Memorabilia, mementos, whatever you call them, they are the items you save for their sentimental value. Many people assume that we professional organizers don’t save anything and that we make our clients part with things that they have been saving. This is not the case. I have a memory box for each of my children and two for myself! In addition, my family makes scrapbooks every summer so that the children can put their awards, ribbons, pictures and ticket stubs in a nice book which I hope they will cherish for many years. The trick with memorabilia is to 1. Identify it in your home 2. Give it a place of honor so you can truly cherish it and 3. Have a plan for what to do with new memorabilia that you are accumulating.
Mementos I have found with clients have appeared in some unconventional places: kitchen cupboards, dresser drawers, pantries, china cabinets and of course the conventional brown boxes packed away in the attic or cellar. If yours are scattered all over the house you may discover them as you clean out one room, or you could do a treasure hunt and deal with them all in one day. To give your memories of place of honor, here are a few ideas on what you can do to consolidate and display various kinds of items:
Mugs from your travels – hand them on mug hooks in wood beams on your ceiling, use as pen holders, or give them their own display shelf in your kitchen or bar area
T-shirts – cut out squares that show the insignia and make a quilt out of them, frame it or use it.
Ticket stubs – staple them side by side on bulletin boards, display in your man cave, basement or family room.
Kids’ handmade ceramics – color coordinate them with rooms in your home and use for display or practical uses like ring holders, cotton ball containers or spoon rests.
Kid’s newspaper clippings, awards, etc. – Even if your children are grown and out of the house, you can give their memories a place of honor by hanging a bulletin board for each one in a family room. Laminate the paper so it doesn’t get dusty & torn and make a collage for each child. You can reminisce about all their accomplishments as you pass it by each day. And the grandchildren might just get a kick out of it too!
For new accumulations you can place all flat memorabilia in a box or drawer until you are ready to scrapbook, while the bulky items can be placed in a decorative trunk or hope chest. (Home Goods has a great selection of these) Place these “memory boxes” in areas of your home where you can look at them. When the box gets full it’s time to go through it and weed out what is no longer special to you.
I used my college steamer trunk as a coffee table and a nightstand before I retired it to the attic with all my high school and college memorabilia. Now I have a wooden hope chest at the foot of my bed for all the new items that I want to save. So much easier to lift the lid and tuck something in, than it is to dig a plastic bin out of storage!