My babes are only 13 months old and already I am starting to collect things that remind me of the good old days and we’ve barely passed the first year mark!
It’s true. I am already having a hard time getting rid of things and with limited storage the challenge is finding a way to adequately honor the memories and continue to keep our sanity.
As the junk creeps in, the nerves tend to fray so what are some tips for knowing what to keep and how to keep it?
According to experts, the number one culprit for moms is children’s artwork. I found a few ingenious ways to give the art the love it deserves without having to keep it on the fridge for years.
Just take a photo! Not only are you saving the memory, you are preserving the memory for much longer than the life of a piece of water color soaked craft paper. If your kids argue, tell them you are creating a catalogue raisonné – a digital catalogue of their precious creations. You can even make these photos into books with many online services such as blurb.com, shutterfly.com and snapfish.com.
Loose photos, photo albums, videos and scrapbooks are the second biggest culprit. These can also easily be converted to digital media, saving space and conserving the images for more than a lifetime. These can similarly be converted into photo books and voila once again, you have just condensed!
Souvenirs are another item of clutter that we often grapple with but here is a great idea and fun project you can do with your kids. Make a shadow box of your trip! You can add tickets, photos and souvenirs and once again you have lightened your load and more importantly, your time spent dusting.
Here is a wonderful shadow box of architectural items before a home renovation. Another great way to pay homage to a memory without creating sentimental clutter.
Books can take up a lot of space and be really difficult to move, but there is something special about the books from childhood and therefore it is important to selectively keep ones you think might be important to your own kids. One great idea for commemorating books that are sentimental but will likely never be read again is to create artwork with book jackets. You could create a series of shadow boxes or a triptych for your walls.
I am no where near this one yet but once the kids have left home what do you do with all the stuff they leave behind? To be fair, I am still dealing with things I left behind at my own parent’s house so I am certainly no authority on this one but here is one ingenious idea from AZCentral.com. Fill one appliance box (yes maybe that means actually upgrading an appliance whoo hoo!) with the trophies, ribbons, toys and such. It is likely that within a few months these items will not seem nearly as important. Eventually you will whittle it down to a few manageable items.
Tips From Mom of Ten
Because I am so green at this mommy gig, I decided to solicit the help of a seasoned mom friend. Libby Neas has reared ten children and has experienced dealing with sentimental clutter first hand. I asked Libby to share her top three tips:
Scan important documents and recycle the paper!
This is a great one. Libby’s advice is to create a ‘temporary’ and a ‘keep’ folder or bin for each family member. At the end of each week go through the temporary folder and scan anything that can not be dealt with on the spot and you consider ‘a keeper’. She also recommends a yearly purge of the box of ‘keepers’ especially for children’s artwork and school projects. Try to limit the ‘keepers’ to 10 per year.
For souvenirs and family heirlooms, if you really love the item – show it off!
If it is sitting in a box under the bed and you have not seen it in years, consider cataloging it and offering the item up to extended family members or donating to a good cause such as Good Will or Salvation Army.
This one is my favorite. If you are like me you just can not bear to throw away beautiful cards and letters. Libby pointed us to Simple Mom who has some wonderful ideas for making flip books, re-purposing cards and even giving letters back to original senders! I know I would love to read some of the letters I wrote so many years ago.
So many great ideas. What are your top tips for reducing sentimental clutter?
photo credit: gallery.apartmenttherapy.com