Simple Tips for Memory Planning

About a month ago I sat down with my planners at the start of social distancing and quarantine. John Michael and I just made the decision to socially isolate with my parents back down south, and my mom walked up to me.

“This is more like scrapbooking than planning,” she said.

I looked at her for a second, confused.

“I guess I never thought about that before. I have never been a crafter before, but ever since moving so far away from home, sitting down and documenting has become my favorite part of the week” I said.

Without skipping a beat my mom started to laugh, she told me that from the time I could hold a camera, I was taking pictures, making silly videos, and scrapbooking every family vacation. Apparently we have dozens of scrapbook albums in our basement.

Isn’t it funny that during times of uncertainty we are finding joy in nostalgia?

For me, that’s photos, family, and embracing the simple joys of my week. When I started memory planning back in January, I was feeling a little homesick and wanted to document the start of 2020 and a new decade. It’s now one of the things I look forward to most.

How do you plan for memories?

It seems kinda ironic. You know? Planning memories. But for the planner enthusiasts of the world, you know there is nothing better than having an excuse to spend a night with all your stickers, favorite pens, jotting down the joys of the week.

What do I use to memory plan?

Honestly, anything. Typically, it’s some sort of planner with daily blank spaces. I currently am using an Erin Condren Softbound Planner, and I love the weekly and monthly layout of it. But, I’ve also used a focused journal to plan. Additionally, there are some memory keeping specific planners like the Happy Memory Keeping Planner and the Large Memory Planner by American Crafts.

But what exactly do I put in my memory planner?

There is no right answer for this. It honestly varies from week-to-week. The most obvious are major things, vacations, dinner with friends, big life milestones. But my favorite things to jot down are the simple joys of the week.

  • Good meals I ate

  • Meaningful conversations I had

  • Funny things John Michael said or did

  • Quotes from books or articles I read

  • A good workout

  • A moment of gratitude

  • Movies or shows I watched

Everyone’s process is different. I tend to lay any borders, my photos, for the week, accent pieces, ALL the stickers and then use the white space more like a journal. No two weeks look the same.

My Memory Planning Essentials:

Some tips/tricks I have learned!

  1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I know, easier said than done. Sometimes my whole week is a series of going to work, working out, sleep, repeat. That is OK. When my weeks are especially mundane, I try and focus on one or two days or two major events of the week and make my whole memory planner spread just about that.

  2. You can print stickers on sticker paper to save some $$$. Refills for the Mini Cannon Ivy can get pricey. A trick I learned was to format the pictures you want for the week in a word document (sized to the boxes of your planner) and print it out on sticker paper. My preference is Avery Sticker paper, but you can use anything. Then I use my regular old printer and cut them out with my scissors

  3. Don’t delete your camera roll until after Sunday. I hate clutter. In my space, in my life, but especially on my phone. I am prone to deleting a photo the second I no longer need it. This has failed me on numerous occasions. I have 100% started to take more pictures because of memory planning. Simple things, really — from the sights I see on my commute to work, to screenshots of messages that made me smile. I even screenshot news articles when I find them particularly fascinating.

  4. Save items from your days. Movie tickets, birthday cards, anything! I try and pick up decal stickers when we travel to add them to my memory planner. With some adhesive rollers, you can make anything a sticker.

  5. Leave room to add. The one downside of my current memory planning system is that I am unable to add anything to it. I love the idea of being able to add playbills from shows we see, dinner menus from parties we hosted, or if I had kids — pictures they drew or assignments from school. For this reason, some binder options may be better for you.

Memory planning makes me happy. It gives me something to look forward to, and it’s fascinating to document the extraordinary – and rather ordinary – moments of life.

I hope this helps! If you memory plan, I’d love to see your spread. Make sure to tag me on Instagram or shoot me an email and tell me all about it!

If you want to hear more from me on memory planning, check out this Youtube video!

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