Simplifying Effortlessly and Without Guilt
By Pam Hudson
Are you hanging onto heirlooms, greeting cards, photos and children’s artwork because you plan to dust them off someday and reuse them? Unlikely. Here are some ways to rethink cherished possessions well into the future.
Frequently, I hear people say they want to pare down, live minimally and reduce their “stuff.” However, when it comes to sentimental items, the tone changes dramatically. “What would my Great Aunt Beezie say if I she knew I got rid of her antique dresser?” My response is “Great Aunt Beezie may have loved that dresser, but that doesn’t mean you have to love it, nor keep it if it doesn’t work for you.”
If you’re only holding onto an inherited item because you feel guilty giving it away, consider the “gift of giving and giving” donation option whereby you donate it to a charitable resale shop, someone who truly loves the piece snatches it up, and the money benefits those in need. Perhaps your dearly departed great aunt would have preferred that option more than the guilt you’re festering by keeping the item.
When my grandmother passed away many years ago, I recall my out-of-town cousins drove up with a U-Haul, and soon after, we waved goodbye to a truckload of her treasures as they drove away. At the time, my heart broke as I watched so many of her possessions disappear from our lives. Now, as an adult, I realize the gift of that act. My cousins were able to fill the gap left empty from infrequent visits with her large possessions, whereas my local family members each chose a few things that truly mattered to us, and to this day continually remind us of the cherished times we spent with our grandmother.
Photos capture special moments in our lives, but whether digital or printed, the bulk of photos rarely appear beyond the click. “What should I do with all these photos,” a client recently asked. Rethink how they’re stored. 1.) Punch a hole in the corner of each photo, feed them onto a hinged metal ring, and leave the bundle on the coffee table, dining table or child’s bed for ongoing reminiscing. 2.) Create photo books, and make one for each family member to have when they fly the coop. 3.) Have photos digitally scanned, then load them onto an electronic picture frame and enjoy them on a loop. 4.) Craft them into postcards and mail them off to those in the picture with a sentimental note about the event.
I’m guilty of keeping far too many “masterpieces” from my little Picasso’s early days than I’d like to admit, however, recently I created a book of her paintings, Play-Doh sculptures, Fancy Nancy diorama, Lego cities and woven friendship bracelets, and the result is tremendous! Under ideal lighting conditions, I creatively snapped photos of each one using my mobile phone, uploaded them to Shutterfly’s Mini Masterpieces’ easy-peasy program, waited until they discounted the book, and voilà, 100 pieces of childhood artwork in one hardbound book with anecdotes detailing her creations. She then sent her originals off to friends and family with (thank-you, birthday, holiday type) messages, and is well on her way to her next collection.
Stay tuned for more organizing and simplifying ideas …