when I notice later on that the system I’m using doesn’t seem to work, I get bummed and spiral down into mediocrity. I know I can do more with organizing my house but I need practical helps and internal motivation to stay on the course. I want to learn more from the Clutter Rehab book. (By the way, I also “Liked” RE on facebook.)

  63. Oh boy…let’s see. The mail situation is pretty bad around here. And the TOYS. I have three girls (ages 5, 2, &1)…and if it is pink, sold in a toy store, or given away in a “happy meal”, then we own it. What do I do with all of these toys?!

  64. I love your Idea! When I stumbled on this today it gave me ah moment! Thank you so much…Papers are always a problem which I would love some advises!The best course of action is starting….but with the binders you have some motivation to0! Thanks so glad you were linked to Laura at Thanks to you both I will have a little more motivation today!

  65. In what area do I not need help with organization! I have 3 little boys (ages 5, 2 and 1) and one very active husband (tennis coach). And…I work a full time job. I’ve loved the idea of the binders and have intended to do it for some time now. But the toys are where we need the most help with organization.

  66. I have all kinds of glassware that I use for decorating for different occasions and seasons. I have yet to find a good way to keep it organized so that I can see what I have and/or use some of it at the appropriate time. I would appreciate any advice!!

  67. I’m a little sentimental and keep way more than I should. I guess “cleaning” up, and down sizing my collections are hard to keep in check.

  68. Yes without a doubt, Reluctant Entertainer is FB “liked”. I’m always finding something new to ponder. Good stuff!

  69. My biggest challenge is paper clutter. I would love some ideas.

  70. I am struggling with my whole house. I have found that since I have gone on to shift work that things are just getting out of hand and I am starting to feel very down about it. I would love to get my hands on a copy on a book to see the different ideas presented. (liked and retweeted)

  71. I liked the FB page
    I need this book, because I am a full time shift worker and single mother, and I sometimes feel overwhelmed with life’s demands. I find that the advice is helping me learn how to use my time more effectively and improve the quality of my life.

  72. My biggest challenge is toys! We have four kids and their toys have taken over the house!

  73. Ummmm… whole house needs help! My pantry needs some serious organization along with the laundry room. And my kids toys…..YIKES! This book would be wonderful :)

  74. I love this idea – I definitely have to do something with the paper clutter.

  75. My children are all married now, but I have their boxes of memorabilia. I have begun to pass them on to them, they do love going through their boxes and remembering. I need help with magazines & paperwork. Thanks!

  76. I now have a serious case of binder lust. :-)

  77. Paper clutter is my biggest downfall, I’m slowly unearthing my desk today :-) BTW, I bookmarked your original post about these binders, I always thought this was such a great way to keep mementos under control (I love Laura’s idea of designating a limited space, if it doesn’t fit, purge to make room.) My oldest started Kindergarten this year and I bought my first binder and sleeves while school shopping to get started. Thanks!

  78. I also follow you on FB.

  79. I really need to organize my “dump spot” where we come in the house.

  80. The question would be what area Don’t I need organization in! Help. I could put this information to good use. I especially have a hard time giving up anything of sentimental value.

  81. Well i would have said kids memorabilia (for which i currently use labelled underbed storage bins to put away the best bits (it fits all sizes)), but now I will look at the memory binder post and see if I can make that happen before the end of this year.

    have retweeted this as well (i am @findyoursimple)

  82. I need help with organizing my craft supplies! It’s pretty bad…looks like a Hobby Lobby exploded in our guest room. :s Great Giveaway!

  83. My crazy area right now is the basement. It’s unfinished so we have one side set up for laundry, a corner for my “office” and one wall that creates a play room for legos and kid games. It just ends up being my dump zone… ugh.

  84. First of all, love your blog, I just found it via pinterest. Second, I love this kid memory book, especially since I have scrapbooking guilt since I do not like it at all.-lol. I would say I need organization in all areas. Within the past 3 years I have gone from spontaneous college wife to two kids, new home, & living in hotels for the past 6 months, half the time on the East coast & the other half on the West coast from our last transfer (military family). Needless to say I am getting there, and recently made a home management binder that has helped a lot.

