Clutter clearing childhood memorabilia

Childhood memorabiliaPeople sometimes ask me, ‘What can I do with all the crayoned masterpieces made by my children when they were young? I want to let the pictures go but they have sentimental value.’

Many parents have boxes full of their children’s creations, which they never look at but somehow feel obliged to keep long after the child has grown up. Maybe these works of art were once proudly displayed on walls as examples of their children’s creative abilities, but decades later they are just stacked somewhere collecting dust and stagnant energy around them. Their time and usefulness has passed.

The best solution I know for this problem is to take photos of the best pieces and then throw all the originals away. They are never going to come in useful some day. And if you ever feel a compelling urge to look through them again, digital images will do the job just as well and take up no physical storage space in your attic at all.

The same can be done with children’s clothing and other childhood items being kept by parents (or children who have grown up and now become adults) for sentimental reasons. Just take a photo of each item and then let the original go.

Having said all this, I personally don’t own a single piece of artwork, clothing or anything else from my childhood, and I don’t feel my life lacks anything because of it. In fact, I’m sure that being unencumbered in this way has brought me greater freedom to change and grow. And moving house is certainly a whole lot easier, not having to drag mounds of memorabilia from one place to the next!

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Photograph it and let it go

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2010


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9 Responses to Clutter clearing childhood memorabilia

  1. S.T.R. says:

    I saw a tv show (i can’t recall the name) where they did this to help a mum who had stacks of her kids artwork, they used the images as screensavers, quite a neat idea if you are not as hardy as our Karen!

  2. Kim says:

    I clean for a home in which the child has more toys than can comfortably fit into her space–the room is always covered in every imaginable toy, often strewn all over the floor because there isn’t any place for it to go. The obvious solution is to give to Goodwill the toys that are used the least, esp. to make room for the Easter rush. I am not the world’s most assertive person and the child is adopted and given to screaming fits. How can I say in the kindest way that this clutter is making my work life a misery–not to mention the way it might be affecting the occupants? Is this issue simply none of my business?? Please comment, much appreciation for your advice. (P.S. Welcome back to California, glad you are back!)

    • Michele says:

      I am having the same tussle with my husband who had his toys stolen because his father forced him to clean his room and then put his toys outside and forgot them overnight. He feels such pain at just the thought of giving something away.

      The thing is, our son is on the autistic spectrum and does not play with toys like regular kids do. I discussed Karen’s book “Clear your clutter with Feng Shui” and the stuck energy that results in keeping so many toys. It keeps us all from moving forward because the energy is stuck. At least that is what Karen’s book says. So tomorrow we will discuss reasonably which toys our son plays with sometimes and which he doesn’t play with at all. We will donate the toys he doesn’t play with to charity and then make way for toys that are more appropriate to his age, since he is growing. If the child you are caring for does not clear away her old toys, how can he/she make room for new things?

      I saw a “Cailliou” video where Calliou and his parents were having a garage sale, and poor Calliou jsut could not bear to sell any of his toys. Then when he walked around the neighborhood, he saw a big building set and really wanted it. But he and his mother talked about it and she said that he doesn’t have room for the building set. That made Calliou think – and he realized he really did have toys that did not excite him anymore like this new building set did. Besides, his old toys were for younger kids and the building set was for a kid nmore his age. So he picked out some toys and sold them and got to buy the building set. He was very happy with that lesson. Hope this helps a little.

  3. pressurized walls manhattan says:

    I suggest to place all artworks of children to a scrapbook unless they are printed on walls! :)

  4. Debbie says:

    Like the idea of taking photos. Will do that when i get to those items stored in my garage!!

  5. Sharon says:

    I would find photos of childhood artwork very unsatisfying. The point of keeping it, to me, is to show the kid someday that she or he was once that small…as long as memorabilia is organized & proportional, really edited for meaning, perhaps it stores energy.

  6. Diana W. says:

    I appreciate all the above ideas but the problem for me is the ‘artworks’ from my grandchildren have such loving personal messages on them. Again I feel I haven’t got the right ‘thought process’ to let these loving messages and accompanying pictures go…All that loving energy …Diana…

  7. colette compton says:

    Interesting comments, all of them. Usually I believe everything that Karen writes, and have done as she suggested with most of the contents of my house. However, I feel strongly about Children’s Art Work, and think I have the answer. Buy an inexpensive frame with glass for every child who is giving you Art Work. Whenever the child gives you a piece, frame it with him/her. Take out the old one. File it in a scrapbook, if the child wants you to keep it.

    Keep the scrapbooks on an organized shelf. Karen also says do not keep any possessions you are not using. That is not fair, in my humble opinion. I have precious Wedgwood and Waterford from my family, kept for each of my seven grandchildren when they get married. The secret is to keep things like that in clean boxes, preferably large storage containers, with the name of the child typed neatly and large. In a secure storage area.

    Family heirlooms are important. Part of our history. One day something may be on Antiques Roadshow! Have a sparkling day, and Be Happy.

  8. Anne P says:

    What has been working for me is to photograph my kids’ artwork and then compile them and make it into a book through mypublisher or blurb.com or snapfish, any of those self-publishing sites. Artkive is an app that does the same thing.

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