The Memory Jar: Your Personal Time Capsule for 2015

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Mason jars are SO in right now. Chances are you have at least one sitting on a shelf somewhere in your dorm. Uselessly. Or excuse me, maybe it’s holding a few paper clips. Know what you could do with that dusty piece of glass? Turn it into a memory jar—a tiny little time capsule you fill up over the course of the year. On New Year’s Day 2016, you open it up and relive all of the great memories from the past year.

Ok, so how do I make it?

First, find a container. It doesn’t have to be a glass jar—although it is cool to be able to see it filling up as the months pass—it could just as easily be a shoebox or a bowl with a lid. An old spaghetti jar or a clean Pringles can might even work.

Next, decorate it. Channel your inner crazed crafter mom and whip out that glue gun. Draw on your jar. Tape things to your jar. Become the jar. Be as crazy or as classy as you like because it’s your memory container. Just be sure to write the year somewhere so you can date it when it turns up in your closet twenty years from now.

Find the perfect place for it; somewhere where it’ll catch your eye and frequently remind you of its existence. Mine lives on my desk where I can easily toss things into it. But be sure to keep the lid on it most of the time—you don’t want to spill it!

Crafting is complete. What do I put in it?

Absolutely anything and everything that reminds you of a happy experience in 2015. I fill mine with movie stubs, football tickets, concert bracelets and other random knick-knacks that would otherwise clutter my desk. And when something particularly awesome happens but you fail to acquire a physical reminder of the event, jot down a short summary on a sticky note, date it and stuff it into the jar.

I’ve watched my friends pull feathers, leaves, marbles and poker chips out of their jars. This is very much an “anything goes” resolution—just promise yourself or your friends that you’ll put something in the jar at some point over the course of 2015.

Exactly how often do I have to put something in my jar?

That’s the best part of the memory jar; unlike pledging to go to the gym every day or resolving to write 15,000 words each week, it’s not something you have to keep up with on a regular basis. Just add a memento whenever you really want to remember a particular event or day. When you empty the jar at the end of the year, you’ll be shocked at how many random objects will come spilling out.

Alrighty, it’s 2016. What’s the protocol here?

I’ve been making memory jars with a group of my friends for the past three years. We usually end up staying awake until 6 a.m. emptying the previous year’s jars, reliving shared memories, explaining others and working on the new jars before finally collapsing.


Samantha Baselice

While memory jars are a ton of fun to make with friends, they’re also great for quietly reflecting on the past year. If you go through the contents of your jar by yourself, think about your year as a whole. How did it change you? What was your highest point of the year? Your lowest? Were there times when you had plenty to stick in the jar or times where you went a while without any spectacularly good memories? Your jar will reflect your year, your hopes and experiences. And also your inner crafter. Don’t you think it could use a little more glitter?

A Floridian learning to survive in the tundra that is the Midwest. Sophomore English major at the University of Notre Dame. Goal in life is to be a cross between Jane Goodall and Walt Disney.

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