Hi everyone - Happy August! Time is flying by so fast. In a few short weeks, school will be back in session and we'll be back to a somewhat regular routine. Always good news for an organizer like me.
In my last post, I commented how my oldest son has difficulty letting go of items that hold special memories for him. He likes to have the visual trigger for the occasion or time in his life. As we were working through de-cluttering his room, it became very apparent to me that he was afraid of losing the memory if the item was gone. The problem was, he only had a finite amount of space to contain all his "visual memories." The promising factor was that he was willing to consider letting go of a few things if it meant being able to find what he needed in his bedroom.
Step 1: Talk about the memories. As we came across each object that triggered a memory, we talked about the memory he had when he looked at the item. For some things, he realized he didn't have as great of an attachment as he realized. For instance, a Cadbury bunny he received at Easter time when he was about 4 years old. It was a memory associated with a single day, but it wasn't a significant Easter. This was able to go... however, he admitted that he struggled giving away anything that had been given to him as a gift. No matter who gave it and when. He thought he was offending the person who gave it to him.
Step 2: Understanding your space is your own. When he confessed that he didn't want to offend by giving something up, we talked about how much he appreciated the gift at the time. That is generally all that the person who gave the gift to you wants - enjoy it in the moment. Everyone who gives a gift realizes that people grow up or their interests change and you're not expected to hang on to things forever. Whew - another few items down!!!
Step 3: Store digital memories. When the connection or memory is just too strong, but the item really has no useful value beyond that, take a digital picture and store it on a USB drive. Load them into a digital picture frame or onto a CD. With my son, we did this with a few pieces of art or letters, but it also works with non-paper items. The objects were gone, but the image was not. Consequently, this is a great way to store a lot of old photographs and other historical records, as well.
Step 4: Give memories to others. Sometimes, your special memory can be someone else's. Maybe someone else in your life will have the same memory you do of the occasion, and they would appreciate the item. Each item we went through in my older son's room that had a special memory for his younger brother, we also asked him about how he would like to handle the item, or if he wanted it for himself. In general, he has a much easier time of letting go, so there weren't too many things that he wanted to keep.
Step 5: When you just can't let go. The good thing is, after you've followed the other steps, you'll probably have room to display a few very special items. The point is to give them a place of honor. That's the whole reason for keeping them! In my son's case, we had a few things to display on shelves in his room and two stuffed animals that he's chosen to keep, but not display. Success!
I hope this gives you some ideas about how to go through some of your spaces. I'd love to hear about other special memories you have as well and how you choose to honor them - so send some comments my way. And if you, like my son, need a little extra help to work through the process, contact me today so that I can help.
Jennifer Raschig loves to share thoughts on creating restful spaces and presenting your best self every day.