Welcome to Week 6 of the Summer Shred Challenge, where we’ll take on the formidable topic of organizing paper memorabilia. If you’re new to the challenge, be sure to check out the challenge assignments from previous weeks and schedule a time in the future to complete those assignments.
In Week 1, we set up a system for managing the mail. During Week 2 and Week 3, we put systems in place for managing reference papers. We turn our attention to the papers that flow into the home via our childrens’ backpacks in Week 4 and Week 5.
Which brings us to our current challenge…the paper memorabilia that we’ve collected over the decades.
Sometimes it takes the form of newspaper clippings:
Sometimes it takes the form of homemade cards:
For others, it consists of playbills, programs, or ticket stubs from concerts, sports events, or tourist attractions you’ve enjoyed during a family vacation.
We keep these things because they serve as a reminder of memories we hold dearly in our hearts. It’s truly important to make room in our lives for these things, since they connect us to our past. But… it’s important to set ground rules and limits for what you choose to keep and how you will store the items. As you go through this process, you’ll need to conduct your own “cost/benefit analysis” asking yourself if the benefit of holding onto each sentimental item outweighs the cost associated with keeping it (space required, time necessary to maintain, etc.).
TIPS FOR KEEPING PAPER MEMORABILIA CLUTTER UNDER CONTROL
Use Limiting Containers
Like fine chocolate, paper memorabilia is best enjoyed in limited quantities. The less you keep, the more you will treasure what you have! A good way to set limits on the amount of items you will keep is to decide beforehand on the amount of space in your home you deem appropriate for storing various types of paper memorabilia (trip momentos, concert/sports tickets, greeting cards, etc.) and then selecting containers that match the capacity of your pre-determined limit.
When your container becomes full, that serves as your cue to re-evaluate the contents of the container. You’ll be forced to prioritize what items to keep and to determine what items are no longer as meaningful to you. You’ll have to purge those items in order to make room for new ones.
Create Memorabilia Displays
My philosophy regarding memorabilia is that we should incorporate it into our daily lives as much as possible. Sentimental items should be given a place of honor in your home by being displayed or used. For example, my husband is a huge sports fan and has amassed a significant collection of sports memorabilia over the years. Together, we created a series of shadow boxes (each based on a sports/team theme), and they are prominently displayed in his Man Cave and enjoyed on a daily basis.
His tribute to the Cleveland Cavaliers:
His collection of favorite golf courses and golf partners:
And one of many tributes to the Pittsburgh Steelers:
A great way to reduce sentimental paper clutter is to scan and digitize the paper. Newspaper clippings are an ideal candidate for this, since this type of paper tends to deteriorate rapidly over time. Once your items are scanned, you can simply keep them as digital files on your computer, organize them in notebooks within Evernote, or create digital photo books or scrapbooks. The possibilities are endless!
Pass It On
As you re-evaluate your collection of memorabilia, consider passing items onto others if they no longer bring you joy or have significance in your life. For example, you may have inherited a collection of family memorabilia. Perhaps you can keep the items that are most meaningful to you, and offer the other items to family members who might value them more.
Perhaps there are items in your memorabilia collection that are no longer meaningful to you, but they have achieved the status of a collector’s item over time (e.g., sports memorabilia). Consider selling these types of items through an online auction site such as Ebay. You’ll be reducing your sentimental “clutter” and making some money at the same time.
TIPS FOR ORGANIZING & STORING PAPER MEMORABILIA
Create a Memorabilia Zone
Designate one central area in your home to store all of the various categories of paper memorabilia (preferably a climate-controlled portion of your home). Some areas to consider include a closet in the guest room, under a bed, and a cabinet in the laundry room. Choose a location that is easily accessible, so that your family members can access and enjoy the items you keep in storage from time to time.
Use Archival Quality Containers
If you intend to keep paper memorabilia to hand down to future generations, consider investing in archival quality containers. These containers will slow down the natural deterioration process of items such as newspaper clippings as much as possible. You can download my Digital Photo Organizing Tool Kit, which includes a resource list of products for this purpose.
Categorize and Label
Create systems that enable you to easily retrieve items. Do this by categorizing paper memorabilia by theme (e.g.,by sports team, by holiday, by vacation destination, by era) and by using labels to identify these categories. It’s also important to think about how you can communicate the significance of each item to family members who may be going through your collection in the future after you pass away. Consider creating a document that summarizes the content of each bin, in which you can note important dates, people, etc. pertaining to each key piece of memorabilia.
If you have not yet read the overview of the challenge, do that first before proceeding to this week’s assignment.
Your Assignment for Week 6 – Organizing Paper Memorabilia
1. Designate a zone in your home for storing your collection of paper memorabilia
2. Determine your personal limit for storing various categories of memorabilia and select limiting containers
3. Evaluate the items in your collection, and let go of the items that are no longer significant and/or no longer “spark joy”
4. Make a plan for displaying memorabilia and bringing it into your everyday life
5. Be sure to allow sufficient time to reminisce as you complete this week’s assignment!
Share how you’re progressing throughout the Challenge by leaving a comment below!
This post is part of the 13-Week Summer Shred Paper Declutter Challenge
Just discovered the Challenge? I invite you to read the Challenge Overview post first. You can then begin to work your way through the weekly Challenge assignments below:
Week 1: Mail
Week 2: Handy Reference
Week 3: Long-Term Reference
Week 4: School Papers
Week 5: Kids’ Art
Week 6: Memorabilia
Week 7: Manuals & Warranties
Week 8: Catalogs & Magazines
Week 9: Receipts
Week 10: Business Cards
Week 11: Lists & Notes
Week 12: Recipes
Week 13: Coupons