Do you like to collect things? Maybe those treasured Precious Moments dolls? Baseball caps? Or the quintessential coin collection? As long as there are people in this world, there will be collections of all sorts of things.
While collections can be fun, they can also be a source of stress. Hunting for more to add is often a fun and addicting challenge. Finding room to display all of them can be even more of a challenge.
MAKE A PLAN
The first thing you need to do when organizing memorabilia is to craft a plan. You do this by asking yourself some key questions. This involves deciding how you will organize items, who needs to be involved in going through the items, when you will organize them and what you will keep.
QUESTION #1 - How You Will Organize?
How you want to organize your memorabilia is a big decision but one that you need to make. It gives you direction on which way to head. Determining the "how" will also help you answer the other three questions.
Here are a couple good questions to ask yourself:
- Will you display things in the home?
- Do you have specific pieces of furniture to display them (bookshelf, curio cabinet, etc)?
- Can you digitize certain things to save room?
Digitizing kids artwork, old photos and more is an easy way to preserve the memory without taking up space with the actual item. There are many companies that actually do this service for you. For example, here at The Decluttering Queen we offer negative and slide conversion to jpeg.
QUESTION #2 - Who needs to be involved?
The next question to ask yourself is who needs to be involved. This determines when you can declutter and for how long.
Is the memorabilia not just yours. Maybe its photos you share with your husband or other family members. Maybe it's your daughter's figurine collection from when she was younger? Start by asking those people if they want to be involved. They may not even care what you do with the items. If they do want to participate, you will need to decide on a time with them.
You also want to ask yourself if you need some outside help. Would it be beneficial to have a professional organizer involved in the process? They are a great tool you can use to make some tough decisions on what stays and what doesn't. It helps to have a neutral person to support you through this process. They can also provide ideas on how to better display and/or store your memorabilia.
QUESTION #3 - When will you organize?
It's essential to set a date/time for your project. This holds you accountable and empowers you to take those first steps. Your decision should be based on when you are available, when your "team" is available and what best suits your current life load.
You also want to ask yourself how long should your sessions be. Some of my clients can dedicate a whole weekend to organizing and breeze right through it. Others lose steam after 3-4 hours. You will need to choose which approach will work best for you.
QUESTION #4 - What you will keep?
Here comes the tough part. You will also need to decide what you will keep before you begin. Now keep in mind this is completely adjustable as the process unfolds but having at least some idea of how much and what you will keep is essential.
How much you keep can be answered by asking yourself a couple questions. First start by asking yourself how much space do you have to store this type of stuff. You may have a large bookshelf to dedicate to your collection. Or your space may be smaller so what you keep will have to be limited.
Also ask yourself if your current collection feels overwhelming. Sometimes our collection is just too big and we want to reduce the sheer volume of what we have. An easy way to keep the memory is to take a picture of the item before sending it off.
There is no "right amount" to how much you keep. This is determined by how much space you have and your personal comfort level. Go with your gut. If your collection feels to large, it probably is.
The goal of organizing any memorabilia is to find meaningful ways to appreciate what you value. Collections do little good stuck inside boxes in the basement. Taking time to display what you have can be a rewarding experience you can enjoy for years to come.
NEED MORE INSPIRATION?
Here are some organizing solutions I recommend for memorabilia:
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This Iris storage container is my go-to for keeping photos organized. This set includes individual cases so you can sort by year or event.