What to do with those memorable (or not so memorable) items

A scrapbook I made of when the University of Nebraska won the football national championship in 1970-71, a plate with a photo of a church in Nebraska, a bright colored tie I made for my dad in the ’70s, my book of tips when I was a waitress in the ’70s, my childhood bath towel with my name on it. What do all of these have in common? They are memories I have actually saved all of these years. Why do I bring them up?

My sisters in Minneapolis and Milwaukee have been meeting on Zoom so that we can at least “see” each other since we aren’t traveling. One of the things we started doing was having a “Show and Tell” with our memories of growing up in Nebraska. Those items take on a whole different meaning when they are shared. What we are finding when we look at them together is how ridiculous and worthless they are. We end up being quite humbled about the things we thought were important enough to save. Questions like “Why did you keep that?” “What would you ever do with that?” “Would anyone want this?” We have shared a lot of laughs, understanding that what we saved is quite unimpressive.

I started thinking, “What if I died and my family opened this box?” They would think I was crazy and probably not even know where this box of “stuff” came from. I’m sure it would go directly into a dumpster.

But, here is the hard part. Now that I have saved this box for so long, isn’t it worth something? How many of us watch shows like “Antique Roadshow” and wonder if any of our treasures are valuable? Maybe we have that one item that is worth thousands of dollars.

So, what should we do with all of those childhood memories? I made a plan for some of it.

I have little neighborhood kids that would love to go through the box and if they see any “treasures” they like, they may take them home (sorry, moms).

I am also taking the box to my next family reunion. There are some local Nebraska “treasures” that should go back where they came from. A couple of items are from my dad when he was in the Army during World War II — a hat and a sewing kit. These items should go to the grandchildren to remember their grandfather.

The point is that when we have “heirlooms,” there may be a place for them where someone else can enjoy them. They do no good in a box. If you know someone who would enjoy your things you no longer use, share with them. It brings me joy when I can make someone else happy in even a small way.

“Surprise” someone with the “treasures” you have accumulated and let them have fun with them.

Doris Puls, of D & O Decluttering and Organizing, is a professional organizer whose mission is to make a difference in the lives of the people she works with in homes and businesses. Reach her at organizealpena@gmail.com or at 989-356-9545.


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