I have seen homes where memorabilia items are scattered throughout the house and resembles clutter. What to keep and what to let go is very personal. This is my personal take on the subject.
If you keep memorabilia you should look at it occasionally and bring back those good memories. If it is just historical memorabilia you might label it and put it away for your decedents. The question becomes, how much should you keep and how should you store it.
My memorabilia, except for some art work that is displayed, is stored in my guest bedroom. Once a year when I deep clean and reorganize that zone, I pull our my items and remember. I also reevaluate how much to keep. The older I get the less I feel is important.
Let’s look at some broad categories:
Artwork made by your children – I have by now very little of this. A few special pieces that I think my boys will enjoy finding – the handprints, a scout project, holiday decorations. I encourage younger parents to keep a few good pieces from each year and label the pieces. Later it is difficult to always even remember which child did the work let alone how old they were.
Cards – My personal rule on cards is that I only keep ones that have a special note inside. As I have aged, I relook at some of those notes and ask myself, “Do I want my children to read this?”. When my husband died, I kept almost every sympathy card I received. Now I am down to just a handful. The same holds true for some of the cards he gave to me throughout our marriage.
Photos – My stash of photos falls into two categories. First, I have pictures of trips and events that are personal to me. Then, I have pictures that show family members having fun or pictures that show our family history. Each year as I go through the pictures I get rid of a few more. If I can’t remember who these people are, why keep them? Those older pictures where I do recognize family and friends I label so my boys will know why these pictures were kept. I find myself throwing out near duplicates or bad pictures.
Pamphlets or brochures – These are usually from my trips. When I came back from some of my trips I had quite a few. Now I only keep ones that really have special meaning to me. I have tossed all old maps.
Ticket stubs, programs or invitations – If I kept a ticket stub or program from everything I have ever seen, it would take over a whole closet. I only keep ones where one of our family members is mentioned.
Physical items – I have found that most of the physical items I have been holding on to are in pictures. I just got rid of a silver-plated drinking vessel that my husband and I used at our wedding. I have a wonderful photo of the event and no longer need the actual vessel. The same is true of a silver-plated picture frame that help a wedding picture. I kept the picture and ditched the frame.
As I noted before, memorabilia items are very personal. I only suggest that you honor the items you have kept by organizing them and labeling them for those who will need to sort them after your demise and that you really ask yourself why you are keeping each item.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer