If you’ve lived with an active duty service member long enough, then you know that they accumulate a lot of… stuff. By a lot, I mean it could practically take up its own bin, or closet, or even its own room. If your service member is in it for the long haul (i.e. 20+ years), you know you got a lot of military memorabilia coming your way.

Here are suggestions for the 10 pieces of military memorabilia you should save.

10 Pieces of Memorabilia Military Families Should Save

1) Name Tag/Name Tape

This could be from their first or their last uniform or any one uniform in between.

2) Boot Camp Photo/Enlistment Photo

If you happen to know your service member before boot camp or before OCS or before ROTC, try to take a before and after photo.

3) Coins

More than likely, they will collect a pretty decent sized coin collection. These things are very easy to lose, so be sure to keep them in a safe spot.

4) Deployment letters (emails)

When my service member was in basic training, they didn’t have tablet or computer access so handwritten snail mail was the way to go. You could still save emails though, at least you know it won’t be lost.

5) Rank Patches/Collar Devices

Each new promotion is a significant milestone. It differs across each branch but some rank patches/collar devices are easily removable from the uniform.

6) Certificates

They get bulky but you can take them out of the folder and place them in a scrapbook like this one.

7) Cover

The cover or “hat” is a fun piece to keep, you can even have them bronzed so they keep their shape forever.

8) Awards

My husband displays the “big awards” and keeps the small ones tucked away.

9) Farewell Gifts

Some commands really go all out with the farewell gifts. I’ve seen paddles, frames, coin holders, knives, display cases, surfboards etc. Hopefully your service member comes across a generous command and he or she gets something really cool.

10) Military Ball swag

The majority of military balls or holiday parties that we have been to, have given out something practical like a glass or mug. We keep those since they have some use to them.

Debatable: Boots

The jury is out on whether or not to keep boots. On the one hand, they are significant to a service member’s career. On the other hand, they do PT in them, or are in them all day, and those boots can get pretty smell or dirty. I guess it’s a personal choice.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MSB New Media & Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.

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