Last week I wrote about how to downsize and purge with your family and this week I want to continue with that process and talk about sentimental saving.
- Our babies shoes or clothes
- Photographs & Scrapbooks (digital and paper)
- Handmade items (artwork, crafts-objects “Infused” with the spirit of the maker)
- Recipes or instructions for handmade items (making that something helps us feel closer to our loved one)
- Larger items of value-like furniture, entire homes etc.
- Family “heirlooms”-stuff that has supposed “market value”
I think the last two items can be the most tricky. Times have changed and what is valuable to one person or generation might not be as valuable to later generations. This is where having a good chat with your family about what you love, find joyful memories of and want to save can help you feel less burdened. If you have heirlooms you love, use them in your daily life! Display them (like the piece above), break out the good china or crystal or silver, let them bring you joy by seeing and using them often!
But what about mom’s who save every little thing from their children’s childhood? I come across this a lot! Since I don’t have children of my own I can’t share what my personal experience is with this other than reflecting on what my parents saved for me. Even though I do offer suggestions on how to best save items and keep them stored using archival methods I do not tell my clients what they should keep. My best advice is LESS IS MORE! Keep the best of each category, favorite artwork, favorite decorative items and take photo’s of the rest! If you feel the compelling urge to keep more than the minimum than store in bins by year and category. Don’t mix papers with textiles-they will damage one another in long term storage (crumple, discolor etc). After a few years you might realize that you don’t need so much.
Ask yourself why you are keeping things. Do you want to pass them on to your children? Once they are old enough (8-10) start talking to them and showing them what you are keeping. This will be a great way to learn about their “saving style” and they might share what they feel most joyful about keeping and what they don’t really care about. Find ways to honor and integrate their interests, accomplishments etc into daily life (like the ribbons above). As they go through “phases” gently say goodbye with gratitude and pack up the “best of”.
If your parents never talked with you about this topic, if you still have them around perhaps they are holding onto “sentimental” items they have saved. Generally most parents ask their children to take things once they move off after college but some parents keep things forever. If you have “stuff” left behind at your parents and don’t even remember what it is, take some time to ask them about it, look through it and take what you want. Offer to go ahead and donate or sell what you don’t want sooner rather than later so that your stuff doesn’t become a burden to them or other family members, now or later. Addressing the reason we hold onto our sentimental stuff can help release us from the need to keep the actual things.
Just remember that to do so you might not have to hold onto the sentimental stuff! Sentimental saving can be a beautiful way to honor our memories! Never hold onto things that don’t bring you joy. Find stillness with your stuff and honor the moment to remember and to decide to keep or let go of the mementos.