Our #TreasuredMemories campaign has given us opportunity to think about what we hold dearest, and truly how devastated we’d feel if we lost our favourite photos and keepsakes. On a mission to encourage the nation to take more care of their treasured memories, our next focus is on the good old-fashioned time capsule.

Time capsules take us back to the Millennium when everyone, it seemed, was scrambling together a lifetime’s worth of treasured memories and bundling them in a container, locked and sealed for future generations to find and enjoy. However, the idea of burying or hiding a time capsule these days might be lost on younger generations, with the rise of the digital age stealing our traditional printed memories and physical keepsakes…

So why bury a time capsule?

Do you often reminiscence about your childhood or early adulthood and struggle to remember much of what life was like? It’s easy to rely on the internet for ‘fun facts from the 80s’ but it’s even better to have your own lockbox of history that you can share with family and friends – whatever the generation.

Step-by-step guide to doing your own time capsule

We’ve taken a step back to think about keeping our treasured items safe – we’ve put together this guide to show you how easy it is to create a place to store memories for years (even decades!) to come.

  1. Who is it for? Firstly, you need to decide who you want to ‘find’ your time capsule. If it’s something you want to keep in the family, then pick a date in the future for when you might want to dig it up with your children or grandchildren, or think about leaving detailed instructions for great-great-great grandchildren to find their way to it! You could even make one with your children for them to dig up when they’re grown up.
  2. Where to place? Decide where you want to put it. Traditionally, people buried time capsules in their garden or beneath a new building that was being built in the local area. This is a good option if you want strangers to stumble upon it in the future, or if you’re putting together a time capsule with a community group.
  3. Keep it secure. Choose your capsule. If you want to bury your time capsule outside, you’ll need to choose a container that’s highly resistant to water and other weather damage. You could also consider using a standard box or tub to keep indoors in the loft or other damp-free areas.
  4. What goes in it? Select your contents. This is where the fun begins! You can choose from a whole host of items to include in your time capsule. Here are some ideas – but the list could be endless!
    • Family photographs of life in the current year
    • Photos of your house, street and current car
    • A journal you’ve been keeping
    • Currency you don’t mind parting with
    • A price list of everyday items – milk, bread, electricity bill, house prices
    • Treasured memories you’ve enjoyed in the past year
    • Write a letter to your future self or family members
    • List of ‘favourites’ – songs, places, food, films, celebrities, hobbies, sports teams, fashion. You could include cinema or event tickets and maybe some food wrappers to compare with those of the future
    • Predictions for life in 50 or 100 years’ time – what will your home town look like? What will travel be like? Food? Etc.!
    • The day’s local and national newspaper
  5. Make an event! Once you’ve decided on what items to include, why not invite family and friends around and make an evening of it? It’d be a nice event to share with those dearest, and they might think of something to include which you’d forgotten about!
  6. Don’t forget about it! Make sure a few people know of the ‘open date’ if you’re keeping within the family. Perhaps make a note on your calendar at the end of each year, or place a note in your important documents folder. If you’re using a lockable box, keep the keys in a safe place or give to another family member to keep secure – also make sure you’re not the only one who knows where it’s buried or hidden! If you’re burying it outdoors, make a note of the GPS coordinates and take photos of the location. Share these with your trusted ‘safe keepers’ and even set a reminder for your calendar or email about the location.
  7. Seal the time capsule! Now it’s time to secure the contents of your time capsule. Place some silica gel bags inside the container to avoid moisture damage and be sure to properly weatherproof the container with sturdy plastic bags or thick sheets of plastic before you bury it. Or if you’re keeping it indoors, place the container in a plastic box and pop in the attic or other storage area – just don’t forget where it is!

Once your time capsule is safe and secure you can get on with life until it’s time to reveal it again – just imagine what future generations will think when they stumble across it during an excavation!

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