Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sentimental clutter and memorabilia - Part 2

I said in my last post that I would be dealing with my own memorabilia - and here is my current memory box. During my general decluttering, I unearthed objects which should be kept here, rather than hidden away in my underwear drawer or my jewellery box or other random places.

The 'box' itself isn't that big, and although I love it's basket-y gorgeousness (I'm a sucker for a nice basket), I don't think it's ideal material for a box which is going to be storing things for any length of time as the dust can get in. It also fastens with fiddly little leather straps and buckles.

I would have loved to have bought a brand spanking new box (I love the largest size of these boxes) but I have unused boxes around the place which it would be more sensible to use.

I unearthed this box from the shelf at the top of my younger son's wardrobe - no idea what it was doing there, and it had nothing in it. Now, I don't really like pink. Or flowery things. But obviously some sort of brainstorm caused me to buy this (from Lakeland, a long, long time ago, if I recall) and so I should use it!

I spent a happy afternoon reading and sorting through the things I'm keeping - an assortment of newspaper clippings, birthday and mother's day cards made by my children, a couple of little drawings they did for me, medals from some charity runs I've done and a few love letters. I didn't get rid of any of it, and that's ok. There's room for growth in the new box and I will look through it all again regularly to assess if I still want to keep it all.

The box lives on the top shelf of my wardrobe, and it's easily accessible.

As I discovered when I went through my photos, this sort of decluttering can be very emotional - these things are kept precisely because they evoke some sort of emotion - even if it's sad or bittersweet. I would say that it's probably best not to keep things that make you feel angry or remind you of  very distressing times of your life.

I'm pleased to have finished this little piece of organising - it feels so much better to know everything is kept in one place now!

Enjoy sorting through your own memories.

Happy decluttering!

Lemons xx

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Sentimental clutter and memorabilia - Part 1

This song has been going round in my head while I've been writing this post, so I thought I pop it up here to get you in the mood!

Photos, children's artwork, greetings cards, trophies and other ephemera are tricky things to deal with, and back in March I decided to start to tackle a couple of spots in our house where these things were building up. Before I did, I researched what my favourite organising bloggers were saying about sentimental clutter. Here's what Katrina at The Organised Housewife has to say, and I particularly love Small Notebook's post on treasured things! Having read that, I gave myself some little 'rules':

  • I am not aiming to have a museum dedicated to my life (or my children's lives) - I just need a small collection of special objects that hold particular importance to me (whatever other people think I should keep).
  • I need to set limits and boundaries for these things - our house is for us to live in now and not a museum of our past, so they can only take up the space I assign for them.
  • I need to make sure that I leave just enough room for the future, and that means I need to regularly look at and reassess what I've kept.

I began with our photos - by far the biggest job, and we're not even particularly keen photographers. We were both born and raised before the digital age, and our children were born in the early to mid-90s, when film cameras were still used. We still took lots of photos of our children as babies, hoping for one really good shot, but the difference was that instead of deleting the bad photos, the whole film would be developed, which, for us at least, resulted in a lot of photos of basically the same child in the same pose. Having invested the time and money in the film and developing, we seemed to have decided to keep all the photos!

These are our photo albums - a mixture of those self-adhesive ones, and the slip-in kind. We also have a lot of theme park ride photos (both boys are mad for roller coasters!). They are kept at the top of our linen cupboard - please excuse the horrible wallpaper inside the cupboard!

You can see there is no more room for expansion, and the self-adhesive albums need to go - they're bad for your photos and take up too much room.

This is a photograph of Paris, taken in 1979 and kept in a self-adhesive photo album. I can confirm that Paris wasn't that colour! I have older photographs (from the 50s and 60s) that have been kept in proper albums and have kept their colour. Some of the photos couldn't even be removed from the albums as they were firmly stuck. If you have precious photos stored in this way, I would urge you to have a look and see if you can remove them and care for them more safely.

I bought some new, matching slip-in photo albums (but I did also re-use the slip-in albums I already had) and began the marathon task of sorting through all the photos, getting rid of duplicates, fuzzy, blurry shots and unflattering photos of anyone. Oh, and photos of people I didn't know - if I couldn't name/place them, out it went!

It. Took. Ages. And Ages. I was doing it in bursts of about an hour or so every day, but it still took far longer than I'd anticipated! I also found it really emotional. We've all lost people in our lives, or maybe had a major, life-changing event (for us it was the birth of our first son, who has a disability, which for me dissected my life into Before and After) and seeing the photos of those people or times had me sobbing on several occasions. So if you're planning this sort of organising project, make sure you're feeling strong! And have time.

The ride photos were relocated in a box in my younger son's cupboard, and I was left with tidier shelves and some room for growth. My plan is to have photo books printed for each year from now on, and not to use bulky albums.

I'd love to know your system for organising your photos.

Happy decluttering!

Lemons xx

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ten Minute Tidy - scruffy shelf

While I've been away, I've been doing a few little tasks that needed attention around the house.

This is a shelf on the dresser in my kitchen. It's not untidy, as such, but it is not looking its best - there are manuals for the oven and hob in tatty plastic folders, a ring binder that's seen better days and cookery books I don't use. (Random fact - my mother works in a charity shop and says the type of book most often donated is cookery books). I tend to get recipes from the internet now (they're in the purple folder).

Calling this a ten minute tidy is a little bit sneaky, as first I assessed the situation, and then when I was next out shopping, I bought the little beauty on the right (from here, currently out of stock on the website). The blue ring binder on the shelf has various papers like the council recycling and waste collecting calendar, local information, my master shopping list (so I don't forget anything when I'm making a list) and other stuff which needed to be neatly kept. Just not in that ugly (and old) blue folder.

Also pictured to the left are the tatty plastic folders with the manuals - these have been rehomed with all the rest of the applicance manuals.

I was then able to sort through the contents of the blue folder, some of which was recycled, and the rest put into rough categories and filed in my beautiful new file.

A couple of the cookery books that I wasn't using were put in the charity shop bag, and everything was then put back on the shelf.

And here is the end result. Much better.

The actual tidying did only take about 10 minutes, not including the time taken to go and buy the new folder.

Happy decluttering!

Lemons xx

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Hi. Again.

Well, finally I think I'm back for good.

I've been studying and settling my elder son into college and it all took over somewhat.

The picture I've chosen to use for this post is called 'Be Free' and I felt it was very apt - I'm more free now than I have been for about 20 years, which is both scary and exciting.

While I've been away I've been thinking about what to do with this blog, and have some posts lined up about dealing with sentimental clutter, like photos and memorabilia, alongside some other decluttering projects.

I'll be back soon - and that's a promise!

Lemons xx