The stylish formal cocktail dress you wore in 1987. That growing stack of Christmas, birthday and thank you notes that, well, keeps growing. Those Beanie Babies, comic books and dolls your children played with twenty-five years ago. Yes, there are some things that we hate to part with, and, frankly, they really do need to go. If you are downsizing or moving out-of-state, it’s time to take stock of those things gathering dust.
Most individual’s favorite things are most often aligned with special memories and moments. I am one of those people who has been guilty of keeping holiday cards and birthday cards, year in and year out, to remember a special gift or note from someone close to me. Truth is, I put them in a container and didn’t touch them again. I moved them from one house to another. As I look ahead to my next home, somewhere in a little sleepy beach town, I have been on a mission to clean things up and toss them out, and simplify my stacks.
What are the common items people keep? One of the biggest keepsakes for women is their wedding dress. Many have them dry-cleaned and professionally stored. Question: are you going to wear it again? Probably not. Will your daughter? Highly unlikely. Some ideas to keep the memory alive: have the dress made into a christening dress for your grandchild or into a special pillow, or as a piece of something “old” that you can use to wrap a gift for your child’s wedding.
Love letters. Yes, I admit I have some of those along with cards from old boyfriends. My mother still has a stack from my father when he was traveling. If they are yours, keep them. If they belonged to your parents, think about doing something sentimental, such as burn them and distribute those ashes in their favorite place. Send that love into the atmosphere!
Photos. No, boxes of old photos. We all have them. I found a group on photos my father took of a lake. Lots of lake pictures. They do not mean a thing to me. They found the trash can. If there are duplicates, share them with your siblings. Save the ones that are unique, memorable, and personal: your parents’ wedding picture, a group shot of a family reunion, that photo of your grandma at Ellis Island. The rest you can pick and choose and put into an online document or photo album.
Do you still have many of your kids’ toys stored in the attic? Do what my mother did: she told us to pick what we wanted or she was sending to charity. It worked. Some things were favorites. Others we decided were in bad shape and not what any of our kids wanted to play with.
Books. Okay, so I still have a library stored at my mother’s house. I collected books. First editions and a complete library of Nancy Drew Mysteries, along with classics. Plowing through those and moving them is a monumental task. Many local libraries are happy to take books off of your hands and there is always EBay and Craig’s List. Sell your heart out.
I think everyone I graduated from high school with received a full set of luggage. I did…baby blue, heavy, cumbersome and now out-of-date. I have donated mine to Goodwill and Faith Mission. Everything was in good shape, but not conducive to how I travel now. I need those rollers!
Other items, such as fine china (who uses this anymore), antiques, various appliances, and even your wardrobe, can all be taking up excess space. It’s time to clean house and live simply and efficiently. Think of it in the grand scheme of things: less is definitely more! Happy Cleaning!