Nearly everyone seems to have the impulse to hang onto sentimental items. Cards, gifts, baby clothes a child has long outgrown, or precious things ancestors owned; even professional organizers have trouble deciding how to sort and store their most sentimental items. Today, we’ll share our “Trash or Treasure” storage and sorting tips to make this process easier for you, so read on if your spring cleaning needs include sifting through items that are rich with emotional ties.
1. Create a limit on the total amount you will store.
Before you get started sorting, look around your home and determine how much space each occupant will be able to dedicate to sentimental items. For some families, that’s one storage tub per person. For others, it’s a shelf in a closet. The important thing is to decide this limit in advance and stick to it.
If you reach your limit before you’re through sorting, you’ve got to choose an item to let go before you can add something more.
2. Stick to time limits.
Emotional tasks are draining, and it’s easy to hit a wall without realizing it. Set time limits for each burst of organizing, and stick to your scheduled breaks.
3. Choose one item to represent a collection of items.
Often the things we love collect in groups. If a person loves ceramic owls, they’ll have twenty ceramic owls instead of one, right?
When it comes to sentimental items, it can be helpful to choose one or two perfect items to represent the others. Baby’s clothes, for example, could be narrowed down to a onesie and a dress. Aunt Verna’s record collection could be donated or sold, but the most memorable album could be framed and hung.
If your main attachment to a collection of things is sentimental, it might be time to let it go.
4. Analyze the item’s significance.
Sometimes it’s simple to figure out what to let go, but if you’re waffling on an item, try to figure out exactly why this item is significant to you. Is it valuable? Irreplaceable? Useful? Beautiful enough to display? Will it be hidden in this bin forever? Could someone you care about get use out of the item right now?
Answering these questions will help you figure out how to proceed.
5. Take photographs.
No, a picture of a thing is not the thing itself, but sometimes the warmth and emotion we experience through keeping an object can be preserved through photographs. Take pictures of loved ones holding items, or take pictures of collections before they are dismantled for storage or sale. One of the reasons we treasure photos is their capacity to evoke emotion, so don’t discount them as a means of preserving treasures.
6. Display your treasures.
Once you’ve figured out which few items are the most precious to you, it’s time to create custom displays or storage for them. Dallas Custom Closets can create the perfect storage systems in DFW to keep your sentimental items safe, clean, and easy for you to reach anytime you want to connect with your memories.
Finally, keep in mind that your relationship with your sentimental items will shift throughout time. Each spring, take the time to review your collection and part with anything that clutters your life without infusing your days with happy memories.