Keep the Memories, Not the Stuff

Tips for dealing with emotional clutter while preserving family history

“Tidying sentimental items means putting the past in order.”
-Marie Kondo

  • Step 1:  Weed through what you’ve got

    • When sorting through photos, remember that you don’t need to keep (or preserve) them all! Toss out doubles, scenery shots from past vacations, and photos with people who you cannot name.  You can also toss out any unflattering photos of you or your loved ones!  Here’s your chance to touch up history!
    • Ask yourself: how many photos do I need of one particular event (i.e. your sister’s baby shower)?  For instance, when my kids build a snowman I probably take 5-10 photos.  I only keep the best 2-3.
    • When it comes to keepsake items, ask yourself: Does the item bring back a happy memory, or an unpleasant one?
  • Step 2:  Digitize (and backup) what’s important

    • Audio recording of loved one’s stories: Voices in Time – Judy Shutts, 402-429-1935
    • HOPE Organizing – Omaha, NE – Lisa Moritz, 402-350-3220
    • Schramek Video Productions: convert slides and old home movies, 402-475-2767
    • Legacy Box – a national company that converts it all:
    • Backup your digital files!
      • provides an easy, no hassle backup service for a monthly fee.

Other Helpful Tips:

  • Ask yourself – “Why am I keeping this?”
  • Who or what does this item remind you of?  Is that a memory worth keeping?  If you get rid of the item, will you lose the memory?
  • Only keep what you can USE or DISPLAY.  Don’t keep something just to store it in a closet, basement or attic.
  • Ask yourself:  How many objects from one particular event or person do I need to keep?