The kids make something “special” for you, a picture or craft item, they bring home a paper from school with a good grade and you put it in a place of honor, you keep it. As parents you want to keep it all! You want the kids to know that you honor their creativity and their accomplishments. Then there are the toys, the books, something grandma bought them. You want to keep and preserve it all! What you are doing is trying to preserve that moment, that memory, that feeling FOREVER!
What happens if you keep it all! If you keep a lot of your kids clothes, books, toys, papers and art creations each year, by the time they graduate your house will be turned into a warehouse overflowing with bins of these momentos. Instead of being fun memories they will have become a huge burden, something that you need to go through “someday” and do something with all of it. Some of the items will become ruined due to improper storage and it will take you weeks of your life to go through all of it.
One of the clients I worked with had a hard time letting go of things, assigning a lot of importance to each item the 2 kids created, their toys, books, and clothing. The client wanted to preserve 1,000’s of special moments through these momentos and items. One of the things the client dreaded was the children growing up and eventually leaving the home and was trying to preserve as much of their childhood as possible. In the clients need to hang onto even small scraps of paper the client was creating a lot of postponed decisions, clutter, confusion, and anxiety for the family. There were boxes and totes in the garage, in the closets and piling up in corners. It was also affecting the children’s ability to make healthy choices on what to keep and what to let go of as they started maturing.
The client realized that they needed help and we started working together. We developed a system for determining what to keep, how long to keep it, and where to keep it. The client was able to let go of less important items and to become more realistic about what quantities of items could be preserved over time. As the client started letting go the children started letting go of things they were no longer using. The clutter, confusion chaos and anxiety in the home lessened. The amount of stacks and boxes started dwindling. Once the system was in place the whole family benefited from using it.
Do you have a system for determining what to keep, how long to keep it, and when to let it go?
- Have a wall and shelf of honor that special items get to be exhibited on until the next item is created to display. When the item is taken from the wall or shelf, the decision is made to keep or toss the item.
- Have a keepsake bin for each family member that you keep the items not on display in.
- Go through the bin every month and decide what you will continue to keep and what you can let go of.
- Once a year go through the bin again and only keep items that will preserve well, are still wanted, and fit into the amount of space allowed.
- As the children get older they can participate in this evaluating and purging process to teach them the skills they need as adults.
- Take pictures and keep a scrapbook for each family member to preserve the memory and be able to let go of the items.
- Take pictures of a childs craft projects, make a collage and frame it.
There is a better way!
Most important – spend more time making the memories and less time sorting through them.