What Mementos to Keep?

Written by Martha on November 9th, 2009

This is a question I am frequently asked, and a difficult one to answer. These are a few thoughts:

1. Do keep those awards, photos, milestone markers that mean the most to you. Of course this requires that these items have a home,  preferably in one place in appropriate container(s). Basement/attic storage should be monitored for heat and moisture problems.

2. Only keep things that remind you of happy, positive events. I finally convinced my husband that he didn’t have to keep the fake flower arrangement from his grandmother’s funeral. There were so many good memories to hold onto instead.

3. Do not keep items out of duty. Just because someone you care about gave you something doesn’t imply a forever contract.  Especially for larger objects, take a photo and let go.

4. “Most paper is not meant to be saved forever.” I love this quote by a fellow Ohio organizer, Alicia Miller! Especially when we can scan and store on a wand why keep the piles?  I do have immigration records from my great-grandfather that I will keep; I need my marriage license. Most everything else can go.

5. Ask the question “Who is likely to care 20 years from now?” Is there someone in your family who enjoys history and would treasure those “old” things you are saving? Share those treasures now while you can give an accurate accounting of where they came from, who used the objects, etc. Then you are free not only of those things, but of the burden of being the only one who knows their significance.

If you have another thought that would help others decide which mementos to keep, please share!  We all need help in this area.

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