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Examining the Emotions behind Memorabilia

November 16th, 2013

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.

All November we are tackling your mountains of memorabilia that often get ignored because you don’t have the proper organizing system on hand. Join me this month on my website for weekly Blog Posts with ideas and tips to ensure your precious memories and collectibles aren’t cluttering your space. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook for more decluttering tips and elegant advice for organizing your home, office, and your life.

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