How to Deal With the Keepsakes You Shouldn’t Save

I like journals, but I’m a selective recorder. Some things are better left in the past.

At the end of my time here, I want my cherished keepsakes to fill a box, not a storage unit.

Doing this means letting go of the keepsakes that have a neutral or negative quality, and it’s not just so mementos can fit in a box of a certain size, but so I can enjoy them now.

It’s not automatically easy, so here is a guide to help you sort through keepsakes that you shouldn’t be keeping:

Neutral Keepsakes

Neutral keepsakes are what I call short-term keepsakes. They are appreciated now, but you don’t need to save them for all time. You certainly wouldn’t need to scrapbook them. These are usually pieces of paper such as greeting cards, a program from an event you went to or a participation certificate—a “thanks for coming” gift that’s not really too important.

The way to know for sure if something is a short-term keepsake is to see how you feel about it as time goes by. If you care about it less and less, you won’t miss it later. Go ahead and recycle it.

Be sure the things you are saving are about you and your family. You don’t need to save the program from a friend’s wedding ceremony just to prove you care about her. That belongs in her keepsake box, not yours.

Negative Keepsakes

Negative keepsakes, the things you save because they feel like part of your life story, but they make you cringe (such as bad photographs and journals about feeeeeeelings) are something you should deal with too.

“I have years worth of diaries or journals that I am not sure what to do with. I don’t want anyone else to read them, and yet some have almost a negative-sentimental value. I still keep a small calendar each year and write what happened each day – helps for medical, family events, things to remember if need be. Any advice as to letting go?” -M

[Read more...]

11 Tips to Host a Group of Overnight Guests

I enjoy having guests drop by without a lot of notice, and that happens often.

Surprise guests are easier because you don’t have to clean much ahead of time. They get what they get. It’s real-life living.

On Friday last week one of Doug’s work associates stopped by in the morning. (We live in a location that’s really convenient.) It was breakfast time so my kitchen was messy, but at least the kids were dressed, so I fixed him a scrambled egg and a few slices of fresh tomato, and they had a meeting at the breakfast table.

Later that afternoon my daughter invited a friend to play, and then in the evening we had some friends stop by and visit. The weekend would be busy because we planned to have a whole bunch of house guests on Saturday.

I don’t mind last-minute overnight guests either, like the time I met a traveling Chinese student and invited her to come stay with my family instead of at the youth hostel. She agreed she would like to, and it wasn’t so very unusual because this was when we lived in Florence and I met new people all the time. She got on the bus with me, pulling her wheeled suitcase behind her. I was surprised that she would be willing to stay at a stranger’s house, but I guess my two little kids made me look safe and trustworthy. Doug was not surprised when I showed up at the door with a two-night house guest. I am glad she stayed with us.

Planned guests take more work because you don’t have that excuse, “Oh, what a nice surprise to see you. Come on in.” You have to clean more ahead of time, and it’s especially hard when you have little kids who work against you to undo your cleaning efforts.

Planned overnight guests require even more planning efforts. I’ve lived in many apartments that I never had more than one or two house guests at the same time.

Last weekend was the first time we had so many people stay with us that the ratio of people to bathrooms was 12:1 and that, my friends, required careful planning.

[Read more...]

Clean Out Summer’s Wardrobe

clean out old clothes

The last weeks of summer vacation were crazy-busy, but one thing I made time for (and I’m so glad I did), is to go through my wardrobe and remove my worn-out summer clothes.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought new clothes for summer, so most of mine are faded or no longer fit. I decided to clean them out now rather than to continue looking at them in my closet. I have a few remaining summer dresses and a few shirts and two shorts. Those will be enough as I transition into fall.

It will be summer weather a while longer here in Texas, so I’ll gradually start mixing in fall pieces. I’ll see what I need to add to my wardrobe, and by that time the fall clothes will all be on sale.

It’s so much easier to refresh a fall wardrobe by taking out what is old and worn out rather than starting with buying new. If I didn’t think I would be glad to see certain clothes next spring, they went in the donation bin or the rag pile.

I sorted through my daughter’s clothes too and took out the outgrown play clothes so that it would be easier for her to get dressed for school. One thing we try to do during the school year is choose her clothes for the next week on Sunday nights. It makes it so much easier for her to get ready on weekday mornings.

Getting my closet ready for fall, even though the weather isn’t quite here, makes me feel organized and ready.

Are you planning to clean out your closet too?

clear the clutter