Decluttering Gifts and Keepsakes

AngieMemoryBoxIt was 20 degrees outside yesterday so we thought it might be a great time to tackle our memory boxes in the front hall closet. Both Angie and I have plastic bins stuffed full of gifts and keepsakes we’ve been carting around since childhood. Many of the items have long since lost their sentimentality. In fact, we each found photos and items in our boxes that neither of us had any recollection of who or what they were. I had an envelope full of pictures of children I can’t recall ever meeting. Maybe they were kids from the summer I worked at the YMCA. Maybe they were friends of my niece when she was a child. Who knows!

When you’re new to minimalism and decluttering for the first time, getting rid of photos, gifts, and keepsakes is extremely hard. We’ve been practicing minimalists for four year and this was our 3rd pass at the memory boxes. This time we were really able to make some headway. And it felt great!

MelodyDeclutterBoxI think time definitely makes it easier to declutter keepsakes but another thing that really helped us this time around was watching Minimalism: A Documentary on Netflix last week. In the film, Joshua Fields Millburn (from The Minimalists) talked about how he got rid of all of his photos and kept only the memory of the occasion in his mind. Just seeing someone else do it was powerful enough motivation for us to finally step over the hump ourselves.

Together, we got rid of more than 1,500 photos yesterday. (I didn’t count them individually for our 2017 in 2017 Challenge but rather as 1 item). We both kept our baby photos and the photos of my niece growing up. I’m fairly certain, I’m the only one who has pictures of her childhood and perhaps she may want to share them with her own child one day. A lot of the photos we decluttered were scenery photos taken from childhood trips. Some were snapshots of school friends. Others were duplicates and triplicates of the same scene. It’s crazy what all a person saves in the name of memory preservation!

Bathroom ClosetIn addition to the memory boxes, we went through a box of quilts in our bedroom closet and 3 storage drawers of miscellaneous crafting items and general odds and ends. We were able to move all of my grandma’s handmade quilts into the linen closet so we can actually use them and we repurposed the storage drawers after decluttering their contents. One is now a first aid and cold remedy drawer and the other is home to our extra light bulbs, wax melts, and water filters.

We removed 90 items from our home yesterday, bringing our YTD total to 110 items.


Weekly Progress to Goals Report

    • No Spend Days = 5
      YTD = 5/200
    • Meatless Days = 3
      YTD = 3/144
    • Miles Walked/Hiked = 16/0
      YTD = 16/1,000 and 0/100
    • Decluttered Items = 110
      YTD = 110/2017
    • Side Hustle Income = $25.30
      YTD = $25.30/$1,825
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3 thoughts on “Decluttering Gifts and Keepsakes

  1. I’m dealing with photo memorabilia by either scanning individual items or photographing background groups of shots so they can be passed on to family – direct aim is to free up space as we are downsizing this year. The same works for sentimental objects that have passed their usefulness. Enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Be careful – I’ve lost batches of things to the cloud when accounts/emails and the like have changed over time and they have become irretrievable. Gather CD roms (and their drives) may soon be a thing of the past, as well. Minimal thinking on this is a good idea – don’t take/keep so much in the first place sounds like a good idea!

        Liked by 1 person

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