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  1. Cherie Magee says:

    I started my organizing journey by purchasing several plain white binders for my genealogy files. I had binders already but unlabeled, and different colors…This just looks clean and neat. Everything that I had not yet filed or recorded in Ancestry.com went into a file for that family. I will then record and store in the binder one family’s info at a time.
    For the 1,000’s of photos I have, (well _ I am 63, so yes we always got printed photos up until 6 or 7 years ago) I finally decided to organize them by decade then year. Some were easy, but for many it was surprisingly difficult. So I started making a list of major events in our family’s life. Marriages, births, when we moved, when/where we traveled, deaths in the family, even which years we held large Summer Parties.- I either had photos from these events, or was able to at least roughly date other photos by knowing certain dates. The whole family got involved in making the list – that part was actually fun as we each remembered certain events and dates.
    I then tossed lousy pictures and duplicates along the way, as well as some we just don’t care about now (no spark of joy!) I still want to go back and pare down what I kept, but that is a much easier job now. It all went into 4 plain white photo boxes. The 5th box I used for over-sized photos.
    The best part about getting through all the old photos is that it got me motivated to pull out another sentimental item – old letters! I started organizing the same way, but in the end, decided to group the letters by who sent them, and in date order. I read through a fair number of them – and thoroughly enjoyed it. And then reconnected with a couple of these old friends!!. Those letters from my brother who died in 1978 and by father and Grandmother who both died in 1998, were a bit hard to read but that was actually good too. These will go now into 2 clear storage boxes – I would use more photo boxes, but there are too many over-sized letters and cards to fit well. What really feels good, is that neither of these collections is likely to grow any further since the photos are all digital now and we all mostly email now – VERY few letters.

    I must admit though that I did not yet purge any of the old photo albums I made years ago. But I am motivated to get t done as well.A few are falling apart and look awful, so real motivation!

  2. Candice West says:

    This is going to be so hard for me! I am getting older and starting to have memory problems-ugh! Kept items are often how I bring cherished memories to the forefront. A picture might be okay, but touching the items and smelling them seems to be an important part of my memory process. I think my drawer of precious items will have to be dealt with after I am gone.

    1. If it’s important to you, don’t get rid of it! You should only be purging things that don’t bring you joy or aren’t used regularly. It sounds like it’s worth it to you to keep some of that around.

  3. Tammy Richard says:

    QYou could take a picture of the trophy /medals. Then take the name plate off trophy &medal off ribbon & put them in a scrapbook. My kids didn’t want to take their trophy’s & I didn’t want to dust or store them.
    You could even make a photo book with the pictured & write a bit about it. Less clutter.

  4. I have a lot of old ribbons and awards I won when I was young that I have a hard time parting with. Some of them seem odd to display because I was so young. I showcase current running medals, but I have old dance, pageant, gymnastics, and science fair trophies, ribbons, and paper awards. I take them out every now and then. Is it fine to pare it down to a box to store? Or is there another recommended way to deal with these sort of objects? Any idea?

    1. If they make you happy and you have the space for them, definitely keep them! I personally like to keep that sort of thing in a box or something where I can pull it out to easily access when I want.

  5. Thehomeicreate says:

    Amanda, these are great tips for decluttering sentimental items. I’m not even sure if this count’s as sentimental but, my kids papers are the biggest issue for me. I want to keep every scrap of paper they ever wrote or draw on, and everything they bring from school 😬.

    1. I think a lot of people struggle with that! So far I’ve done good with it but I know it’ll get harder as Jack gets older and starts bringing more home!

  6. The sentimental items are the hardest to part with, but these are great tips for alternate uses for them! I’m working on scanning all our old family photos so we have them digitally. Until then though, I’m stuck storing mounds of photo albums!

    1. That’s a fantastic idea – I definitely need to do that too.