I have been helping many clients go through of the process of downsizing and organizing their own things or a loved one’s items and have come across rooms and rooms of memorabilia. How many times have you starting to de-clutter and re-organize a room only to be stopped by your memorabilia? You start cleaning out a pile of papers and find your 15 year old daughter’s report card from second grade and before you know it, an hour has passed and you have accomplished nothing. You know you need to do something with this memorabilia, you don’t want to toss it, but what do you do with it?
- Develop the habit of weeding through memorabilia at least yearly as opposed to waiting decades. You may be surprised how some items you thought you never could toss, you can now. Maybe the love letters from your boyfriend in the 7th grade that you have been hanging onto all these years can be tossed. How about your child’s pre-school best behavior award, do you need to keep it still and your child is 21 now? Life changes and you may feel differently about these mementos as you go through different phases of your life.
- Give your adult child his or her memorabilia and let them decide what to do with it. A common find in my world are old prom dresses, old college text books, and old school papers. Many times parents feel that they should keep John’s trophy from the 5th grade track meet because it was a great achievement for him; however, John does not care about it anymore. Let John decide what he wants to do with it!
- Instead of holding onto the large school art project or other projects that take up space and you don’t enjoy because they are in a closet, take a photo and let the art project go. You will see it more as a screen saver on your computer or as a photo in a frame on the wall or on your desk.
- T-shirts from vacations, sporting and school events, dance recitals or any other special events can be made into a memory quilt.
- You can display baby clothes, baby shoes, high school jackets a shadow box to display that time period of one’s life.
- If you have a large object, such as piano, that you really do not want to keep anymore and want to preserve the memory, video tape the person telling a story about the object. You can safely let the item go because you have a historical documentation about how you obtain it and stories related to it. Get grandchildren involved in helping their grandparents document their memories about the object.
- Donate collections to museums, historical societies, or schools. The best thing about donating is that the museum will clean it, make space for, and preserve it. You get to go visit it anytime and let another generation of people go see it!
- Transfer old slides and movies to DVD or to a hard drive on a computer to access them easier and let go of the slides.
While it can be difficult to let go of a piece of memorabilia, you always have the memory!