We all have those memories we associate with items, whether we want to admit we do or not. We aren’t just holding on to those ticket stubs to clutter our junk drawers, or night stands; we hold on to this items because they remind us of that time we saw our Dad’s favorite band with him for his birthday, or when you decided to finally go to a movie by yourself. Holding on to these items remind you of these times you don’t want your mind to forget.
I will admit, I do have to watch what I keep and what I toss because, more-times-than-not, I want to just trash everything and I eventually become sad that I did throw out that ticket stub from when I saw Harry Potter at midnight, the first time without a parent. Slowly over the years, I have devised a way to figure out if my trinkets and baubles are worth keeping and I am going to share these tricks with you.
1. Am I only keeping this because I feel like I have to? If you were gifted a present, a trinket from a family member, and you don’t have a place for it in your home, on a shelf or in a memory box, than offer it to a sibling or cousin. Keep the sentimental object in the family, but pass it to another family member who this trinket may mesh better with. The same goes with presents, but I’d re-gift those outside of the family just in case!
2. Did I keep this with intentions of greatness? We all keep those little pieces of felt from a craft project just in case you need it again. But when it comes to a drawer full of ticket stubs and a 5-gallon bucket full of wine corks, then you need to start evaluating: am I going to ever truly use these? (Sorry this is a dual-question, question.) I will admit I have a gallon bag full of bottle caps because I want to make all these crafts I see with them, but in all honesty, I’m not going to wear them as jewelry, or fill a tabletop with them, so I need to gift them to a crafter who will. If you have something like my bag of bottle tops, then maybe you need to reconsider that craft project.
3. Is this a present from a family member/friend/lover who you no longer interact with, or are unable to interact with due to life events? If you have a little keepsake from a loved one no longer with us, then you might want to find a small space on a bookshelf, or on your nightstand. I can speak from experience where ridding yourself of everything isn’t always the best option. I had some small doilies knitted for me by my Grandma and in one of my cleaning hauls I got rid of them and now with her not here, I wish I had kept the little trinkets she had made me. I’ve come to terms with it myself that I don’t have those anymore, and I suggest you reconsider getting rid of these direly sentimental items.
4. Does this remind me of a place I traveled to, or an experience I had only once? If you have traveled to faraway places, or taken part in conventions that were one time events for you, it might not be a bad idea to keep these little (or big) objects. If you have a pine cone from the top of the tallest mountain you’ve climbed, then keep it; if you have 20 pine cones from the top of that mountain maybe you reconsider keeping just one, or maybe this started out as #2 up there. Experiencing certain feelings in these specific places can really tie you to objects. I have rain water from Yellowstone National Park from when I went back in 2002; why do I have this? I don’t know! Because it never grew any mold, which I thought was weird, and I wanted to remind myself of this time where I was able to bike through mountains with my brother and not worry about cars hitting me, or scary weirdos in the park.
Holding on to knickknacks isn’t always the worst option you can choose. Keeping a couple of these items will not make you a hoarder who can’t let go of the past. And once you realize how to successfully ask yourself is this a one-time memory, or something that you can let go (with some deep thinking), then donate it or throw it away and be content.