One of the reasons I write this column is to help others get organized, simplify their lives and ultimately discover a sense of calm, which naturally comes with tidiness.
Some of this advice, which I personally think is invaluable, you may or may not want to hear, but the truth of the matter is that the time has come for you to tell your kids, “what’s yours is yours; and if you want it, you better come and get it – not a year from now, not when you have time and not when you have a bigger house – NOW!”
Thank goodness for Pinterest, because the majority of people I interviewed for this article admitted to holding onto their kids’ keepsakes although their “children” were grown and had children of their own. Some even confessed to not moving when they had the chance for fear of “descendant retaliation” should they decide to clear out the clutter and downsize.
If you agree it’s time to cut the proverbial umbilical cord, but want to do something creative with the mementos, read on. For those of you who aren’t ready to live your own lives, at least consider cutting the clutter in half.
Trophies & ribbons:
Looking for a fun way to re-purpose competition ribbons? You can sew a ribbon quilt or throw pillow out of the ribbons, or if you’re really creative, make a wreath and matching garland out of the ribbon florets. I also loved the idea of filling a large apothecary jar with the florets.
Trophies, the kind with the little figure on top, can be dismantled and made into Christmas tree ornaments or hung upside down on the back of a door to make an unusual coat hook. Smaller trophies can be taken apart; remove the figurine of the man or woman and glue it to a cork to be used as a bottle stopper. Silver trophy “cups” are perfect for a variety of purposes, including storing makeup brushes and office and kitchen supplies.
Class pictures: as if it’s not frustrating enough to save all the construction-paper cut-out turkeys; cotton ball snowmen and popsicle stick reindeer, now the schools rope you into purchasing multiple photos in every size imaginable; mugs, pins, tee-shirts and trivets with your kids’ artwork. I suggest you pack these items up and return them to their rightful owner – your children! If they don’t want them, you can break them in a hundred pieces and make colorful mosaic stepping stones out of the pieces.
Yearbooks: With the advent of the Internet and social media if there’s someone your children want to stay in touch with from high school they can do so with the click of a mouse. Again, if they refuse to let go, feel free to hand them back over and let the graduate decide what to do with them.
Prom dresses, tuxedos & letter jackets: I’ll never forget the first time I met my soon-to-be, and favorite, brother-in-law and his two sons. The boys, who were 14 and 16 years old at the time, came down the stairs singing Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. It took me a minute to realize one of them was wearing a white tuxedo with the collar and cuffs folded back – yep, you’ve got it, his dad’s prom tuxedo. I had to wonder what kind of guy my sister was marrying considering he had graduated from high school 30 years before.
Bottom line? Unless you or your kids are in desperate need of a Halloween costume (and can still fit in them), donate old tuxedos and prom dresses to a local charity or theater group.
Still storing your kids’ letterman jackets? I suggest taking the letter off the jacket to send to your son or daughter and donate the jacket. If you can’t part with your children’s awards and memorabilia, consider making a shadow box out of old lettermen letters, diplomas, graduation invitations and trophy placards.
If you’re wondering what to do with your children’s artistic masterpieces, that’s another column all together!