Letting Go of Things That Hold Memories: 4 DIY Ideas to Try


Whether you need a seasonal closet cleanout, or a major re-organization of your living space, there’s that much dreaded rule: “Get rid of stuff!” You know, the things you don’t use or need – and it’s not that hard to find some that are in a poor condition, of quality that won’t last, or items that fail to meet your changing criteria of style and comfort. It’s more difficult with anything that was never meant to be necessary or useful, but had an esthetic or sentimental value, or has turned from functional to sentimental because it belonged to somebody special. There are also things that may seem usual, or even outdated, but they have been your reliable companions during some important periods or events in your life.

You can find lots of nearly identical advice assuring you that memories are not things, so nothing will happen to your memories if you stop holding on to what appears to be their containers. It makes sense, but it has mostly failed to help me. I find it extremely difficult, bordering on impossible, to part with the things that are much more than just material objects, or functional items. It’s like betraying good friends, and I admit this is my problem – but also my inspiration, as I don’t feel nice about burying them in their containers, either.

Uncertainty, guilt and sentimental issues make people tuck such things away into the back of a closet or a drawer, or sentence them to years of basement, garage or attic imprisonment. I also used to do this, but I have a different philosophy now: either I display a memorable object and give it the attention it deserves, or I can’t hold it hostage. I allow it to step into the spotlight, or else out of my house. Perhaps it sounds just as harsh and challenging as the “get rid of things because they are not memories” advice, but it works for me. It helps me pick the things I value the most to display them in my house, while letting go of other ones, or keeping only a part of them to turn it into something else. Why not give them a new life? Here are some ideas:

Kids’ Artwork

Parents are delighted with every scribble their little ones produce, but no wall space would be enough to showcase all that art – so some people have boxes of such masterpieces piling up over the years. Even if you are not a fan of scrapbooking, you can use kids’ artwork as a great background for your family photos – just paste it onto the self-adhesive pages of photo albums, and place photos next to it, or on top of it (in this case you may need some glue). If your kids are still small, this is easy and fun to do together. If they have already grown up, you can take photos of whatever is stored in boxes as a memory of their childhood years, and store it as digital images instead.