N.O.W. idea # 25: Downsize and Digitize Your Memories

Last year, I sorted through an attic full of childhood memories with my mom in an effort to minimize and de-clutter our life. We shared many laughs, and a few tears, as we reminisced about each and every item that we’d saved. Most of our keepsakes went down, down, and away, but the things I decided to salvage were given a new place in our house or a permanent home in my *one and only* memory box.

The sign from my childhood playhouse now hangs above my bathroom mirror…


I put small notes from my husband, my mom, and my dad in my purse…


A few of my grandma’s tea cups now live in my kitchen where they can be enjoyed…


And my mom got crafty with some shirts I didn’t want to wear anymore, but wanted to keep for their sentimental value.

If memorabilia overwhelms you, here are some ideas for confronting old keepsakes and preventing too much pileup in the future…

  • Photograph items that have importance but aren’t worth saving (like childhood stuffed animals or old bulletin boards/collages/posters from high school), then kiss them goodbye.
  • Photograph cards from loved ones before you recycle them.
  • Send VHS tapes to iMemories so they can be preserved without taking up physical space.
  • Organize your digital photographs in a Shutterfly scrapbook (I create and print one per year). They are slender and easy to store.
  • Keep digital journal entries for your kids and include them in the scrapbook. Combining written history and pictures eliminates the need for two separate books.
  • Display tokens of affection from your kids for a while before you put them into your memory box. (I keep a select few on the side of the fridge, so I can enjoy them while I’m cooking and still keep a clutter-free front.)
  • Stop collecting souvenirs. We put stickers on a map, representing each trip in a meaningful way- without trinkets!
  • Get a box and decided what’s important enough to go inside (and get rid of the rest). In the future, if it doesn’t fit in the box, it doesn’t stay!  (Or apply the “one in, one out” method to your box.)

I don’t want to stop collecting memories, I just want to stop accumulating things. My mind, my scrapbooks, and my box (singular!) are brimming with fond reminders of the good times and the best times.