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We all have memorabilia of one kind or another that we treasure, whether it is an old pocket watch grandma’s glasses or shells from a wonderful holiday. These transport us back in time and make us happy, but sadly these normally end up hidden away in a closet somewhere because we do not know what to do with them or how to display them. I am a sentimentalist at heart and understand where some of my clients come from when they don’t want to get rid of some things in their stash. Their question normally is, ‘how do you distinguish of what to keep and what to trash?’

Memory Box

This is a stylish storage box to keep sentimental items you do not wish to display. I recommend that each family member has one for their special memorabilia which can be looked at every now and again to reminisce. Write notes about and date the items so that years later you’ll remember what it was all about.  Set a limit to the amount of stuff that you keep, stick to the size of the box and apply the ‘one in one out principle’.  Once a year, before your birthday, sit down and look through the memories and let go of the old, to make space for the new.


Pare down – this doesn’t mean that you are getting rid of it all; it only means that you are keeping the most meaningful and display them. These become lovely conversation pieces as you share them with those that enter your home.

  • ,Hang a canvas of the best picture of your overseas trip.
  • Frame the seashells from your beach holiday in a shadow frame.
  • Use memorabilia in vignettes with other ornaments.
  • Place smaller items in a printer’s tray.
  • Hang old family photos in a photo collage.
  • Display an old toy in the spare bedroom this can make quite a statement.

Use it

Still sitting with wedding presents you haven’t used? Decide if you are ever going to use them, if not; why not give them away? Someone else might find it very useful.

Do you absolutely love grannies beautiful dinner service, use it and display it in your armoire.

Repurpose it

If you like crafts you can use clothing items to make a memory quilt, in addition you can transfer photos onto it. Old doilies can be repurposed into lampshades, cast into serving trays or sewn together as table cloths.

Take a photo

Preserve the memory without having the clutter. This is especially helpful for retaining memories of your children’s art and projects. Make new memories with the old; let your grandchild dress up with your old jewellery, or arrange items as a still live and take a picture. Create a digital photo book with a short description of what it is. What about the teacup collection?  You could take a picture of each set and create a scrap book page including pictures of your grandmother, then let go of them.

 Put it in the cloud

Sort old journals, diaries, paper based memories and even photos. Heave the trash and scan the rest and digitally store it in ‘dropbox’.

Tell your story

As I get older I realise more and more that it isn’t the stuff that is important but the story about places, the people and the experiences. Write a blog or start writing down your memories. Your children will enjoy a story much more than the item which they don’t really want.

“Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone;

and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come.

Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering”  Ida Scott Taylor


Instead of filling your home and boxes with stuff … simplify and make space to cherish the moment. Remember, memories will live in your heart forever, even if you don’t have the physical sentimental items to remind you of the person or experience that you loved.

Heidi Meyer

Professional Organiser