Use It or Lose It

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs much as I love to organize things,  I do recognize the inherent danger in putting everything away, especially when it comes to keepsakes. What’s the point of having something if it’s only going to live in a box? An even greater danger is my forgetting what I have and buying duplicates – talk about wasteful!

When space is tight, I open my cabinets and closets to reassess what I’ve stored and where it’s kept. If I’ve kept it for an inordinate amount of time, without using it, it’s probably time to pass it along to someone else. If it’s something I only use a few times a year, I’ll move it to a less accessible spot (like the attic or high up in a closet) and give my prime real estate to what I use most often.

My mantra is: use it or lose it. This is easily applied to our kids’ toys and books, or when evaluating craft supplies or household items, but a bit more complicated when it comes to keepsakes. Keepsakes, by their very nature, aren’t something we use anymore – we’ve outgrown them or they’ve become fragile with age. Their purpose is to remind us of something or someone or sometime that was special for us. So, isn’t it funny that most of us keep these items out of sight?

The small Eyeore pendant (pictured) was a gift from my parents when I was a little girl – my older sister got Pooh; my younger sister got Tigger. We later got stuffed animals of our characters (I still have mine) and Eyeore is still a fixture in most of my childhood memories. This pendant has traveled with me all these years, living in various boxes and drawers, making me smile when I see it, but otherwise just collecting dust. Now it’s a magnet and part of the living scrapbook on the front of our refrigerator.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe contents and layout of this collection change from year to year, usually featuring photos of relatives we don’t see often enough, keepsakes from family trips, and things that represent each member of our family. Our oldest son recently pointed out that it’s time to update the photos, so we’ve added that project to our summer to do list. I’ll admit, I used to stress a bit when the kids moved my magnets around, but now I love it. I love hearing them repeat what I’ve told them about photos or souvenirs – like oral histories, passed down from generation to generation. Hopefully, as they’re learning these stories and spending time with me, they’re creating memories of their own.

Other than making magnets, I have a few items set aside to put in a shadow box and I spent much of my spring scanning old photographs to put on flash drives and give to family members at Christmas. And, yes, other things will just go back in their boxes for safe keeping . . . but not as many as before and definitely not forever.

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