Thursday, June 9, 2011

30 days of work in the home --

Memories and Mementos

The home worker who feels overwhelmed is often someone who is sentimental and keeps too many things because of the emotional attachment that the things represent. That's one of my weak areas.

Of course, a home is not a home without some items that represent meaning to us and to our families. As Mimi Does says in Busy but Balanced, "There needs to be a space for the mementos that support the souls of those of us living here -- objects with a story, creations made by small hands, treasures found in nature, collections gathered over time, photographs that ignite memories."

So, what are some wise tips for dealing with items of sentimental value?

1) Do not equate people with things. A lovely gift from a beloved friend can cheer up your home. A beautiful heirloom from a grandparent or parent can trigger happy memories. However, if you are keeping something that triggers only grief or pain or that you really don't like, remember that you don't have to keep it just because someone gave it to you. You can honor a living person or remember someone who has passed away in other ways.
2) As we move through the different seasons of our lives, different things will have meaning to us. Periodically evaluate what you are keeping and why.
3) If you have trouble making decisions about sentimental items, you can employ a number of methods to help you. Talk the decision over with your spouse, a trusted friend, or an adult child. Ask for their honest input. They may not be able to decide for you how you feel about an object. However, hearing their thoughts can help you discern your true feelings about it. Plus, if you are keeping something with the idea that someone else will want it some day and you find out that they will not, you can let it go.
4) Learn how to store photographs, linens, and valuable objects. If you do not keep them out on display or in use at all times, you will need to store them in a way that they won't fade, become discolored, or otherwise be destroyed.
5) Give each of your children a file box. Each year, help your child choose just a few things from that year to keep. Here again, some memories can be saved in ways other than by keeping every item. Take pictures of some things and store those pictures on your computer or in a photo box. Or, you can help your child write a short sentence about what an object represents before culling it from his or her stash.

Happy Home Keeping!

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