Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 8. What do I do with all my MEMORABILIA?

By
Education & Training with House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

As we age, we seem to have huge collections of memorabilia – those are things that we keep that remind of someone, somewhere, or sometime in the past.  The biggest problem with memorabilia is that it can get out of control and take valuable space and peace of mind.  If you are downsizing, there may not be enough room for your things. 

 Everyone is sentimental about something.  We want to be and it is good to have a sentimental side.    Here are some guidelines on keeping and storing sentimental items:

  •  If you treasure it, treat it like a treasure and not something thrown in the basement, garage or attic on a falling apart box. 
  • Sometimes a photo of the treasure is enough to remember it and then you can let go of the item itself – children’s artwork, mom’s cabinet, your old cheerleader outfit (that doesn’t fit), etc. 
  • Rather than saving all of the estate of someone, sell it and then donate the proceeds in their name.  (my 5***** hint)
  • Start and maintain a keepsake box – with old family/love letters, newspaper clippings, certificates, etc.  Write on the back of the item who, what, when, where, etc.   If someone finds your box, they will not know why you were keeping these items.
  • It is okay to stop collecting something and to sell off or give away the collection.  I finally started giving away my grandmother style porcelain flowers.    Some collections get huge and take over your life.  I know sewing and quilting addicts that have old fabric that they will never use but keep it because they remember the day they bought it. 
  • Watch out for telling people that you collect something.  Before you know it, you will have dragon fly pins, cups, shawls, pictures, paperweights, etc. etc.  How can you possibly stop the collection?  Where can you store everything and what is going to happen when you fall in love with something else?  You have to let people know that “dragon flies” are just not your thing anymore.  You will have to go and HARVEST the collection and start giving it away. 
  • Some collectibles are seasonal  and need to only be displayed for a short time each year.  When unpacking or packing up between the seasons, it is the perfect time to evaluate what to keep and what to let go to a new home.

 Displaying your memorabilia is part of decorating; storing or parting with them is part of clutter control.


The links to the earlier posts:  

Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 1. What can I do about all that paper?

Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 2. What about my safety deposit box?

Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 3. What about all my books?

Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 4. What about all my photos?

Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 5. How Do I Sort Through My Photos?

Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 6. What can I do about my linen closet?

Downsizing Boomers - FAQ 7. Do I have to KEEP those horrible gifts?

 

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Topic:
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
747,784
Carol Zingone
Global Realtor Based in Jax Beach, FL
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty

Valerie - great blog, and easy to manage steps. Most people become overwhelmed with the moving process, and end up in stasis.

June 04, 2012 09:11 AM
Rainmaker
563,524
Chris Smith
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage

Valerie, we ourselves, and so many people I know, are guilty of keeping things and never opening/using them.  How did we become this way? ... it seems older generations had less "stuff"

June 04, 2012 09:14 AM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Sandy:  That way you get to see it over and over.  I love all of your comments.  Thank you.

Paula:  I hope they help even one person get organized.

Donna:   We had one house with a huge empty basement - at the start.  By the time we moved, I had to call in help to get the stuff donated.  Now, if I had put all that money in a pension account......

Debbie:  Thanks.

June 04, 2012 09:36 AM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Carol:  Or at the Heart Institute from overdoing the work under a great deal of stress.  

Chris:  I don't know how - maybe too much disposable income.  I like my friends who have gone from things to experiences and consumables.  I think their memories will outlast a toaster or another set of towels.  

June 04, 2012 09:39 AM
Rainmaker
1,005,327
Sheila Anderson
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133
Referral Group Incorporated

I wish Lake Placid were closer. I know what to do I just can't seem to make it happen.I would like to think we will meet one day in my new and cleared out small home in MA.

June 04, 2012 10:12 AM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Sheila:  Hmmm.  This is a small world and there is ALWAYS a chance to meet.  I would like that. 

June 04, 2012 10:38 AM
Rainmaker
647,710
Evelyn Kennedy
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California

Valerie:

My husband and I are going through our "stuff".  My husband actually has collections of watches, military equipment, etc. which he is in the process of selling. My stuff is just stuff I like, but really do not need.

