3 Steps to Quickly Sort Through Memorabilia

3 Steps to Quickly Sort Through Memorabilia - Clean Mama

For many, myself included, sorting through memorabilia is one of the most difficult organizing and decluttering tasks. It is hard to not attach memories and feelings to some of those special pieces. I am not going to tell you to sort through everything and take mental pictures of it all before you toss or donate it or to ask if it is really all that special. Memorabilia is personal and everyone has a different interpretation of what falls under keep worthy or not. Because of memorabilia’s nature, it doesn’t fall under my typical sorting pattern. I have a fairly simple method of keeping things that are special and important that I hope will help you as you begin this task. The goal is not to make it overly complicated or involved, but to create several containing systems or spots in which to save these special and important pieces and then file it accordingly.

You may wish to alter my rules and you are certainly welcome to do that. Chances are, you’re a little less or more sentimental, so tailor the rules as needed.

Three action steps:

Start with the really old items:
Begin with the really old things that you have been holding on to for years and years. These are the things that you know you really have no reason to keep and aren’t overly attached to. Spend a little time doing a quick purge of these items, moving quickly and efficiently without spending time to over-analyze. Label the things you are keeping by year or era. Examples of categories may be high school, college, wedding, grandma’s items, 1990-1995 etc.  Working chronologically backwards is helpful for me as those are the things that are harder to remember where they’re from and why I kept them in the first place.  If you find yourself not remembering or knowing why you kept something, it’s probably time to donate or toss.

Choose a bin for each child:
If you have children, use a bin or a box to store things that aren’t paper in nature and therefore can’t be filed or stored flat. These may be items such as special outfits or blankets. Keep it in their bedroom closest that you can easily access it and look through it with them. There is no sense in keeping these special items stored in the basement or tucked into a dark corner where no one will ever even look at them.  Having a bin for each child also limits the sheer amount of stuff that is kept as well.

Pick a method that works for you:
Establish a workable method from this point forward that works for you and your family. If you get all the old stuff sorted and don’t have a plan for implementing the deluge of papers and memorabilia that come in to the house, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed again.  I choose to keep our children’s special papers in a file drawer that has a file folder for each year. Artwork and larger pieces get stored in a large folder. You can also take pictures of artwork and special pieces and save them digitally as well. The file folder method can easily be used for other memorabilia as well. Scrapbooks, both digital or paper, are also a great method to keep the memorabilia out of the closer and in to a special, easily accessible place.

These three action steps have been invaluable for me as I decide how and what to keep. Only you can truly determine what is important enough to keep and what you can do without. If you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of what you have to go through or it is emotionally difficult, start small so you don’t get overwhelmed. With the implementation of these steps, memorabilia doesn’t have to overwhelm you or stay stashed in chaos in your closets, garage, basement, or storage.

Quick Tip : On Your Way Up Basket

Quick Tip - Use An On Your Way Up Basket via Clean MamaYears ago I talked about this tip and today I’m bringing it back because it’s still working for us and I think it’s a great tip!

QUICK TIP : Use a basket (or a bag, bin, or tub) to corral items from one area to be returned later to another area.

Put Stuff In Here and Bring It Up 'On Your Way Up' via Clean Mama

We do a little clean up in the evenings before dinner – I either set a timer for the kids for 5 minutes or we’ll just have a contest to see who can pick up the most items from the lower level.  (With a preschooler that loves Duplos, this is pretty easy.)  The kids bring any items upstairs that need to be in their rooms and they check the basket on the steps to see what else needs to be returned to their proper places.

On Your Way Up Basket via Clean Mama

How do the items get in the basket?  It’s basically anything that we don’t want to bring upstairs right now.  So during the day it might be a couple socks left on the floor or a toy I find in the refrigerator and it can also be if the kids don’t want to bring it up right now.  This works well for us because sometimes you just don’t want to go all the way upstairs to put one sock away.  (Yes, this sounds lazy, but I bet you feel this way too :))  Everything gets returned to its proper place at the end of the day and that’s what matters.

So tell me – do you have an ‘on your way up basket’?

6 Surfaces to Clear If Your House Feels Cluttered

6 Surfaces to Clear If Your House Feels Cluttered via Clean Mama

Clean and cleared surfaces add that breathing room that your home desperately needs.  But do you feel like everyone is talking about clutter and how we need it out of our homes right now?  I think that the key is to deal with the clutter every single day and have a plan for when it does come into the house (school papers, mail, stuff).  If you’ve seen my cleaning routine, you know that ‘clutter’ is on the daily routine because if it isn’t dealt with daily it’s going to become a problem (for me).

But what if you haven’t dealt with the clutter daily and need to start somewhere?  Try clearing a couple surfaces.  I promise you’ll feel better and like you can continue with the decluttering process.  It might just be what you need to get started. One surface at a time and within minutes you’ll start feeling like you’re making progress.

Clear Kitchen Counters via Clean Mama

KITCHEN COUNTERS  – Counters tend to be clutter collectors, but they don’t have to be!  Quickly remove any and all clutter from your kitchen counters and place it on your kitchen table.  Wipe your counters with your favorite cleaner or with a sponge and warm, soapy water.  Put away/keep/toss any clutter so that it doesn’t go back on the counters.

Wash Counters via Clean Mama

REFRIGERATOR – Have lists and reminders plastered on the front and sides?  Remove them and quickly keep or toss necessary paper and reminders.  Give it a quick wipe down concentrating on the handles and getting rid of fingerprints.  (If you have stainless steel appliances, you’ll love this trick.)

Clean Refrigerator via Clean Mama

KITCHEN SINK – A clean kitchen sink just screams tidy, don’t you think?  Take a couple minutes and empty your sink, put clean dishes away, and load up your dishwasher.  Run the dishwasher if it’s full or if you don’t have a dishwasher, wash and dry the dishes.  Once the sink is empty, give it a little squirt of dish soap and a scrub it up.  Need a little abrasive cleaning?  You can add a little baking soda to the dish soap to make an all-purpose scrub and scrub away.  Put out a clean dish towel and move on to the next surface.

Step-by-Step Nightly Sink Scrub via Clean Mama

BATHROOM COUNTERS – If you have extra time, go into your bathrooms, clear and wipe down all the counters.  If you only have a couple minutes, go into the master or main bathroom and clear the counters and wipe them down.  Put out clean hand towels to complete the cleaned up look.

Continue and Repeat in Other Bathrooms via Clean Mama

NIGHTSTAND – Begin and end the day with a relaxed space by clearing your nightstand.  Return any items that don’t belong on your nightstand to their homes.  Give your nightstand a quick dusting and return necessary items like lotion and your current reads.

Keep Books in a Basket and Small Personal Items in a Cute Dish via Clean Mama

WORK SPACE – If you have a desk or area where you pay bills, work from home, etc.  Quickly pick up any loose papers and odds and ends.  Clear the space and return items to their proper homes.

Just like that you’ve given your house a little clean reset and you’re ready for a new day!  What must-do cleaning task would you add to the list?  What are you going to do today?

A couple links you might enjoy – just click the image to go to the page…..

Six Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean via Clean Mama

4 Simple Steps to Clear Kitchen Counters (For Good) via Clean Mama

Feeling Overwhelmed Try one of these simple tasks via Clean Mama

If you need a little help with the dailies, check out Homekeeping Society – it’s a monthly subscription designed to simplify your life!


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