Clutter-Free Memorabilia

When I was 17, my family moved to a new apartment.  At that time, I was able to fit all of my personal items into two cardboard boxes.

I’ve got a lot more than that now!

We tend to accumulate things as we go through life.  Some of them are very important to us, while some we just keep out of habit.

How can we prevent our memorabilia from turning into clutter?

Look closely at the sentimental items you are saving and figure out which ones are so special that you can’t imagine living your life without them.

The letter your Grandma wrote to you when you graduated college, saying how proud she was?  That’s a keeper.  Her silver tea set which you never use or even display because it tarnishes so quickly?  Perhaps it’s better if you passed that on to someone who doesn’t mind polishing silver.

Once you have separated the truly significant items from the stuff that’s still around because you just never thought about it, find a way to honor the true keepsakes.  Here are some ways to do that:

  • Frame them.  You can do this with paper, such as Granny’s letter, or even with clothing.  I did this with a T-shirt I got on my honeymoon.  It hangs on my bedroom wall and is one of my more meaningful pieces of decor.   You can see the “before” and “after” below.

Honeymoon T-Shirt: Before

Honeymoon T-Shirt: After

  • Scrapbook them.  Put important cards and letters into your photo album or a scrapbook so that you can easily access them.
  • Display them. Put items in a display case, which can be hung on the wall or kept on top of a table or dresser. It will make a great conversation piece!
  • Reduce them.  It may be tempting to keep every trophy you ever received, but do you really need twenty-five or thirty?  Pick out the few that represent the victories you are proudest of, and donate the rest.  (And think how much less you’ll have to dust!)
  • Transform them. For clothes that you don’t wear anymore but which have sentimental value, stuff them and turn them into pillows.  Or make them into a quilt.  Don’t know how?  Let Campus Quilt do it for you.
  • Rehome them. Buy a decorative box and fill it with your most precious treasures.  Keep it accessible so that you can pull it out and enjoy your keepsakes when you want to.

This special box holds memorabilia from when my daughter was a baby.

Once you’ve decided which items to give away or donate to charity, take a photograph of them first, then make up a nice tribute page in your photo album.  Write down your memories of each item.  Photos take up much less space and are much more fun to look at!

What other ideas do you have for honoring memorabilia?  Let us know.

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