Friday, July 29, 2011

Organizing Memorabilia

Almost everyone has memorabilia of some sort. Memorabilia is a broad category and might include pictures, posters, letters, journals, ticket stubs, knickknacks picked up on vacation, or other items that have a deep meaning.
Sometimes we keep items because they had a meaning when we acquired them or we loved them at one time but time has now caused those items to be just there and taking up space. The deep meaning has disappeared. Sometimes we start to collect something that has meaning and then others hop on the bandwagon and gift you with similar items. Now you have a large collection that has lost its meaning. For example, if you collected a few demitasse spoons from countries you visited on a European tour many years ago - then friends gifted you with more spoons to help you "complete" your collection, now the whole collection has now become something that just takes up space and has lost its original meaning.
As you decide to organize your memorabilia, first ask some questions. Does this item still stir my heart or capture an important event? Do I need 10 items that capture that important event? Am I saving these items for posterity or myself? If I am saving items for the family, do they really want them or will they become a burden to them? If I am saving them for myself, do I plan to look at them on a regular basis or do I just want to keep them?
If you are saving items for posterity, make certain that the items are well labeled. Paper items like posters, photographs, and letters should be kept in acid free frames or containers and protected from direct light. Both paper and textile memorabilia must be kept dry and protected from bugs and rodents. Create a digital record of the items you are storing.
If you are saving items just for you, decide if you want them tucked away to pull out occasionally or if you want them on display or at least very assessable. Pictures can be placed into containers and just divided by years, events, or family members. They can also be placed into scrapbooks and placed in the main living area so all can look at and enjoy them. Other knickknacks or larger items can be stored in plastic tubs if tucked away or in attractive baskets or containers if you want them easily available.
If you are keeping journals or diaries, ask yourself if you want these saved forever. Do you want your ancestors reading them? A lot of local history comes form old journals but just give it some thought.
If you are truly organizing your memorabilia and just have the items you truly love, be sure to honor the items. A collapsed cardboard box in the attic or basement shows that these items are not loved and honored.
If you are using my zone plan, then wherever you place your memorabilia, you will revisit it and look through it at least once a year. This can give you a chance to reevaluate what you keep and do a finer sort and categorization . Don't get hung up on making it perfect on the first sort. The memorabilia should be for your pleasure - not a burden.
I would love to hear from others on how they organize their memorabilia.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

1 comment:

Sandra said...

litI have organized the mountains of memorabilia into loose categories in bankers boxes. They overlap and there is three to four generations and many overlapping areas. I am not sure where to go from here. I feel responsible to document for the next generation the family history. I have slides and pictures and documents and things. I have a blank work table. HELP