The Decluttering Dilemma

Box full of memories

Box full of memories

Overwhelmed by memorabilia when you declutter?

If yes, you’ve probably found yourself in the midst of a second dilemma—how do you decide what to keep and what to toss? What about all those sentimental memories attached to things you haven’t displayed in decades, but feel too guilty getting rid of?

Here’s what we recommend to relieve you of the guilt and the item, and yet preserve your cherished memories.

  1. Sort your stuff into four boxes:

    - Trash
    - Giveaway
    - Keep
    - Can’t decide

  2. Examine each item from the can’t decide box and ask yourself (and family members) what the real value is. What one sees as treasured memories, another might toss in the trash. Sort again into either the trash or giveaway box. I have found that few items land in the keep box after this step.

    Note: If you feel forced to declutter under the duress of a quick move, or following a death when a space must be vacated immediately, most items may go straight to the giveaway or trash boxes. Others may feel too distraught to decide in the moment and choose to put them in the keep box. Separating memorabilia while you’re grieving or under time constraints can present pressure to sort rapidly, giving you little time to process emotions associated with individual pieces. Those who keep more things on the first go-round often find that the resulting stack of stuff brought home brings on a second round of decluttering later on. It can be therapeutic to wait a little while to decide if an item holds lasting value upon deeper reflection.

  3. One at a time, take an item from the can’t decide box and place it with a nice backdrop and take a picture of it with your camera or smartphone on the high-definition setting. Create a space with good lighting and lay a solid white or black cloth on the floor or a table. This backdrop creates a lovely contrast to photograph most items on.

    Voila! You’re absolved from keeping one more thing tucked away in a closet, and you have a lovely digital memory you can gaze at it anytime to enjoy all the sentiments imbued in it. It’s really the memory associated with an item that we care about the most, so when you need to downsize or declutter, a picture is worth a thousand words, emotions, and ancestral connections.

    Once an item is separated from the clutter and photographed, you may decide that it’s not worth keeping after all—the choice comes more quickly and easily with every item—and off it goes to the trash or the giveaway pile. You’re left with the items that have lasting value to you or your heirs.

    What most people are left with after the two stages of sorting is a pesky box of ephemera. You know contains gems from your personal or family history, but how do you enjoy it?

    I’m talking about those boxes of mixed media including old loose photos and albums, slides, letters, newspaper clippings, and home movies on every format from 16mm reels from the 1930s to VHS and audio cassette tapes. There are cherished memories buried in those fading stacks of stuff.

This is where Vintage Photo Scan comes to your rescue. We work with you to choose the most affordable way to digitally preserve all of your memorabilia so you can enjoy it today and share it with your family or community. Bring (or send) your items to us for the most personal care you’ll receive anywhere to handle your memorabilia. We treat each piece as though it is our own.

For more information, contact us at 877-306-8926, visit the rest of our website, or send an email to Sam or Fred.

There’s no need to stress out over decluttering. Take that box of memories and let us preserve it for you to enjoy and share.