If you believe popular media, you’ll know that we are meant to a Marie Kondo generation (she of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up fame) of declutterers. Or at least that’s what we are meant to aspire to.
At heart, though, we are mostly a bunch of sentimental softies, hanging on to every birthday hat, every lost tooth, every favourite onesie. Even if we live in tiny inner city apartments, we find space for these treasures. Usually in a cupboard recently made empty when we secretly donated our husbands’ collection of old video games to the local Salvos.
There are some things you don’t need to feel guilty about hoarding though – here are the keepsakes you should save for your kids, for posterity, to laugh with them over when they’re grown, or just because you can’t bear to throw them away.
The outfit they wore home from the hospital
Remember the little wrinkly newborn hands sticking out of their sleeves? The cotton beanie that kept falling off because the baby hair was so silky? Maybe one of the booties got lost somewhere between the hospital and the car. This tiny outfit is the first of many firsts, and it’s a beautiful thing to save.
You’ll never see such an adorable hospital bracelet as the one that adorns a newborn’s tiny ankle. I’ll never forget mine. A match to my own bracelet, it read, “baby of Pilar”.
Newspaper from the day they were born
There will always be an online archive of news events from the day they were born, but there’s nothing quite like flipping through the pages of a real newspaper. We’re truly sorry though for babies who might be unlucky enough to have a front-page article about Donald Trump sullying their precious birthday newspaper.
A lock from a first haircut
For babies like my second, who was bald for a long time, those first wisps of hair are so hard won. It seems a shame to toss them out after the first haircut. Wrap up a few of those sweet curls in a piece of fabric and tuck them into an envelope for stroking later.
My dad still has his baby shoes, bronzed and sitting on a bookshelf in his office. We’re not even sure where you can get shoes bronzed these days, but it’s nice to keep those first baby shoes, even if it’s just to remind your son that once upon a time he was smaller than you.
First baby tooth
When your daughter is all grown up, she’ll forgive you when she finds out that the tooth fairy didn’t actually take her tooth to build a tooth castle. It was you all along, saving this precious relic of the day your child officially went from baby to Big Kid.
This only applies if the blanky hasn’t been loved until it’s threadbare and a revolting bio-hazard. Why do kids drag their blankets on the ground anyway? This and other mysteries of the universe may never be solved.
A printed photo from every year
As you upload thousands of photos of the kids to the cloud, you might wonder if anyone will actually look at this enormous photographic legacy in the future. Digital photos on your phone are nice, but sometimes an old-fashioned print is better. Once a year, take a family photo, professional or all squeezed into a mall photo booth, print it out and put it into an album you can hold in your hands.
First handwritten letter to you
Presumably it’ll say something like, “You’re the best mum a kid could ever hope for. You’re always right, and I’ll always listen carefully to everything you tell me.” Who are we kidding? We’ll settle for “I love you, Mum.”
Are you a hopeless sentimentalist? What have you saved for your kids?