Edit Keepsakes With Confidence — Things to Let Go and Things to Keep

Do you understand how much space your keepsakes take up? If you had to leave your home quickly, could you find your most treasured (nonliving) possessions inside a couple of minutes? And what about the family members that will one day inherit all this stuff: Will it feel like a boon to them or a weight?

When you’ve got a basement, a garage or an attic (and maybe a storage device, also) filled with boxes of stuff, you are not alone. It’s a lot easier to hold on to something than allow it to go. But the reality is, things have to go sometime — why not start making those decisions now, in front of a fire, a flood or prospective relatives make them for you? You are able to take charge of your stuff, and your entire life story.

Here you’ll find out how to decide what’s worth keeping for all time and what isn’t.

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Begin box by box. It’s emotionally draining work sorting through keepsakes, so don’t push yourself to carry more than you can handle. This is not the same thing as going on a clutter-busting spree — some of the things you’ll be looking at may call up memories of people and experiences you have not thought about for several decades. You may cry, get mad or get the urge to call up an old buddy. In other words, don’t march down to a own storage device bright and early on Saturday morning and expect to experience the whole thing by the end of the weekend. Pick one box up and proceed through it piece by piece, in your leisure. If it is done (and only then), go get the following.

Corynne Pless

I find it really helps to pick several categories of stuff which you can devote to completely doing away with. This saves a whole lot of debilitating, piece-by-piece decision making that can bog you down. Following are a couple of categories to consider tossing.

What to Let Go

Other people’s opinions. The program in your sister’s high school graduation, favors from your friend’s wedding, a pressed flower from your niece’s baptism. Release yourself from the burden of maintaining others’ memories.

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Short-term saves. Some things, like birthday cards, event invitations and programs, are fine to keep around for a while. Looking at your own cards lined up on the mantel or glued into your bulletin board following a birthday dinner can be a nice reminder of the men and women who adore you, and a friend’s fairly wedding invite can look beautiful in your own bulletin board. But you don’t have to keep them all eternally.

Freebies. Swag from conventions, wedding favors and workplace giveaways have no business taking up valuable space alongside accurate keepsakes. Make a mental note to kindly turn down freebies the next time they’re provided to you, if you don’t really want them. So often we choose something simply because it’s totally free!

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Once you proceed beyond these initial categories of stuff (other people’s memories, short-term conserves, freebies), it will get a little more complex. At any point in the procedure, if you’re having difficulty letting go of something which you want to forego, set it in a separate bin or heap.

Don’t fret too much about just how big the heap gets; those are tough choices to make, and you can not get something back after it has gone. The goal isn’t simply to eliminate stuff but to feel great about your own decisions. You’ll be dealing with this heap, so it is not a cop-out; it is just buying you a time.

What to Consider Allowing Go Next

Oversize mementos. Sports decorations and large college jobs come to mind, but maybe you’ve got some other bulky things taking up space in your storage space. If something is too big to fit in a document box, give some serious thought as to whether it’s well worth keeping. A photograph of this sport event, awards ceremony or science fair will take up far less space, and will probably feel more meaningful down the road anyway.

Adrienne DeRosa

Negative keepsakes. Some diary writing is really just venting — it is the process of doing this that’s significant; you don’t have to keep the work itself for posterity. As the author and editor of your entire life story, you have to make the call about what’s contained. This goes for photographs as well as diaries: When taking a look at images of that old boyfriend that dropped you makes you feel crummy all over again, toss it out, for goodness’ sake!

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Inherited stuff. Oh, this one is tough. I think that it can help to think of their loved one whose belongings you now have as they had been — in other words, as a person struggling with editing their own possessions, just as you’re right now.

Grams surely would not want you feeling weighed down by her china collection, would she? Be honest about your feelings concerning the stuff you’ve inherited. Are you going to use it? Do you love it for what it is, or do you love it (and hold on to it) simply as you loved the man who lent it to you?

My advice is to honor your feelings but respect your space. This could mean keeping just one soup tureen (the one that you remember from those Sunday dinners) and passing the remainder together to another relative who really wants it, or selling it on eBay. If you can not come to a conclusion quite yet, place it in the “after” pile.

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Things which haven’t, or may not, age nicely. Some items are simply not supposed to last. Give crumbling blossoms, ancient pasta sculptures and poorly damaged photographs the heave-ho, and know about a product’s potential longevity until you save it the next time.

For example, consider taking a photograph of your son holding that Thanksgiving centerpiece — you can still save the piece itself for a couple of decades, and enjoy bringing it out as a table decoration, but if it begins to fall apart you can allow it to go without feeling bad.

Corynne Pless

Remember, the fewer things you keep, the more specific they will become to you — and also to those you love. Start to think of yourself as the editor of your entire life story. When someone peeks in to your boxes of treasures, what story will the photographs, newspapers and items tell? It is up to you to specify the arc of your life’s tale. To highlight the very best times, the things which were most meaningful to you, and also to allow the less important details fall out of focus.

What to Maintain

Reminders of victory over adversity. Remember how I said to toss photos of your no-good ex-boyfriend? Well, do that if you have not yet. But in case you’ve got a photograph of you on that awesome postbreakup road trip with your very best buddy, put that puppy in a frame! The most persuasive stories include adversity; the secret is to focus on how you’ve grown due to your challenging experiences.

Jennifer Young

Reminders of positive encounters. Your wedding day, a fantastic birthday party, a special excursion with your mother — one of the main reasons we keep mementos is for their ability to bring up memories we enjoy reliving. But we’re talking really optimistic, here. Not neutral. Not, “Oh, that was a fairly nice day.” The things you decide to keep eternally should remind one of the shining gems in your life: the most important people, places and experiences you’ve had. Don’t settle for humdrum.

The best representative illustration. You may cherish the memory of your wedding day, however you do not have to keep all of 50 extra apps, every outtake the photographer delivered you and an uneaten favor bag of Jordan almonds. Your favourite photographs and a couple of important mementos will maintain more emotional power over time than the usual giant boxful of wedding stuff. If you took 50 photographs at one birthday party, down them to a few that best capture the crowd and a couple of important moments.

Heather Merenda

The most adored. The teddy bear that went along with your child everywhere, the little corduroy overalls that flipped velvety from being worn and washed so many times, the toy with the most teeth marks — all these are the types of things worth saving.

And this applies to grown-up stuff, too! When there is a special article of clothing that instantly brings to mind a delicious time in your life, go ahead and keep it, even in the event that you know you’ll never wear it.

Among my very treasured keepsakes is that my grandfather’s hat. In so a lot of my thoughts of him, he’s wearing this hat. I have a photo of myself as a little girl wearing the hat. And it still scents like his pipe that’s something a photograph just can not do.

Lola Nova

Growing up and moving forward. As you get further into the process of editing your keepsakes, select a special container to house the keepers. This container ought to be small enough for one to take easily and sturdy enough to protect its treasured contents from mildew and critters. Maintain your particular box at the primary part of your residence, somewhere it could be easily and quickly located if you needed to evacuate.

As you work your way through all your stuff, ask yourself of each product, Does this deserve a spot in The Box?

I recommend you to not wiggle on this point. Don’t make it 2 or three boxes. Only one box. Go right ahead and keep a bigger bunch of not-quite-so-important keepsakes at a different location, if you have to, but when it comes to The Box, be ruthless. Over time you may come to understand that the stuff not at the box does not really have to be consuming all that valuable real estate, and when you’re ready, you can move on from it.

But having one box of most treasured belongings is something fantastic in itself. If the remainder of it vanished, you’d understand it’d be OK — that if that one box had been abandoned, it’d be enough to be your heritage.

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