  85. I need help with the kid keepsake items. I love your ideas and will be trying them!!

  86. Love the notebooks! I have one for my oldest who did pre-K last year and need to start new ones this year. My problem is we actually have 3 preschoolers that all bring home 5-10 pieces of paper every day from school and even on Sunday usually bring home 3 pieces of art/paper. I end up throwing most of it away because it is just SO MUCH PAPER. But every afternoon when we get home my kitchen counters look awful until I can get it all sorted out.

  87. I need help with my office/craft room. We moved this past weekend (from an RV to a house) and that’s the one I’m working on now. We got 2 units of 9 cubes each as well as baskets to fit them. I am an avid sewer and beader and need lots of storage.

    I liked on FB and tweeted also!

  88. I need help with paper clutter and magazines! I also “liked” on FB!

  89. I need help organizing my incoming mail. I have a place for it but to me it still looks messy. Somehow it always spills over on to my desk and travels to my kitchen.

  90. In what area do you need help with organization?
    It’s definitely the kitchen bench!!Random stuff just accumulates there… oh to have a clear kitchen bench to actually COOK on!!! ;-)

  91. liked your FB Page && posted this:
    “Hi RE!!! Love the Memory Binders, as a Mother of 6 && counting I’m really hoping to WIN a copy of Clutter Rehab from your contest, thanks for the opporunity!!!
    XoXo~Bless Up Always~XoXo”

  92. retweeted your request for extra entry on my twitter (m_blessings)
    XoXo~Bless Up Always~XoXo

  93. “In what area do you need help with organization?”

    As a mother of 6 kids and counting I need help in EVERY area, lol!!! Seriously though, there are a few that are beyond what I can do alone. Those areas are digital media (documents and photographs), hard copy docs (finanical, legal, medical, && kids stuff), and storage things (craft stuff, holiday itmes, && organizing saved clothing)… I could continue the list but those are the areas that are in extreme choas for the mere quanity of things I have per category!!! *sigh*

    Thank you for the opportunity to “WIN” a book!!!

    XoXo~Bless Up Always~XoXo

    Mercy of MB_WOO.MOM

  94. Cool! I wish I had done memory binders but I didn’t and sadly haven’t kept much . I think I struggle the most with Paper clutter (filing, etc..). I think I’m organized, and then I realize I’m really not.

  95. ps. I also follwed “@SandyCoughlinRE ” on Twitter… look forward to reading your tweets; we LUV entertaining but rarely do because of “the mess” we have going on – it seems you site might be pretty influencial for us!!! thanks again!!!
    XoXo~Bless Up Always~XoXo
    Mercy of MB_WOO.MOM

  96. The area of organization I need the most help with is PAPER! Thanks for the great giveaway.


  97. I would love to be entered in the giveaway for the organizing book! The area of organizing I have trouble with: my photos…married 40 years…hundreds, no, thousands of photos!

  98. I love living in small spaces, but need help taming the paper tiger and limiting sentimental items.

  99. i need help organizing all my old photos, papers, and memorabilia…

  100. I need help organizing my home office. I have a beautiful space with tons of room to organize, but the top of my desk looks like a disaster. There are piles every where and I can not find something when I need it. Right now I’m typing over a pile of paid bills.

  101. I need help with clutter in every aspect….HELP!!!!

  102. I need help with organizing my office desk…no matter what I do, it always seems to get out of control. Then I want to throw out everything, which is not very good :)
    Thanks for the chance Sandy.

  103. I could definitely use some help with my kids’ paperwork. It’s hard for me Toledo it under control. I’ll be trying the memory binders!

  104. and I like your page on FB.

  105. I could definitely use the most clutter rehab in the area of paper control. My kids are older – wish I would have seen this idea years ago. Thank you for the giveaway!

  106. I have a bit of hoarding tendancies coupled with a lack of functional storage makes my house super cluttered!

  107. I definitely need help in the office area. It is a mess.

  108. Love this idea. I hit “like” on your Facebook page. I have the most trouble with organizing paperwork and photos. I don’t really scrapbook either, and I have tons of old photos to organize. I just don’t know where to start!

