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 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, 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.