Using a memory box helps honour our memories, whilst getting organised. It's nearly the end of March, a new season is upon us and New Year's resolutions feel like a long time ago. With the Easter long weekend coming up, you might be contemplating either heading away or tackling a home organisation project.
One area of home organisation we often put off is tackling sentimental items.
Today, I am going to share how we can get organised whilst honouring our memories, with a memory box.
Getting organised and decluttering
As we move through our lives, we collect a lot of stuff. And whilst we get rid of things along the way, we still accumulate many items.
As long-time readers will know, I am a big fan of Marie Kondo’s approach; both the 'does it spark joy?' test, and also thanking the item for the joy it has provided and then letting it go. I have used both of these, and happily say they are excellent approaches when attempting the herculean task of sorting through your belongings.
A common suggestion is to take a photo of the item, store it digitally and let the physical item go. However, I find that doesn’t always work or apply.
For example, it might be that you have been researching something (your family tree, your first novel), or you have a prolific artist in your home (either child or adult) and have a huge volume of physical stuff. Taking a photo of your research items is not going to assist! And a photo of an artwork is not quite the same either…
Getting organised is more challenging when we are faced with items we cannot bear to part with. Many of these items hold sentimental value and have a lot of emotion associated with them, and therefore be very hard to get rid of.
What to do with sentimental items?
Sentimental items are those we imbue with much meaning and value. These may be special gifts or handwritten cards from dearly loved people who are no longer with us, or family heirloom items you feel you must honour by keeping.
Sentimental items are particularly challenging when we have lost a baby. For those of us who have experienced the death of a child, a handful of items might be all we have to remember our beloved child.
A simple approach is to contain everything in one place.
Yes, in a container.
The idea is that by containing all the physical paraphernalia in one place, you know where you can find those items when you need them. This is not a new idea!
It can be a utilitarian tub with lid, or a purpose bought, pretty box. It doesn’t really matter which one, as long as the items are corralled and easy to find when you are looking for them again.
I found this approach particularly helpful when thinking about the baby items for my children.
Storing Sentimental Items - Creating a Memory Box
First, I created a memory box for my stillborn son. The physical child was not here, so it felt good to do something that made his existence physical. To have something I could go to, and find the few things I had for him, was very helpful. A few days were spent happily finding and decorating a beautiful, fabric-covered box, and then lovingly arranging the items inside the box so they would be safe and protected.
After creating one for him, I made another one for my older son. And later, one for my youngest son. I even have one for me. Although I tend to forget about it, it does provide a pretty, single location for storing my memorabilia such as special birthday cards and other sentimental items.
The creation of a memory box needn’t be triggered by a loss.
It can also be to help YOU remember.
Memory Box examples
Some examples of memory boxes that are used for purposes other than loss might include;
Holiday. Put all the photos, postcards, brochures, maps, souvenir tickets and other holiday items together. If you don’t get around to making a photo book or album, you DO know the location of all the related items. Even if your photo’s are digital and stored on a USB (or still in your camera/phone); the other items are all easily found.
Research. If you have a ‘project’ on the go, by ensuring research papers and physical items are located in a single destination, returning to work on the project is easier. This applies even when your ‘project’ is mostly digital – there is always physical stuff to keep too. The handwritten notes, the photocopied pages and so on.
The creation of a memory box can be a fun activity. There is opportunity to revisit memories, as well as feel a little more organised.
In my family's experience, we all love having one place to store our special items and mementoes; a memory box for our treasures.
More support - get in touch
I love to support people through transitions, including finding joy and confidence after baby loss. Book in for your complimentary consult and we can chat about how I can help you as you make the changes necessary to create a life you love.