Boxes for storing and preserving the treasures of your personal history

A box and bag lady

I’m a box and bag addict. For all my adult life I’ve been unable to throw away any halfway attractive shopping bag, or any kind of box that might be used to store something in someday.

Upon conceiving the idea to start a business called Personal Chapters to capture people’s life stories, I immediately seized on the chance to go box shopping. Personal life chapters need an appropriate storage container, right? And boy was that box shopping fun. Most hobby stores actually cater to Virgos like myself and other people who like to organize things and be creative at the same time.

I used to do the Mother Countdown when my young son stood in the Lego aisle of a popular discount store years ago. He had too many attractive sets to choose from and could not make up his mind. The tables are now turned as I spend many minutes drooling over the combination of gorgeous storage boxes at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, spurred on by a 50% off sale or a coupon.

My memoir ladies made me do it

I could point another finger of blame for my love of box shopping at the women in one of my memoir groups. They urged me to come up with an attractive storage box or boxes they could put on a shelf in the closet or under a bed. They wanted to have one place to put all their personal artifacts, from special baby toys to estate planning documents. I was more than happy to comply, and now have a growing inventory of boxes to satisfy a variety of life story storage needs.

The first box solution we put together came from the See Jane Work aisles of Office Max. It includes an aqua art box that holds our Memoir in a Binder, as well as a project envelope, pencil box and our Memoir in a Flash thumb drive. To stack on top of the art box, we have a document box in either aqua or a contrasting black, that can be used to store photos or estate planning papers. And the crowning touch is an attractive photo storage box that is just the right size to hold our Memoir in a Jar. Tie it all together with a wide elastic band, topped with an attractive ribbon, and you have one place to store all your personal artifacts.

Of course, there are variations to the initial product we call the Tower Set. I like the hot pink, polka-dot number that includes all the Personal Chapters products. And a few weeks ago I found a dynamite burlap-covered set of boxes printed in beautiful spring pastels with flowers, butterflies and stripes . . . a real girly set.

For those leaning to the more masculine and utilitarian modes of collecting personal artifacts, there’s our Complete Archival Set. This is a large Snap-n-Store box with metal handles and a metal label frame. It comes with a convenient lid and is loaded with all our products.

What to store in these pretty boxes?

The possibilities are endless. Here are some suggestions:

• Journals, scrapbooks and photo albums

• Wills, Durable Power of Attorney and other estate planning documents

• Favorite family recipes

• Award certificates and small medals

• Art work and creative projects you want to pass on to your family

• Small heirlooms, like hand work and linens

• Meaningful letters and cards from family members

• Your own written or electronically-recorded personal history

Start gathering and storing artifacts now . . .

You don’t have to indulge in the selections I’ve come up with for your personal artifacts storage container. Go stand in the aisles at your local craft or hobby store like I did. See what speaks to your soul. What looks like you or something you would treasure? What is your favorite color or design motif?

Start thinking about where you have your important papers and mementos stored.

Are they in a closet here and a box there, in the basement or the attic? Do yourself and your family a favor–collect the most important stuff in a central storage solution.

You might even decide to make your boxes a focal point in your home décor. Your visitors won’t be able to resist asking what’s inside. You can explain that a treasure map is inside . . . the pieces and parts of a life well-lived. They’ll probably want one of their own, and that will allow you to help preserve someone else’s life story.

. . . before it’s too late

The world needs this kind of Pay It Forward effort, and we need it now. Too many life stories are lost forever.

If you don’t have time to shop for your own treasure boxes, surf over to our e-commerce site at

And hey, we like box shopping so much, we’ll go after a special one just for you. Email us at

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