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Decluttering Made Easy™: Trophies, Books, and Memories

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After the kids have flown the nest and it’s time to consider rightsizing, what do you do with all their belongings? We often run into this problem with our clients who are transitioning from a family home to an “empty-nester” space. 

Your children’s mementos are still in place, and you’re hesitant to remove them, but the children don’t always want their old “stuff.” So, what do we do?

Organized Dresser

To start, it’s helpful to remember that an object isn’t the memory itself, so decluttering kids’ rooms won’t erase precious memories. With that in mind, you have a few choices: 

  • If you really wish to hold on to certain objects but don’t have the room for them, take a picture of the things that spark the deepest memories and create a “memory scrapbook.”
  • If you no longer wish to hold on to something tangible, you can research the best ways to get rid of them, including recycling, donation, gifting, and, of course, returning them to their owner.

At CMFTO, the most typical items we work with in the second category are old trophies, books (especially textbooks), and personal items such as clothing, stuffed animals, and toys, and even furniture and decor. In order to work through the clutter challenge of “kids’ stuff,” we suggest addressing each child’s room and belongings in this order:

  • Ask your child to set a time to pick and choose the items they’d like to keep. Prepare for this process by purchasing boxes or storage bins so your child can sort their items on the spot and remove them the same day. (If you opt to store items for your loved one, limit them to one box or bin, as we know people rarely revisit stored items.)
  • Ask other children, family, or friends if there are items they would like. Gifting is a great way to share the blessings of the past with others.
  • Categorize any remaining items into three categories: Sell, Donate, Discard. You can sort the items using bins and bags, or sticky notes for larger items, such as furniture.
  • Once you’ve sorted everything, it’s time to remove the items from your home. Selling memorabilia is difficult, but can be done. Sometimes it’s easiest to have professional assistance, but family can also be a great help to run errands, do donation drop-offs, and make trips to the recycling center or local trash collection.

Clearing a home of a child’s belongings (even if that “child” has children of their own!) is a big step, often rife with emotion, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to remember, share, and prepare to make new memories together.

All my best,

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