Mementos are among the most difficult things for us to organize. That’s not because it’s hard to figure out how to make a photo album, put things in a memory box, or save a precious heirloom. No, mementos trip us up because of their emotional significance in our lives. We agonize over decisions about which ones to keep, how to honor the items, the best ways to preserve them, and even whether or not to use them.
We worry that if we get rid of anything our children touch (much less make!), we’re heartless parents. We worry that if we don’t hold onto everything that belonged to our parents, we’re ungrateful children. We worry that if we use grandma’s china, we’ll break it. We worry that if we don’t sort through and organize every single photo, we might lose a moment that was captured on film.
This all-or-nothing, fear-based perspective puts so much pressure on us that we end up storing these emotionally-charged things away, never enjoying them for fear of doing the wrong thing with them.
Let’s set aside the worry and instead come up with creative ideas to get our precious mementos out of storage boxes and into regular circulation in our lives! After all, the point of saving these items is to enjoy them with gratitude and appreciation for what they mean to us.
Children’s Art and Schoolwork:
Instead of throwing your children’s art into a crowded bin that will be opened like a time capsule when the kids are adults, find ways to use and enjoy their creations now. Remember, you’re saving this stuff because it makes you as a parent happy to see your child’s creations, not because your child will remember and want them as an adult (They won’t!).
We take photographs because we want to remember the moment, so don’t hide them away in boxes or the cloud! Comprehensive photo organizing is great if you can devote the time to that project, but if you can’t, don’t let that stop you from digging in and bringing some of the photos into the light for you to enjoy now.
China, Crystal, and Fancy Things:
It doesn’t honor your grandmother to keep her china hidden away in boxes. Why not figure out some ways to use it? The worst that can happen is that you chip or break a piece, but that’s better than never seeing it at all.
We all need a place for the miscellaneous stuff that we collect: love notes, the playbill from your first Broadway musical, a flattened penny from a vacation spot, an honorable mention ribbon, etc.
These are just a few ideas that can help you enjoy your mementos in a simpler, less stressful way. The idea is to bring these beloved items out into the open without agonizing over them or committing to a time-consuming project.
What are your ideas? How do you display and enjoy your mementos? What’s your most unusual, conversation-starter keepsake?