June 04, 2012 10:41 AM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Evelyn:  I have had various collections in my life and then, whooosh, I change my taste and those Lladro figurines are not wanted, the beads - gone, and so on.  Have to say that when I am done with a collection I look for a new home for the things.  LOL

June 04, 2012 10:55 AM
Rainmaker
60,849
Gail Fabiani
Right at Home Realty Inc., Brokerage

As a boomer and having had to deal with my father's clutter after he passed away, I have vowed to have very little STUFF that my children will have to get rid of.

June 04, 2012 11:05 AM
Rainmaker
255,143
Tim Bradley
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY
Contour Investment Properties

My wife is a pack rat, and I throw everything out. It makes for an interesting dynamic in the household...

June 04, 2012 11:40 AM
Rainmaker
991,624
Sharon Tara
New Hampshire Home Stager
Sharon Tara Transformations

I started "collecting" home decorating accessories when I started my staging business 6 years ago.  I stopped providing accessories 2 years ago, but still have so many items.  The last two yard sales were supposed to be when I got rid of them....just couldn't do it.  Now that I've moved and have less storage space, I'm having to get really serious about what I hang on to.  Yard sale is Saturday!

June 04, 2012 01:40 PM
Ambassador
405,056
Jo-Anne Smith, Sales Representative
Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Region Real E

Great post, Valerie!  It's amazing how much stuff we collect over the course of our lives.....my weakness is china.

Jo

June 04, 2012 03:26 PM
Rainmaker
548,448
Janice Ankrett
Burlington Ont. Accredited Staging Professional
Janice Ankrett Home Staging

Valerie, if only my sons had homes large enough to take some of this 'stuff' LOL. Of course their tastes are so different that I'm just going to have to break down and hold a huge garage sale LOL.

June 04, 2012 03:35 PM
Rainmaker
404,880
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty

Valerie, I better show this to the Queen of nick knacks, my mom! She has one more option...make 6 piles, one for each of her daughters and families.

June 04, 2012 08:27 PM
Rainmaker
338,151
Lloyd Binen
Silicon Valley R since 1976;408-565-8177
Certified Realty Services

This is a great topic that I'm encountering more often in my professional and personal life.  All the stuff memorabilia.  Too often people leave it for the heirs to deal with.  Wait long enough and you can't remember how it relates to anything and then just toss it.

June 05, 2012 10:24 AM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Gail:  It is a difficult vow to keep.  You have to be vigilent about keeping the collections in check.

Tim:  You and I are similar.  Don't like it, don't use it, don't want it.  Bye. Bye.

Sharon:  I hope people see your great stuff and that it flies out the house.  Good luck with the garage sale.

Jo:  China!  how wonderful but it does take space.  Still, all of those antique shows and sales have china that is difficult to resist.  

June 06, 2012 04:29 AM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Janice:  I have some friends who are saving furniture for their kids - that I am sure their kids will NEVER take.  Kijiji is good and you would be surprised what people will buy.

Ellen:  Watch out - that wonderful mother of yours could make your home her museum.  LOL

June 06, 2012 04:31 AM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Lloyd:  Well, if you can't remember then the kids will certainly not know what things have sentimental value.  Of course, there could be the secret stash of cash hidden in the book collection so best to flip through the pages before boxing them up to go.  LOL

June 06, 2012 04:33 AM
Rainmaker
991,624
Sharon Tara
New Hampshire Home Stager
Sharon Tara Transformations

HUGE success!  The stuff flew out and we made more than we ever expected.  One full jeep to Goodwill was all it took to empty the garage after all was done.  Many comments throughout the day about "best yard sale ever" and "yard sale to top all yard sales!"  Couldn't be happier!

June 11, 2012 04:12 PM
Rainmaker
574,918
Valerie Zinger
Home Organizer
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Sharon:   Yippee.  I am so glad for you.  It must have been a hoot to see people picking through all of those treasures, paying for them and giving them a new home.  Now you will have more space - just for you.  

June 13, 2012 06:43 AM
Anonymous
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Rainmaker
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Valerie Zinger

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