9 tips to declutter memorabilia with less overwhelm

Trying to declutter and you’re finding it difficult because of the memories attached to the items? Try some of these tips to make the process easier.

Do nothing

What happens if you do absolutely nothing and leave the items as they are? Who said you need to get rid of them? Can you change your focus to what’s working in your home rather than looking at the faults?

Do something

Research by Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, shows that reversible, keep-your-options-open decisions reliably lead to lower levels of satisfaction than irreversible ones. In other words, we are significantly less happy with our choices when we can back out of them…Once we’ve committed to a course of action, we stop thinking about alternatives

Go on back yourself! Make a decision to pass on the item, and be happy with the decision. Don’t over think it or wonder “what if I need it again”. Make a decision and move on.

Speak to the universe

Letting things go frees up space for other important items. If you let go of an item and find you need to replace it in the future ask around if someone has one you can have. I see cupboards full of unused stuff in peoples homes, someone is bound to have the item you want.

Alternatively it’s amazing how these things appear in your life if you speak to the universe. Recently my family picked up 2 flat screen computer screens in hard rubbish! Thank you universe.

Give it to somebody else to look after

If the item is something important to the family do you need to be the person that looks after the item? If it’s making you anxious or uncomfortable when you look at the item can you give it to another family member to be care taker?

The past is in the past

Jay Dixit writes in the article ” The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment ” on psychology.com: “Often, we’re so trapped in thoughts of the future or the past that we forget to experience, let alone enjoy, what’s happening right now. We sip coffee and think, “This is not as good as what I had last week.” We eat a cookie and think, “I hope I don’t run out of cookies.””

Look with excitement to the wondrous future filled with less stuff to clean and manage and to think about.

Keep only one

Keep one item to remember that special time and pass the rest on. For example keep one vase to remind you of your mum and her passion for gardening rather than the whole vase collection.

Take a photo or make a video

If you would like periodically remember the time gone by, take  photo a or make a video of the item (this technique can be used to digitally capture art and craft projects all through your kids’ school years). Can you view these items in an electronic photo frame?

Marie Kondo says of presents…

“the true purpose of a present is to be received. Thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it…” 

In relation to kids’ keepsakes, yes, all those beautiful things you received when you bought bub home from the hospital were gorgeous, and they certainly gave you great joy, but it is ok to let them go .

Write a letter to yourself

To remind yourself the importance of the item write a letter to yourself. Describe the item, describe your feelings, describe how it makes you feel and any stories related to the item. Once you have these memories down on paper you may not need the item at all to remind you of the past, you will have your memories captured on paper (or in electronic form in an email).

Next steps

Memorabilia is a memento of a special time. It’s nice to visit but we can’t stay there forever. Dealing with loads of memorabilia at once is exhausting. Make time to sort your items in small blocks of time. Set a timer for 10 minutes and use the above techniques to make some decisions on what to keep or let go.

Still need help?

Julie Cliff is a Professional Organiser at Space and Time which helps busy working mothers live easier, far less stressful lives through simple, easy to implement organising systems to clear the clutter – both mentally and physically. Sound familiar? Julie would love to hear from you via info@spaceandtime.com.au or check our her services here.