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zookeeny's avatar

I need advice on which clutter to keep and what can be thrown away - eg photos, tickets, certificates etc?

Asked by zookeeny (875 points ) January 11th, 2010

How do you decide which ‘memory things’ and past mementoes to keep or throw out when decluttering? Anything you wished you had kept and didn’t or look at now and wonder why you bothered saving it?

I have piles of old letters and cards etc and I wonder if I will really look at these ever again. I have some toys and books I want to show my children oneday. Then there are the endless photos and certificates etc. Do we really need this stuff? I dont want to be rid of anything I will regret but really my swimming ribbon when I was aged 6….....?

Any ideas of how to sort through it all appriciated.

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14 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

I hate clutter, but every time I throw something out I wind up years later wishing I hadn’t. Even old clothes. It’s maddening.

njnyjobs's avatar

Photos, if it has some significance and includes you or friends and family, you defunitely have to keep.

School certificates for spelling and math, etc. . . toss out.
Books… sell or donate
Letters, I keep…. Cards, I toss.
Toys, if broken, should be tossed out. Good toys, sell or donate. Collectibles, keeper.

SamIAm's avatar

I hold onto everything but I’m pretty organized about it… I keep all photos, always. school stuff is all together, I have every paper I wrote in college either on my computer or a hard copy but ALL school stuff is kept in one box. Then I have a box dedicated to exs… all the memories and things that I couldn’t bring myself to toss out. Cards I toss most of but keep important ones (from grandma before she passed away, from dad, my sister…) and toys I have gotten rid of most of them, same with stuffed animals. I keep the ones that are dear to me. Don’t get me started on books…....

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Keep things that are meaningful to you and things you will want to share with others some day.

Things you have not used for over a year probably will not become more useful over time.

Pictures of people important to you are keepers. A few ribbons and certificates of early accomplishments will tickle your children someday. Keep photos of you from various ages and of people about whom you still care. A greeting card from a deceased dear one is a keeper but usually one will do. Any card that is nothing special can go.

I hope that helps a bit.

Jeruba's avatar

If you regard it as “clutter,” you’re probably ready to say good-bye to it. If it still looks like “precious mementoes,” you probably aren’t.

My problem is moving things out of category A and into category B.

One useful idea might be to let one thing stand for many things. Another is to take pictures of things you might not really need to keep in material form.

You can also go for a trial separation by putting a bunch of stuff into boxes or big garbage bags and pretending you’re ditching them, but then wait a little, giving yourself time to change your mind.

Silhouette's avatar

Watch one episode of the new show Hoarders and I’ll guarantee you you’ll be cured of your indecisiveness. Those people bury themselves under the strangest mementos. One guy saved the napkins his woman wiped her mouth on at dinner or the wrapper from the first piece of gum he offered her. The sad part is she left him because living in the filth was killing her mentally and physically.

I’m ruthless when discarding “clutter”.

bea2345's avatar

The classic definition of junk is something that you throw away a week before you wish you still had it.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Tickets, I keep if it’s a band that I really like, and I have a memory attached to the event. These can be repurposed.
Pictures- toss any blurred ones, and duplicates. Write the dates on the back, even if approximate, where the picture was taken, and the full name of the person in picture.
Toss any card that doesn’t have a personal message in it.
Letters – keep, bundled by sender.
Store-bought cards- unless there’s a personal note in it, toss. The sentiment belongs to Hallmark. Keep homemade cards and drawings.
Collection of notes passed during class—scan, toss originals.
Ribbons from grade school and middle school sports events – give to kids in the family to use when playing school.
Class notes, term papers, etc. – toss. You will never look at them again. College papers – scan and toss original if you’re interested in the subject or think you may need a writing sample at a future date. Otherwise, toss.
High school “stuff” like yearbooks, phone directory, t-shirts, pictures, etc. Put in a box labeled “reunion” and save it until the next milestone reunion, like 10th or 25th. Even if you don’t go, you can “donate” the stuff to the organizers.
Childhood sports—scan the pictures and the awards, toss the originals. Lots of times your parents don’t mind storing this sort of thing. A friend’s mom one year gifted childhood memories to my friend’s and his siblings children. She gave a granddaughter a box full of old prom dresses and shoes, one grandson got his father’s little league uniform, glove, ball, and 3 trophies, and team pictures. Another got the grade school football uniform, ball, and trophies. Everything else related to the sports, she tossed.

The scanner really is your friend for things you’re not sure you want part with. Make back-ups.

Holden_Caulfield's avatar

The fact that you are asking this questions leads me to believe that you are ready to clean out a bit. I have the same dilemma. I look at what associates the memories witht he clutter and act accordingly. If it is something I am holding on to… and need to let go to move on from something… it is gone! If it has some sentimental value and does not hold me back, I keep it. Organize your thoughts around this, and you can then decide what should stay… and what should go.

therookie's avatar

letters and cards I keep. in a scrapbook, THe letters and cards are form grandparnets annd a few dear great aunts and uncles. toss out the old tatter ones. . It is good to have something to remind you of how your grandparnets wrote, I have an shopping my grandmother had made. the list as follows
Crovette
juice
asprin
danish
bananas

Well she had wanted me to buy her some Comtex cold medicne instead she wrote Crovette.
Little things like that I would keep.

Ticket stubs and movies stubs I had made a photo frame out them.
even with the old cards and such you can make some kind of art work out them.( framed, glue etc etc)

SABOTEUR's avatar

You might consider scanning your photos, letters and cards onto your pc.
Then, transferring that from your pc to a disc.

daemonelson's avatar

@SABOTEUR Fantastic idea.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Thanks!

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