Remember that ribbon you won in the 8th grade for having the best science project?
Or how about the bin of New Kids on the Block memorabilia filled with every Bop magazine, poster and t-shirt a 15 year old could get her hands on. Yes, I admit I was a huge New Kids fan back in the 90’s. Really what 15 year old wasn’t at the time?
I was keeping that “memorabilia” with the intent of passing it down to my daughter thinking one day her and I would sit around this box and I would tell her stories about how I was when I was 15. Sometimes it’s not about sitting around a huge box of New Kids stuff that matter, it is the stories that can be told. It is the memories we make and share with others. Memories are not tangible, that are images and moments in time that we can hold onto in our hearts and minds.
Memorabilia can be anything from photos, souvenirs, letters, anything that is kept for a memory attached with it. The key to organizing your memorabilia is to keep the things that are still meaningful or when is the last time you sat and looked at these items. Ask yourself what is the purpose of keeping it.
If you are overwhelmed with keeping every letter, card, photo, and you boxes and storage bins are taking up precious real estate it is time to evaluate what is truly worth keeping. I keep most of my childhood memory items in storage bins in the basement. I have moved these boxes from house to house throughout the years, and I hardly have looked through them. Sure, it was nice when I was trying to find something to stumble upon this bin and take a few minutes sitting on the basement floor to reminisce, but those moments don’t happen often and I have to ask myself why am I hanging on to this stuff?
To begin organizing your memorabilia, give yourself time to reminisce. I found it is also good to organize your memorabilia when you are in the mood to really do a good clean out. You are more likely not to be so sentimental with each piece of paper if you have the right mindset.
Start creating piles of your memorabilia. Create a toss pile for old calendars, appointment books, old holiday cards that you don’t look at, duplicate photos etc… Create a keep pile that consists of items that still are meaningful, not that was meaningful 20 or 30 years ago. Have a pass on pile that contains items that anyone else might enjoy or keepsakes to be handed down to your children.
Organize your memorabilia in categories. Limit the numbers of items you save. Consider having one storage that you share with your spouse for each life stage. Whatever can fit in the bin stays. Each year, you can look through the bin and evaluate if you still have an attachment to an item. As Jen writes in Organize Now! The less you keep, the more you will treasure what you do have.
Have clothes professionally preserved. Have clothes such as a wedding gown, christening gown preserved to help guard it against the elements.
Consider digital scrapbooking. Scrapbooking can take a lot of time. Digital scrapbooking doesn’t require a lot of space or supplies and you can work on it when you have time on your computer. Once your book is complete, you can have it printed and they take up less space than the old fashioned scrapbooks.
Use photo boxes. Craft stores like AC Moore sell nice photo boxes that you can purchase to not just use for photos but for other keepsakes you want to hold onto. These bins work great for kids awards, ribbons, notes, and drawings to save until they get older.
Baby books. Make a baby book for each of your children with a book or even online to record information about their health and accomplishments.
Let each family member sort their items. Let them decide what is still meaningful to them.
Don’t let organizing your memorabilia be overwhelming. Chances are these bins are stored in the attic or basement, so if they are not in the way give yourself time to go through these boxes until it is done.
You can find more tips including ideas on how to organize your child’s memorabilia in Week 32 of Jennifer Ford Berry’s book Organize Now!: A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life