“Junk is the stuff of our lives.” In a recent episode of the TV series, “This is Us,” we watch an elderly neighbor, George struggle to part with sentimental belongings that have gathered dust over the years.
We are collectors of things. Collecting can be a wonderful hobby or serious business. Whether it is artwork, coins, dolls, music or license plates, it’s fascinating to see what people collect! We can even get physically excited about the pursuit and finding that one elusive piece to add to our collection.
But what about the little things we accumulate? Random objects we hold onto because of the cherished memories of that special moment in time? A sentimental corsage, a picture your child drew, a certain piece of clothing, baby teeth (yes, baby teeth!), trophies, a stuffed animal, a gum wrapper, cereal boxes, travel souvenirs, postcards and letters.
These are things we keep. These are things we treasure. Things in which we have developed a strong emotional attachment. Things we can’t imagine letting go of because somehow they have become a part of us.
One look at that object and a sea of memories will come flooding back. Sometimes, we hang onto things because of the person who gave it to us. We may even remember the specific day and year we got it!
It’s easy for these little objects to pile up over the years. They get stuffed into a drawer or tucked away in a box and are forgotten about until… the day when
we rediscover them again.
If you find it difficult to let go of these kinds of objects, you’re not alone. I’m not suggesting you have to get rid of them all, but if you’re moving, downsizing or just want to reduce the amount of clutter that is accumulating in your home, here are some ideas and reassuring thoughts to help you make those tough decisions.
First ask yourself, “Do I love it?"
If your immediate answer to this is yes, chances are at some point you will regret giving it away.
Know that if you decide to get rid of an object, you will still get to keep the memories forever.
If it’s a piece of clothing, keep a picture of you wearing it and let the clothing go. You could make a quilt out of your vintage clothing, frame it, pass it down to a family member, sell or donate the clothes to a charity.
Scan or take a picture the object and keep a digital file of those memories. Create meaningful file names with dates so it will be easy to find them in the future. This works well with children’s artwork, stuffed animals, letters, postcards, etc.
Make a shadow box to hold a collection of objects or memories from a special day or time.
Arrange a program and tickets to a play, an autographed baseball or sports medals you’ve won. Display of your child’s baby cup, favorite toy or book, baby announcement and yes, even the baby teeth! Your collection will also serve as a great conversation piece.
Create a scrapbook.
This is a wonderful way to keep souvenirs from a vacation, school days, sports activities or family memories.
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. As you sort through your collection of things, know that even as you let go of the objects, no one can take your memories away. Those are yours to keep forever.
When you are ready to let go, check out this link to find websites and apps that will help you sell your new or used items: