fbpx
This Is My Story

This Is My Story

This Is My Story

It has taken me about ten years, but I just finished scanning family photos dating back to 1919! Pictures are my thing. After my parents’ death, I called everyone I knew and held an open house where everyone was free to get whatever they pleased from home. 

My parents were well-known, much-loved, and deeply respected people. There was never a doubt in my mind that their possessions, too, were to be deeply cherished.

There was only one exception to this free-for-all opportunity: nobody could touch a single picture. Those were the only things I valued, wanted, and needed. Photographs were utterly off-limits.

Picture Overload

My father loved documenting everything and everyone in our lives. As a result, there was a room full of photo albums in my parents’ home. Dad always ordered duplicate photos to gift to everyone with the good fortune of appearing in any of his pictures (as in everyone we knew!).

When the time came to move the photo albums, the cost of this adventure was over $2,000. But selecting the pictures to represent our life history best together was impossible to rush. I knew this, and I paid that money with joy.

A Longer Process Than Anticipated

Those photo albums were all over our formal living room for many months, which had remained unfurnished since we moved in. There were over 400 photo albums! 

As time passed, I selected the photos that meant the most to me and created brand-new albums. Then, some months later, we built our new media room and made specific cabinets just for these photo albums. 

I started scanning all those pictures at a rate of about one album a month. Then, I classified albums by year, which helped me create digital folders. Finally, I organized all my scanned photos that way in electronic format. 

And yes, I discarded all those albums and all those prints once these were scanned and safely backed up.

Tears, Joy, Laughter, Memories

The process was deeply emotional, intense, and satisfying. I saw things I’d never seen before. For example, I saw my twin sisters, who died shortly after birth for the first time. I had no idea there was a single picture of them!

Like that, I went through every facet of the emotional spectrum with pictures of relatives and friends, young and old, dead and alive, reviving the many adventures we had as a tribe. And so many stories came back to me while others came alive for the first time. People, parties, music, dance, meetings, joy, food, drinks, and laughter continuously filled my parents’ home.

Oh, Wait, There’s More!

As soon as the prints were all scanned, I remembered my neglected box of slides and movies. The slides numbered over 3,000. I knew of specific, cherished moments of my life in those slides. 

The scanning process was labor-intensive but easy. However, the emotional voyage was something else.

Telling The Story

So, after about ten years (I can’t believe this took me so long!), I finally finished scanning and organizing all those pictures and slides electronically by year. 

I enjoyed sharing some of these pictures with extraordinary people from our past along this journey. I have discovered that images grab people’s hearts and make unforgettable and deeply appreciated gifts. So many relationships from the past resurfaced! This process touched many hearts.

These days, pictures live inside our phones or in less than carefully maintained photo albums. But unfortunately, they do not tell a story that way. Our kids don’t know about our childhood and youthful adventures. It is hard for them to grasp that we were once their age, with insecurities, excitement, drama, romance, and stupidity, just like them! 

However, reconnecting with our past brings all that emotion, color, adventure, and joy to our present. And guess what? Our children are the most excited, cheerful consumers of these stories.

Knowing our family history makes us more resilient as human beings. Pictures are invaluable to the process of recounting our stories. We need only to listen with the heart for a moment.

So that is my story. What’s yours?

Organizing Mementos: The Warm & Fuzzy

Organizing Mementos: The Warm & Fuzzy

The Warm & Fuzzy Stuff

Mementos, or “warm & fuzzy” stuff, as I call them, are items that evoke fond memories. They are usually those things that can make us laugh or cry happy tears when we see them. And no matter what we call it, we all have some. It is necessary to streamline the collection so it makes sense and tells a story.

No matter how ruthless you become at minimizing and organizing, there will be a few items you can’t let go of, even when you have a digital record of them. You need to touch, smell, and see it in person, or the memory is not there. In some cases, we are not ready to part with some items. Maybe we never will.

I recommend getting a special box for those things. This box should be a beautiful, high-quality box, bin, or basket with a lid or a cover. It will contain those items that are so special to you.

The box should live in a private space like a shelf in your closet, under the bed, or in your home office.

Not Everything Is Warm & Fuzzy Material

You should probably scan or photograph the things that don’t make it to your “Warm & Fuzzy” box to preserve a digital memory. I discuss these processes in my blog “Organizing Kids’ Memories.” When you maintain a digital image, you keep the memory but not the clutter.

However, as said before, when dealing with your mementos, you will find a few items for which a digital record would never do. These are the items we are referring to.

Keep a minimal number of treasures in your warm & fuzzy collection. Otherwise, if everything seems important, then nothing is. The moments and memories in our lives are most important, not the things. So, carefully choose the items that best represent your most significant moments in life.

The collection is manageable when you become discriminatory with your “warm & fuzzy” collection. It should be a sampling of happy memories that make you smile, not an overwhelming heap of stuff you’d rather avoid.

Memorabilia

Organizing memorabilia refers to managing mementos you keep for their emotional value, but they are dispersed around your home and stowed away in drawers or closets. We want to gather these together and assign them a good home in your life and heart.

Memorabilia items of high monetary value or related to famous people, like sports players, antiques, and the like, should have a place of honor in your home so they are displayed and enjoyed. However, this type of memorabilia is a different story.

Should you have this type of treasure, you need to find a way to incorporate it into your home’s overall concept. Things like shadow boxes and glass displays come to mind.

There is an infinite number of options to honor your high-priced memorabilia! Just look into Pinterest and knock yourself out!

Having a neutral party help you with organizing your mementos or memorabilia is of great value. Handling these items might be an intense emotional rollercoaster, and you might avoid the issue altogether. 

Also, it might seem like a giant ball of yarn or a group of tangled wire hangers before it gets appropriately organized. It takes some patience and skill to untangle it all.

If this is your case, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to help you. We can laugh and cry together about this, but I promise to make it more fun than you ever imagined.