With the start of school, it won't be long before your child walks through the door in proud possession of yet another adorably misspelled "essay" or charmingly childish painting. You'll ooh. You'll ah. And then you will have to choose: Keep or toss?
If you keep it, you'll have to add it to your child's ever-growing pile of artifacts: the math tests; the coloring worksheets; the dubiously constructed popsicle-stick jewelry box held together with glue and love. If you toss it, you'll have to live with the nagging worry that you're discarding a precious piece of your child's youth. Which means, let's be honest, you'll probably keep it.
But if you're like me, as you strain to cram one more paper into the overstuffed plastic bin in the basement, you'll dream of a better solution. One option may be Keepy, a year-old application originally marketed as a tool to save images of children's artwork but now billed as a shareable family album — a private place to tell the story of your children's lives.
Keepy makes it easy to upload photos, video and notes, which are organized by child and by year and can be keyword-tagged for easy filtering. In addition to the app, you get a personalized Keepy Web page, which is low-frill but helpful if your network, or "fans" in Keepy-speak, includes non-smartphone users. My kids loved seeing their Keepy pages and beamed whenever their grandmother posted a comment. Their grandparents liked getting a Keepy email alert with every new post and found the website an easy way to see our mementos.
I liked that Keepy is a private network where I can announce the latest lost tooth or post silly kid videos without fear of overexposure or boring my audience (and with a Dropbox backup to ease my all-eggs-in-one basket fears). But Keepy's best feature may well be the ability to add voice memos to any item, which means you can look at a photo of your young slugger's baseball trophy and hear the story of the big game — in his voice. Fans can also leave text, audio or video comments. It's just another way Keepy one-ups the storage box.
Keepy's customer service was quick to respond the few times I encountered problems (one was user error, oops!). The only real rub is that the free plan limits users to 31 uploads a month. Those with a big family or diligent about documenting memories would have to pay for an upgrade to upload more — though they might find it worth the cost to have everything organized in a place where extended family and friends can interact.
I'm unlikely to keep up with the flood of paper headed my way, and I'm loath to let go of the original work of little hands anyway, so for me Keepy makes the most sense as a free "best of" album — to showcase the year's most memorable moments. It's a nice adjunct to — not a replacement for — those basement boxes.
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Cost: Free for 31 uploads a month; $1.99 a month for 101 uploads; $2.99 a month for unlimited uploads
Operating system: iOS, Android
Creator: Keepy Inc.
Bottom line: The free plan is a great way to start saving and sharing memories; upgrades might make sensefor big families or the highly organized.