Weekly Quick Tips

Organize What You Love

Ah, keepsakes, memorabilia…..those photos, cards, letters, programs, babyclothes and knickknacks that remind us  of the people, places, and times in our lives we love best. Memorabilia can be a wonderful thing, but it can also grow to beoverwhelming, and can sometimes seem nearly impossible to store in any remotely orderly way. Fear not; there are ways of weeding out the mementos you truly want to keep and create storage that will keep them safe, accessible and contained.

When it comes to sorting items with sentimental value, many traditional organizing tactics go out the window. Asking ‘when was the last time I used this?’ might be an effective way of deciding whether to keep a certain kitchen utensil, but it’s not very useful when you’re faced with a stack of old letters. Memorabilia often brings with it a raft of hidden emotions, and sorting through it can require the emotional equivalent of ‘kid gloves’. Before you start sorting, try to prepare yourself for the feelings that might come up as you go through the mementos you’ve gathered. Break down your sorting sessions into reasonable chunks and give yourself time to decompress as needed. Perhaps more importantly, be kind to yourself as you sort. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop; making rash decisions when you’re confronted with too many emotions can cause more harm than good. When you’re ready to sort, get yourself in the habit of asking ‘why should I keep this?’ for each item you come across. Of course you won’t always have a positive – or any – answer to this question. If you’re finding yourself holding on to things only because you feel you should, because they allow you to live in the past rather than in the present, or out of spite for another family member, it may be time to let them go. Keepsakes that simply takes up space, or, worse, reminds you of bad memories or brings up negative feelings, probably doesn’t deserve a place in your home, or your life.

When it comes to storage solutions for keepsakes, the Organizing Lives philosopy is to keep it simple. Because no one method of organizing, or storing ‘keep’ items works for everyone, we coach our clients by asking the same question we want you to ask yourself. ‘Do I need to access or see my memorabilia on a regular basis?’ If not, a labelled bin, its’ size dictated by its’ contents, and vice versa, on a storage room shelf is the perfect solution. However, if your special mementos are something you will share with others or access on a regular basis, a decorative basket or box displayed to match your decor may be the answer. What does remain consistent is that your keepsakes have a ‘home’, and the size of the home will always dictate your limit of collecting. One bin, basket or container per family member, overflow not part of the deal! Practical, functional and sentimental, all rolled into one.

With memorabilia, as with many other things, the more you keep, the less likely it is that everything in your collection will be meaningful, and the harder it’ll be to find space for the pieces that are truly important to you. Setting limits doesn’t mean you need to be spartan in what you keep, or that you must force yourself to get rid of memorabilia that truly has value to you. Rather, it means focusing on the quality of what you keep, and less on the quantity.Copyright © 2013 Organizing Lives ® All rights are reserved and no part of this article may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means unless expressly stated otherwise, or except with the written permission of Organizing Lives®. Enquires should be directed to: info@orgliv.mybusinesshub.ca