Preserving Memories: My 2016 Memory Jar


Hey y’all! Happy New Year!

The last time I published a post, I shared my memories of 2015 through photographs. I did not realize how adventurous my year had been until I dug up all of my pictures from 2015, but it felt great to see how much I actually lived (and enjoyed) my life. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by amazing people while making my way around New York City, and pictures helped me appreciate how fantastic my year really had been.

However, aside from reminiscing through photography, I did do one other thing to preserve my memories from 2015: I wrote.

Typical me writing about how great everything was. I know. But, I’m not talking about keeping a journal or blogging (even though I did do both). What I’m talking about is something that is a bit more complex, but less time consuming. I’m talking about a way to keep those small, more intimate memories that are so easily forgotten because they seem unimportant. 

I never realized how significant small memories were until I began to forget. It was sad, really. While my friends and family members laughed about funny past experiences, I tried to recall if the events had even occurred. And it was unfair. If one is present during a great moment, then they should be able to talk about it in the future, right? Well, the entire purpose of what I am about to show you all is to help preserve those memories for an entire lifetime.

About four years ago, I decided that I no longer wanted to be left out of the picture when it came to discussing my past. So, I began to collect my “trivial” moments in a jar. A memory jar, to be exact. Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

How exactly does it work? Well, it’s exactly how you think it works. Starting New Years Day, the jar—an empty glass container that had been overflowing with small papers a few hours before—sits on a bookshelf waiting to be filled again. My sister and I decided to create a memory jar because we thought it would be a great thing to bond over. And it was. We’ve been doing it for a while now, so I thought it’d be great to share my very first (sort-of) DIY with you all!

Let’s get started!


  • A container (it can be a mason/glass jar, a wooden box, a tin can, or anything that can hold small papers)
  • Something to write with (my sister and I have a coffee mug filled with writing utensils, ranging from markers and highlighters, to pens and pencils) 
  • Something to write on (we use colored Post-it Notes, but you can use any type of paper)
  • Decorations to decorate your memory jar (we don’t decorate it, but you can make your jar as cute as you’d like)

Once you’ve gathered your materials/decorated your jar, you can actually get started! Pretty easy, right? Just pick up a pen and a piece of paper, scribble down a memorable moment from your day (we put the date on the top, but it’s up to you if you want to do that), fold it, and place it in the jar. Then, on New Years Eve, you can open it back up and read all about how you tripped your sister in public, or about the great brownie you had on your day out (I’ve done it. Don’t judge me).

Here are some helpful tips/suggestions to get you started:

  • If someone else will be contributing to the jar, you can try color coding your papers/Post-it Notes to distinguish the memories. My sister and I did not do it like that, but now that I think about it, it’s a pretty good idea.
  • Invite other people to contribute to your jar! If a friend/family member was with you when you made a great memory, why not let them write about how they felt? We had some contributors in 2015:
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We did it! We graduated! A big thanks to my friend who wrote this. You know who you are.
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An adorable Scottish girl we know was excited about visiting an amusement park. The adjectives express positive thoughts, and we like that kind of vibe.
  • If you want, depending on the size of your jar, you can place some items that have memories attached to them inside (small trinkets, keychains you’ve bought, small gifts other people have given you, etc). A good friend of mine went to Italy in 2013, and brought me back a mask. It was beautiful, and I haven’t taken it out since:
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I took this picture at the end of 2013. The mask is still in there to this day.
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I also keep this paper crane in my jar. A friend of mine also made it in 2013 (for no apparent reason—she just likes making cranes), but I kept it because I thought it was great. It’s been in my jar ever since.
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  • KEEP YOUR MEMORIES. All of them. From every year. I’ve kept mine since 2012 (I keep all of my Post-it Notes in the red suitcase you see in the background of my 2013 picture). It’s nice to see how much you have evolved as a person, and it’s good to reflect.

Since I have shared the basic premise of the jar, I thought it’d be nice to get a bit more personal and share some of my memories from 2015 as well. Of course, not all of my memories have been positive ones. But, most of them were, and it was so fun to read them all with my sister on New Years Eve.

Here are a few that I picked out:

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Thank you little sister. As if it weren’t already obvious.
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Didn’t happen. Nope.
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I laughed out loud when I read this one. Yes, you’re smart. Congratulations.

My sister’s One Direction memories (there were about 20 of these, and I picked out a few):

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These were countdown memories. My sister got floor tickets to see One Direction live at MetLife Stadium, and well yeah. Sigh. Crazy little girl.
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“Happy Halloween or whatever”

Here’s a collage (the white paper is the back of my Shake Shack receipt. It was my first time trying Shake Shack, and I fell in love):

Shoutout to my high school AP Literature teacher for making us pick a poem. Bukowski is the man:

My sister. Her memories were the best, honestly:

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She wants to die. Not worried at all.
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The left is my sister acknowledging her failure. The right is me letting everyone know that she did indeed pass. And that she did indeed cry. Oh, and that I graduated high school. No big deal.

(She is aggressive)

Here are some more of my (less) hostile memories:

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YAY! Look at that college countdown though.
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She loved it!

Well, that’s that. I hope you all enjoyed reading about my year on (ugly colored) Post-it Notes. I should really get some new ones.

Many of my friends have already seen my memory jar, and they have taken an interest in it. I hope some of y’all decide to follow through with it as well, because it honestly is great to look back on those small (yet powerful) moments of your life. My jar has played an integral role in self-reflection, and I promise that it will be worth it in the long run.




In all honesty though, it was a great experience. And I would like to give a huge shoutout to Dalia Mogahed for discussing Islamophobia in America, and the huge obstacles Muslims (Muslim women in particular) face in our society.

Here’s here Wikipedia page (go and learn more about her. She’s fantastic): Wiki





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