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Examining the Emotions behind Memorabilia

IOTS Nov 16 Blog Post professional organizer emotional memorabilia

A couple years ago I was downsizing and, much to my dismay, four beautifully organized containers of memorabilia had to go. Thinking on it, I was surprised that I was having so much trouble getting rid of things I rarely (if ever) looked at. As a professional organizer, I make a living coaching others through this very process, but now here I was struggling.

The pieces of memorabilia that we keep to remember a certain time, person, or place can pack an intensely personal punch. They may not look like much, but the emotions attached could take up a whole warehouse. That is the very reason that letting them go can feel so heart wrenching.

Here’s the truth: the items in those containers really didn’t impact the quality of my life nor did I think about them often. I spoke to a therapist about this, and after some exploration we concluded that the personal letters and gifts that I kept were a symbol of a special time and special love given to me.

I gave myself a few weeks to reflect and then and came back to the scrapbooks of all the memories. I was ready to let go. As I started transferring the items into the garbage, it surprised me how fluid this was. How satisfying it was for me to don my professional organizer hat and de-clutter my life in this small yet significant way.

Here’s the truth again: I have never missed anything I threw away. The items I did keep and the envelopes I put them in (one large envelope from each major timeline of my life) have not been touched since.

I wanted to share with you my personal story so that you understand the organizing ideas I have are not created in a void. I also struggle with letting go. I make myself walk through every system I create to ensure it works; that it is possible and practical and realistic.

The crucial artifacts we surround ourselves with may not be as important as we think. There is a joy in letting go. I have experienced it and would love for you to feel it too.

Have you felt euphoria in downsized simplicity? Share your story below in the comments please – I’d love to hear it.

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