How To Keep Memories Alive

Collect, Record, Photograph and Keep Memories Alive by Being Creative

A memory can be tricky – it can change over time, parts can be lost, and sometimes it can be totally misplaced in the brain. Start now to maintain those memories and pass them onto family members that will someday treasure your hard work.


  1. Pictures in photo albums. One of the most traditional ways is to take pictures, print them, and line them up in an album. Scrapbooking has exploded in popularity the last few years to enhance albums, but it can be expensive. Instead, find a picture album that provides a space by each picture to annotate with names, location, date, what might have been said when the picture was snapped, what you might have been feeling when you snapped the picture, and maybe even ages of your subject (especially if infants or young children).
  2. Take a picture a day. If you are like most, one day runs into another, then into another, and a month or year has passed by too quickly. Commit yourself to taking one picture a day of whatever seems important to you that day. Keep a journal of what, when, where, who, and why you were snapping that particular picture. At the end of the month, or at the end of the year, take those 365 pictures and organize them in an album with your journal. Each day will come back to you two-fold because memories will be revived of other things important to that day.
  3. Digital pictures. Digital cameras come with programs for downloading and saving your pictures. Okay, so you have all of those saved, now what? You can easily download these digital files to Shutterfly or Snapfish and get prints, then create albums as above. Or, take those digital files and create “memory books” in a CorelDraw program (check out Corel for this program). On a blank page in a CorelDraw, “import” a digital picture. This is done by right-clicking on the page, clicking on “import”, then browsing to the folder where you have saved your pictures, and opening a picture. It will appear on the CorelDraw page. Size it accordingly, then add information beside, above, or below picture to preserve the memory. Once a page or pages are completed with one or more pictures and script, print and then bind as desired. Numerous copies can be printed – then share your memories with your subjects.


  1. Vacation time. Buy one postcard for every day you are to be on vacation. Each day, on the backside of the postcard, write down what you did, where you went, how you felt, and who you were with. But don't send the postcard. At the end of the vacation, take all these cards home and make them part of your collection from other vacations – because once you start this tradition, you will continue it for years!
  2. Sending postcards. Ask your family and friends to send you a postcard or bring back one postcard from their vacation. Their memories will become your memories, and you can help them relive their great time. Find or purchase a box for storing these postcards. Then when you are feeling stuck in a rut, take a few minutes, pull out these postcards, and travel vicariously through your family and friends.

Old Photographs:

  1. Memory books. If you are computer savvy, and you must be a little if you are reading this, consider creating a memory book for family members. Take old photographs, scan each one and save individually. Then, create a similar memory book as described above. If family members in the photographs are still living, ask for their thoughts and memories on the picture and include that in the description of the picture.
  2. Quilts. Create a quilt from old photographs. Pictures can be scanned and printed on fabric, then incorporated into a quilt. Check out my article on making a memory quilt. As above, if you can get thoughts and memories from the subjects in the pictures, include some embroidery on each particular square, such as names, date and location.

The most important thing to remember is share your memories by preserving them.


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Hi Marion. You are right. Many memories are displaced in our brains. Don't worry. This will give your grandkids a hoot. I like the postcard a day idea. Will certainly try it.

By Mary Norton

Marion, great ideas, thanks. It's so easy to let days slip by and not seize important moments that you'll cherish forever. Another idea is to create a family tree, and put photos of each family member on the "tree"!

By Riley Klein

I love the idea of the photo a day - especially in regards to children and elderly relatives.. These memories will be cherished!

By Brandy Bryan