Living here in the northeast, we often do a bi-annual seasonal swap of all manner of things. It is a built-in time to reevaluate the past season’s items as we have to touch each one in order to put it away. Nevertheless, there are definitely items about which you should think twice before purging.
Paperwork – We know (or at least I hope you know!) we need to keep important papers such as previous years’ taxes, real estate transactions, and some medical records, to name a few. Often in the haste and thrill of the moment, people toss some papers that they regret years later having disposed of. What if it was a journal that would help you when you write a memoir? Maybe it’s cards or letters from a loved one that has passed. The important point is to make sure you are making the right decision for YOU today and in the future. I am not suggesting you hold on to every paper. Rather, pause for a moment to consider what you may be throwing away while sorting through your various papers.
Jewelry – The biggest mistake that can happen when sorting through jewelry is getting rid of real jewelry, erroneously believing it to be costume jewelry. Similarly, going through your jewelry too quickly can mistakenly lead to your tossing out the genuine article.
Family Items – When parents or grandparents are downsizing, they would love nothing better but to have a family member lovingly accept their castaways. Bear this in mind as passing on any item you deem not necessary at this point in your life may be a mistake. I always loved my Grandmother’s dining room table. When my grandparents both passed, my Mom stored this dining room table (Thankfully, it collapsed into a 32” wide table.) until I was able to take possession of it. My parents recently downsized, and I was in a dilemma over taking it or not. I agonized for a few months and finally decided to take it. I was discussing the table with friends, and they helped me realize how it could fit into my space. I was looking for a dining room table, and I am so happy I now have this beloved family treasure. Be careful not to make a hasty decision based on your current life situation. Alternatively, you could feel obligated to take those yellow plastic daffodils from Grandma’s annual springtime decorating when she offers them, teary-eyed, smiling, and reminiscing about all the beautiful spring times she shared with your Grandpa and your mother as a child. Oh, my… to take them, knowing full well that they will only end up in your basement like so many other things, or to later toss or donate them, or far worst, to insult Grandma by outright refusing them? It is a universal quandary summed up by my sister and her best friend who quipped, “From my basement to yours…with love!”
Clothing – Some articles of clothing are just too classic or iconic to let go. If you loved your mother’s poodle skirt or high school class jacket, keep it. You will be all set for a future theme party! These items capture a time in your life and don’t really take up too much space. You can revisit the need to keep them whenever you come upon them and make a more informed decision.
Photos – Looking through photos can be an easy exercise. It’s obvious to delete or throw out blurry photos and multiple shots of the same theme. When it comes to photos that are of people, it can be trickier. We all change in looks as we age. No matter how bad you think you look, retaining those photos may be a way to capture a particular time in your life. No one has to see the photos you choose to keep unless you want to share. Again, s-l-o-w-l-y go through the task of sorting all your precious photos.
With all that said, I am not trying to make you keep unnecessary items. There obviously are space considerations. My word of caution to you is this: take some time to thoughtfully consider what you are decluttering. If you are unsure about a given item, create a box into which to place it. Let the box “ripen” for a month, and then go back to it with a clear head to make a decision.