Memorabilia and keepsakes are some of the most difficult items to sort, organize and cull. Memorabilia is usually the last category of items I sort through with my organizing clients during a organizing project that involves the entire home. Sentiment and indecision make this process feel overwhelming for many people.
I often come across closets, attics or spare rooms full of memorabilia. The amount can vary depending on the person’s level of sentimentality, their age, family size, and how long they’ve lived in that location. Either way, at some point in life, most people need or want to downsize their memorabilia collection. If they do not do it, this could leave quite a burden for family members to tackle after the person has passed away. Downsizing memorabilia is a challenging process, but here are a some tips to make it easier.
Save Sorting Memorabilia for Last
Plan to sort through the category of keepsakes last in your downsizing process. I suggest beginning with items that are easier to let go of first. Memorabilia sorting can be emotional and time consuming.
Gather All Memorabilia in One Room
Once it is altogether, you can see exactly how much you own. It is best to set up a table in this space to ease the sorting process.
Separate Memorabilia by Type
Create separate boxes or piles for photographs, Christmas cards, children’s artwork, inherited items, old letters, etc.
Determine how much memorabilia you can keep and want to keep. Maybe your home can only reasonably hold one shoe box of cards, one bin of keepsakes, and one shelf of photo albums. Determine what is right for you and your home and work within those limits.
Give to Family
Create boxes to give away to family members. For example, if your children are grown, set aside a box of their memorabilia and give it to them as a gift. I’ve had organizing clients give decorative boxes of memorabilia to their children as wedding gifts, graduation gifts and birthday gifts. Once your children are grown, you do not need to hold onto their items for them.
Curate your Memorabilia
When sorting through memorabilia, consider it curating. If you were creating a “museum of your life” what items would be most important to preserve and display? Select to keep these important items first when downsizing your memorabilia.
Choose Decorative Storage
For the keepsakes that you want to display, consider creative ways to save them. For example, create a shadow-box of souvenirs or make a t-shirt quilt.
It sometimes makes it easier to part with the physical items if you take photos of the items and create a photo book or store them digitally.