I have a question for you. Do you hold on to your memories? It could be cards from past partners, your child’s first blanket, your grandfather’s hat, perhaps even more valuable heirlooms. If, like me, you enjoy looking back at times gone by, it can be quite overwhelming, both emotionally and occasionally physically too.
But sometimes you might feel like they’re taking up too much space in your home; they’ve become unmanageable and need sorting through without any regrets. Sound familiar?
Here are some of my tips on how you can decide what to keep, how to store it, and what to get rid of.
Approach it Carefully
There’s no need to rush into it. This isn’t like regular de-cluttering. This is more personal and emotional than that, and so, it needs to be approached carefully. In other words, don’t expect it to get done quickly.
Set some time aside once a week to tackle one box (or drawer, or whatever) at a time. Don’t overdo it, and if you feel like you’re getting upset, just enjoy the memory and leave it for another time.
Try not to get sucked into simply working your way through your keepsakes soaking up the memories, and try to focus on these questions:
How much room do you have for keepsakes?
Your aim is to whittle your keepsakes down to one box, or one beautifully styled vintage suitcase. Keep this in mind while you look through your keepsakes.
Is it your memory, or someone else’s?
Things like the invitation from your best friend’s wedding or the programs from your niece’s budding theatre career can go straight away. These aren’t yours to keep, as ruthless as it may sound.
Does it need to be stored securely?
If, on the other hand, you have items that are particularly valuable to you, then consider storing them more securely. A jewellery safe, for example, could provide protection from loss or damage in an affordable way, while a bigger safecould comfortably secure most of the items you’re looking to put in safekeeping.
Does it make you feel good?
Your keepsakes shouldn’t be associated with negative emotions. If a photo of you as a teenager makes you feel bad, then perhaps it shouldn’t make the cut.
Was it inherited?
These items once belonged to someone close to you, and now they’re yours. If you want to get rid, then there’s no need to feel guilty. The person who gave them to you would not want you to keep something you don’t like. Something like a tea set can be sold or passed on to another relative who wants it. Or if you don’t feel like you can part with all of it, keep a teacup and saucer and donate the rest.
How old is it?
Things like gig tickets, birthday cards and invitations can be kept for a while, but they don’t need to be kept forever, unless it is a reminder of a particularly spectacular event.
Can it go on display?
Most keepsakes aren’t valuable to anyone else, so it could be the perfect way to honour that memory and make use of that keepsake. You could create a shadow box dedicated to that particular occasion; it could get hung on the wall as is, or it could feature in a charming vignette on the console.
Some of my most loved keepsakes are on prominent display in our house. That way they are safe, they are honored and I can look at them to my heart's delight! What about yours?
Lot's of love