Organizing our memories
Memories, they are worth more then any price tag, they help to make us who we are but there are times when clinging to memories might hold us back from living in the present. Over this year I have been on an organizing journey to work my way month-by-month through the book, “One Year to an Organized life,” by Regina Leeds. So far I have addressed the kitchen, garage, bedroom, bathroom, office papers, and travel. This month was one of the hardest and well… I kind of failed.
This month we tackle our collections and memorabilia. This may not seem like much but memories and some pretty intense feelings can be wrapped up into these type items. That is what makes this so much more difficult to organize and purge from.
Whatever the item is in this category, it evokes a memory or a time we felt better about ourselves, our environment, our life. It reminds us of possibilities that were open that might now be closed, comfort and easy that is lost to us in our current life, people who we can no longer be with. All these situations live in our memories and we have placed these memories into a physical item. So each time we look at them, we can become that person again, at least for the moment.
In this chapter the author brings up several very valid points to help you to let go of these items. She states that many people hold on to college memorabilia because they mistakenly believe that was when they “peaked” in their life. But here is another gem of wisdom found in the pages of this book.
How many of us do this?
We fixate on the past and don’t live in the moment. I will admit I have not shown gratitude for today. What I thought was preserving the past kind of took over. See, I have been an avid scrap booker since before I got married. I loved the idea of preserving a moment of time on a scrapbook page. It was a creative outlet I shared with friends. As I had children I preserved the experience and their growth through these scrapbooks.
As they grew and my time began to fill with other things, I still felt the intense responsibility to preserve a history for my family. I actually made the fun activity of scrapbooking into something on my to-do list. A chore. No one was making me do it. I put this idea in my head and the pressure on myself was completely made up. Until one day, I decided to stop. Just stop.
I finally came to the realization I was not enjoying it anymore. The truth is my family and I have not cracked open any of these scrapbooks in years. With the exception of their baby books, they really have no interest in them. I was doing this solely for me it turns out, and when it stopped being fun what was the point? My kids where living for today so why shouldn’t I. So where did I fail you ask?
What was left in the wake of all of this scrapbook collecting was a cabinet full of scrapbooking supplies, crafts and memorabilia. Yes, I had been the one who saved every award, every drawing and every photo of every event in my children’s life. There tiny hand-print turkey, the good citizen award, and all the colorful scribbles of pre-school. Where I failed is that I can’t let them go. Not just yet.
The author is right on the mark when she states these collections make us think of a time when our life was more interesting, or exciting. I look at these and think back to a time my children where smaller, and more needy. Where I felt more important to them. When, for a small moment of time, I was someone’s world. Like they are for me.
This collection makes me feel that again and if I am honest with myself I’m not ready to let it go just yet. I know it will happen sometime. Our house is small and I can only save so much before it gets out of control, so I know the time will come when I have to let it go.
As for now I followed some of the books instruction which helped me let go, a least a little. Collections are meant to be displayed so I took some of the newer drawings and awards and put them on the doors of each child’s bedroom. I also stopped printing pictures unless I had a specific purpose for them. Now I organize and store them digitally. This has gone a long way to reducing the clutter of printed pictures that had been accumulating.
So for now my children’s memorabilia sit in a cabinet awaiting the day I return to scrapbooking for fun or the time I am emotionally ready to let it go. Currently, I only get rid of a few things every couple of weeks rand I’m ok with that. I know letting go is an evolution and the key is to start.