Tag Archives: memorabilia

Closet Organizing Can Be Creative & Fun

A very interesting guest room closet.

A very interesting guest room closet.

Who says closets have to be overwhelming and boring? You can make your
closets interesting with a little thought and creativity.  One of my clients did just that when she decided to gather all her Williamsburg memorabilia and mementos together and displayed them in her guest room closet. How creative and lovely!

Apparently this client was in the habit of leaving her guest room closet empty for use by guests. When she was moving into her house she noticed how many Williamsburg mementoes she had and considered her options for displaying them. The empty shelves in the guest room closet seemed like a perfect place to store and display her treasures.

What a lovely greeting!

What a lovely greeting!

Can you imagine being a guest and opening that closet? How wonderful it would be to be greeted by such historic and interesting items? It sure beats the heck out of unsightly bags, boxes and other miscellaneous stuff!

Make organizing interesting and fun to get it done!

Reduce Grief By Creating a Memorabilia Altar

I’ve noticed that some people who have experienced the death of someoneAlter very important keep large quantities of items associated with that person. Everything seems to have great significance. Clients have stated that when they get rid of things associated with their spouse, parent, child, etc., they feel like they are getting rid of that person. Little do they know that by holding onto quantities of things that remind them of that person they are actually anchoring their grief about the loss.

Everything a person own holds their energy if when you look at it you think of that person. An item might have had a very positive energy when the person was alive. For example, a musical instrument they enjoyed playing would likely hold positive energy. However, when the person dies the energy of their items is tinged with sadness.  The musical instrument that held positive energy could evoke sadness because the musician can no longer play the item. Holding onto it anchors sadness.

To facilitate moving through normal grief over the loss of a loved one, I recommend that survivors keep only those items that they like the best, those things that evoke happy feelings. Less is best.

One way to honor a loved one is to create an altar with an arrangement of a few precious items that belonged to the person. You don’t need to hold onto quantities of items associated with a beloved mother to hold her memory in place. Choose a few special items that remind you of the person and arrange them on a surface that you will see in passing as you move through you space. Those items might include a photograph, a special curio, a medal or award they received, anything of theirs that really matters to you or really mattered to them.

My mother died recently. After she died I created an altar to hold a few special things associated with her. It sits atop a small chest of drawers that was in our living room when I was growing up and has been in Mom’s home ever since. I chose to keep that chest for its association with Mom and my life while I was living at home with Mom and Dad.

I gave Mom the little purple silk flower arrangement. She loved flowers and she loved it. The wax ball smells of lilac, her favorite flower and fragrance. I added a few other items for aesthetics — a small painting by my dad, a live plant and a paperweight given to me by a special client who often checked in with me about how Mom was doing during the last few years.

The quantity of items on the altar associated with Mom was less important than the feelings evoked by the items. Just three items (the chest, flower arrangement, and wax ball) hold Mom’s energy and memory in place. When I walk by this little altar my heart remembers Mom and what she loved, and it smiles.

Do the things you have kept that once belonged to a loved one make your heart smile? Are they out and visible where you can see and enjoy the memories? If not, you have inadvertently created pockets of pain that make moving through your grief a much more difficult and slow process. Keep and honor the best. Let go of the rest! 

Clutter: Move a Memorabilia Block

Memorabilia, stuff associated with your past history, is loaded with emotional energy. Most people avoid clearing memorabilia. I find it in bags and boxes stuck in my clients’ closets, drawers and attics. I think memorabilia is avoided because people intuitively know if they start going through it they will mentally and emotionally review and re-experience feelings associated with their history.

Because everyone’s history was probably a mixed bag, filled with positive and negative memories, touching things that hold those memories will likely stir up a variety of feelings. Even though much memorabilia brings back positive memories, I think it gets avoided because mixed in with the things that bring warm memories and smiles to faces are things that stir up uncomfortable feelings like sadness, loss, regret, longing, and disappointment. That’s why memorabilia often stays in bags and boxes to be dealt with later.

I recently helped a couple tackle THAT room over their garage. It had been

Before clearing

Before clearing

a dump spot for decades. I was invited to help them get unstuck. The room held memorabilia from both sets of their parents as well as memorabilia from their own family and miscellaneous other things that had been dumped there. No wonder they were stuck! Everywhere they went they were going to run into something that would stir up feelings. And, everything seemed important, which made making decisions seem daunting.

Where to start? Some of the memorabilia had been there since 1995. It had grown roots! And, to make things more difficult, much of their memorabilia was small (like photos, letters, etc.). It’s easy to get overwhelmed when the quantity of little stuff seems overwhelming.

The memorabilia block

The memorabilia block

As I looked around the room, I looked for a place to start clearing. I was searching for an obvious block that if cleared would make further clearing possible. The best thing to clear would be something sizable, that if cleared would show real progress had been made. My eyes were drawn to a portable clothes rack right in the middle of the room. It was annoying because it blocked a view of the whole room. I asked permission to begin there. My client agreed.

When I consulted my client about the

After 2 hours of clearing

After 2 hours of clearing

contents of the rack I learned that it held the clothes of her mother who is declining with Alzheimer’s and dance dresses that had been used by her granddaughter. Both types of clothing were heavily charged with emotional energy, particularly the energy of loss. The mother’s dresses brought back memories of the way her mother was, how different she was than my client, and how different her mother is now than when she wore those dresses. The dance dresses harkened to a fun time in her history with her granddaughter, a time that has gone by.

After 2 hours of clearing

After 2 hours of clearing

The clothing held pieces of her mother’s and her granddaughter’s stories in place, and it also help the energy of loss in place. Touching and making decisions about those items stirred up feelings associated with those precious stories. My client shed tears as she described her mother to me. Those items had been stuck on that rack for years because it was easier to ignore them than deal with the uncomfortable feelings that they would stir up.

After telling me the stories associated with the clothing and wiping away

After the block was removed and two hours of clearing

After the block was removed and two hours of clearing

her tears my client decided to donate all of the clothing. Once the clothing was in donation bag and the rack dismantled, we were off and running. That rack was a block to getting started clearing that room. Once that block was removed and those first tough decisions made, my client was able to more easily let go of many more items rather quickly.

Do you have a memorabilia block? Feelings can hurt, but being held hostage by the fear of feeling uncomfortable feelings can keep you living in chaos and unable to get on with your life.

Take a deep breath. Tackle your memorabilia block. Then enjoy the benefits of releasing feelings that were anchored by those old things, and watch your life start moving again!