I know I’m guilty of it. I keep every little movie ticket, essay, and painting from my childhood stored away in boxes at the top of my closet. Now in my 20s, I don’t end up looking at any of it, but there is still an innate urge to cling to the past. If you’re anything like me and have sentimental clutter, you’ll want to read these tips on preserving memories without the mess.
Scan and upload paper memories
Awards, photos, artwork, essays, and other paper documents from the past can still be remembered without physically taking up space. Scan the items and upload the image to a folder on a cloud photo service you use into an album. This way, they don’t take up any space physically and are accessible at any time with no risk of losing them. The hard part is that you no longer need the physical copy. Hang onto favorites and hang them up. The rest can be recycled and trashed.
Donate and pass on items
Assuming the toys, books, clothing, and other objects you have aren’t damaged, you can donate them. There is oftentimes a feeling of guilt people have about ridding old gifts and objects from their collection because someone special gave it to them. You don’t need to keep an object for the sake of keeping a memory of someone alive. Donating or passing along to a friend/family member allows someone else to enjoy and make new memories with the item. Keep a list of your favorite childhood toys, books, and other objects to refer to when you want to remember.
Repurpose and upcycle
Perhaps you have old furniture lingering around with sentimental value, but that doesn’t fit your style or square footage. Take a chunk of the piece and reuse it in another capacity. For example, you have a dresser that you can’t seem to part with, but looks like it’s stuck in the 70s, take off the top table of the dresser, paint (or leave it as is), and hang it as a shelf. It’s a conversational piece that has new meaning and memories attached to it.
Hopefully these tips make going down memory lane without the clutter a bit easier. No one says you need to trash everything sentimental that serves no current purpose. Give your items new homes and memories by either keeping them digital, passing them on, and repurposing them will you from clutter and let you start having the objects now you’ll want to hold onto later in life. Live in the present while remembering the past.