Sentimental things. Everybody owns them. Letters and cards, your child’s baby clothes, your high school trophies. Even professional organizers hang onto sentimental things! I think it’s hardwired into humans to want to hang onto things with strong emotional memories attached to them.
But how do you organize these kinds of items?
The trick to storing sentimental items is to set some sort of boundary around how much you will store. For example, I often work with moms who hang onto a lot of their children’s baby things even though the child is no longer a baby. The baby items aren’t useful anymore, but they are of great sentimental value. All of those adorable teeny tiny onesies! So the boundary that mom and I agree upon is a Sterilite or Rubbermaid plastic bin (or two if it’s really hard for that mom to let go!) All the baby things have to fit into that one bin. Once that bin is full, if the mom wants to add more things, she needs to take something out to make room for something else.
I often advise clients that each family member needs his or her own memorabilia bin, no matter what age the family member is. Adult family members need a place to store their high school graduation cap and favorite stuffed animal from childhood. Kids will probably want to store the name badges they made at summer camp and the friendship bracelet their best friend gave them. So it’s helpful if each family member has a labeled bin to store these things in.
You will want to keep the family memorabilia bins somewhere accessible, because these sentimental items come into our lives more often than we think. The floor or top shelf of the closet works well. If space is tight, get one of those flat, shallow bins that can slide under a bed. Don’t relegate the bin to the attic or bury it out in the garage. If the bin is too hard to get to, people won’t put their memorabilia away and it will clutter up your house.
Want to be super organized? Get each family member a shoebox-sized box to hold letters and cards from family and friends, in addition to a memorabila bin. This kind of paper memorabilia comes into our lives pretty frequently — sometimes with every holiday! So it’s helpful to have a convenient place to store it. You can get these kind of bins at any big box store, like these from Target’s Hearth & Home line pictured above. Label the bin and store it in the family member’s room next to his or her memorabilia bin.
You will be amazed at how much more organized your house will stay and how much easier it will be to tidy up when each family member has their own memorabilia and letters/cards bins. Happy Organizing!
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