  109. I need help with boxes of *special memories* of my (now adult) kids. Uh-oh, the boxes are starting to fill with the grandchildren’s things now! ;-)

  110. I need help in organizing ALL the papers we seem to accumulate and our garage looks like a tornado hit it!

  111. I need help with all the kitchen “stuff” that we seem to need, but sometimes, maybe rarely use

  112. I am buying more books than I have space for-this is where I need help. :-) I have a kindle on my phone and you should see all the books I have been collecting there too. LOL

  113. Papers, papers, papers!
    Too many seasonal decorating items!!! But I love them all.

  114. I follow Organized Junkie too!

  115. Books. We have books for different aspects of our lives, and most of them we need to keep for counseling and such, but all of the organization techniques I ever see are either for people who have space to dedicate a room or large area to their library, or for those who have maybe 25 books in their entire house. Help!

  116. I need help with my photos. I have some in books but I have boxes and envelopes and stray pictures everywhere. It would be great to have them organized in some way.

  117. The binder system is such a great idea. I’m already at a loss for what to do with my toddler’s artwork. My biggest clutter problem is our home office.

  118. My photographs!!! they are collecting in a box….and online!!

  119. organizing my kids art and craft cupboard! it’s always a mess! loved your idea sandy – it saved the day and i am ULTRA organzied with the binders as i head in to the school year. OH! and the other thing i need help organzinig are PHOTOS. again – i hate scrapbooking but what am i to do with those files and files and files of years and years of photos? i’m thinking of the costco photo books – one per year. ugh. photos are like a weight on my shoulders….what have you done over the years since I’m CERTAIN you have gobs of photos of those loves of yours

  120. Paper seems to be a common theme! It’s true for me too. Bills, receipts, my kids’ school papers! It’s all too much.

  121. I also liked your FB page.

  122. I just liked org junkie on FB.

  123. I need help with my kids’ keepsakes.

  124. So many areas of clutter I’m afraid… but organizing all the arts and craft supplies would have to be the first priority.

  125. I need help with getting our house ready to put on the market for selling soon – clutter free but able to find what we need quickly!

  126. Tweeted this @HomesatHelper

  127. Tweeted this @BelindasBuzz

  128. Tweeted this @TheHsOrganizer

  129. I would love to win this book, because I think I’ve got half my organising problem sorted. Outside the house is great. It’s now the inside I have to deal with.

  130. I would love to win this book as I feel it will help me finish organising my life. I’m halfway there. The outside is great. Now I just need to focus on the inside.

    PS: I’ve also liked on Facebook.

  131. i need organization with my kitchen as I have spices and panty items all over the place

  132. like Reluctant Entertainer on facebook

  133. Like “Org Junkie’s” on facebook

  134. Oh my goodness, is there an area I don’t need help organizing with?? LOL! I think I would need help especially in the time management department!

  135. Hi, I seemed to have missed the winner announcement… can anybody point me to it? Thanks! Mercy of Merciful Blessings

  136. Great, thanks!!! And CONGRATS to Amanda, Mrs. Bennet, & Kimba!!!
    Mercy of MB_WOO.MOM

  137. Please don’t store the kids artwork! Take a picture of your child holding the artwork. Hang it on the fridge with magnets and take another picture. Get creative, use the “letter” magnets to put the date and age of your child above or below the artwork. Or in the case of a clay sculpture, or cardboard building, etc. place it on a white poster board on a table and then take a picture. Then upload the photos to a “photobook creating” website. This would also work on other mementos that you need to purge. Be faithful about uploading them. Ask yourself, do I want to lose the photos if my computer crashes? It only take a few minutes.
    I’ve also scanned in my important papers like birth certificates, marriage and divorce papers, my high school diploma, title to vehicles, etc.
    I have all these on one website and though I have never created one of their books, I know I have the memories in a safe place and when I have the time and the money (when the kids are grown, lol) I can have fun turning all these photos into cool books for myself and gifts for them when they are adults.
    Hope this helps!

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