Jess asks: “Hi! I am 25, and my mom recently gave me all of my childhood papers, artwork, etc. I have ruthlessly been going through it, but I get stumped up. It would just sit in a tub of storage if I keep it, but I don’t want to erase all of my childhood memories. My husband also has several totes of his childhood/high school memorabilia. Do you have any suggestions? I also struggle with what to do with the doll crib and high chair (larger items) that were mine. Keep for a little girl someday? Or will she be into her own things? They are in good condition. Thanks for any advise on this!”
First, don’t let anyone else put THEIR feelings of how much and what personal memorabilia YOU should keep (and vice versa, a common mistake with spouses). Some people can’t bear to part with anything from their past, while others like me keep very little. You need to figure out where you fit in the spectrum.
I don’t believe that by editing down your memorabilia all your childhood memories magically disappear. It’s fun to see pictures we drew and report cards from grade school, but is it necessary to keep ALL of them? Keep the ones that get more of an emotional response then others. As far as the big stuff, think of this way; is it something you can properly store (keeping it clean and functioning) for the amount of time you’d need to in order to pass on to someone that may not love it as much as you did? If you do decide to let it go, take a few pictures of it beforehand so you can see it again when you like. And you must feel good about passing along something to someone NOW who will make just as many happy memories with it. Getting rid of something from your past is not disrespecting the past, sometimes it’s a matter of clearing some room in your home and mind for new memories and new energy to come in.
Deciding to keep or discard something is much easier when you let go of the idea that you HAVE to get rid of anything. Take that pressure off yourself for now. People lose momentum when editing when they stop making decisions; go through piece by piece saying definitely keep, definitely toss (or donate, sell, recycle) and when you get to something you’re unsure of simply put in a ‘maybe pile’, move on until all immediate decisions are done and THEN tackle the leftover items.
One more note. Not all of your memorabilia has to be boxed up and put away. For the things you don’t necessarily want out for everyone to see, why not hang on the inside of a closet door, back of a cabinet, or in the bathroom?
I hope this helps!