Thursday, January 24, 2013

Organize It - Part Five

This post and yesterday's really go hand-in-hand, but I was long winded enough yesterday, so I figured I'd just break it into two posts.  Again, the inspiration from this series comes from "The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker" by Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvey.

I'm sure we all collect it.  Pinned it to our bullet boards as teenagers, stuffed it into hope chests or shoeboxes as young adults and crammed it into box after box as new parents.  I'm talking of memorabilia.  Those little bits, bobbles and pieces of our lives:  tickets, cards, notes, scraps of fabric, flower petals, corks and the glittered creations our kids bring home.

To tackle it start by determining what memorabilia means to you and your scrapbooking.  Maybe you'll display pieces.  Maybe you'll have a good system for photographing all the pieces and including them with layouts.  Maybe you'll have a whole book dedicated to it.  Or maybe you'll determine to just box it.

Once you know what you're going to do with it, you'll need a way to store it:

  • Long term storage - even if you're too close to certain types of memorabilia to sort and perhaps purge, you can still get it organized.  Sort items into large categories like high school, pre-marriage, per child, etc.  Look for boxes/containers that are sturdy and water/humidity resistant depending on where your storage space is; basements flood or are subject to higher humidity but sometimes that's the only storage available in your home (like here in Colorado, attics reach well into the 100's in the summer).  If so, protect your items accordingly.  Put highly valuable items in fire proof storage.
  • Copy your photo systems - if you're intending to include memorabilia in your scrapbooks, the easiest way to store the pieces is to follow the same categories you have for your photos.  
  • Rotating system - there are some items that are just special, that maybe you've determined you want to see regularly.  Including these items in your home decor is certainly a way to do that.  Maybe you pull items out seasonally, in which case you'd want to store and label accordingly.  Maybe there are those shadow-box items you've been meaning to deal with. . .now's the time to pull them together and just do it.
You know what's next - organize it and purge it down.  Sometimes some distance in determining what to let go of is key. . .if this is you, don't try to pare down right now.  However, if you're ready to dig in and let go, determine what's important - do you have several pieces of artwork that reflect the same time period in your child's life?  Select certain pieces that cover a range of time - or show their growth.  Scaling down your memorabilia is not only freeing, it lets you appreciate what you do keep.

Now, show that stuff off.  Put notes with your photos to remember the memorabilia you've set aside.  For small collections think about glass jars.  For those love notes from both hubby and kiddos, tuck them into little baskets - maybe bundle them up with pretty ribbon or twine.  Rotate kids' artwork on over sized clipboards, or a special "frame" on the 'fridge.  Small cork-boards or magnetic surfaces make it easy to display and rotate any number of items.  Group items on shelves in your room, or your kids' rooms.

How this works for me:

I'm horrible at including memorabilia of any kind into scrapbooks.  I have the odd shots of the kids' creations that I included on a page or two, but not enough to call it a habit.  Most of their creations are boxed and stored in the crawl-space.  Put there when the emotional connection was too much to sort and/or toss, and now it just sits there because it's out of my sight.  The sheer volume created by my children when they were young is insane, then you add my own pieces and it's just an avalanche of items.  I'm sure as I work my way through my perpetual calendar's decluttering schedule I'll hit pockets of the stuff and I'll have to deal with it then.  At least I have a plan. . .

I do have a couple systems:  the kids' early school work is all boxed and stored in the crawl space:  art projects, paper work showing their handwriting progression, papers with subjects they struggled in and papers showing where they excelled.  As the volume of items decreased (and I figured out what was important - to me - to keep), I started to keep their pieces in plastic folders and the drawers in my studio space.  Does it need going through. . .'fer sure, totally!  This is just their school work, too.  It's not the stuffed animals they loved when they were little, or the clothing that had special meaning.

I have a few items that I put out, or are out all the time, in my home.  I have a doll from my childhood that sits permanently in my studio.  I have some other dolls that are dressed in holiday attire that come out for that particular holiday.  The thought just occurred to me that two of my children had bunnies that were their constant companions when they were young and it would be fun to include in my Easter-mantle decor.  

A little thought and all those pieces that meant so much to keep will have their time in the spotlight - just think outside the box a little.

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