Preserving Keepsakes While Downsizing

Do you find yourself struggling with letting go of some of your most precious keepsakes? Consider these practical and creative ways of repurposing your treasures while still downsizing.

Furniture

Begin by considering where in your home you are in need of storage, seating or updating. By doing this you can avoid purchasing new items by using what you already have and love.

Inspiration

  • A favorite dresser or armoire can be transformed into a dining room buffet, coffee nook, storage cabinet in your kitchen or even a vanity for your bathroom.
  • A spare headboard and footboard from a guest room can be customized to become a patio bench or decorative shelf with hanging storage.
  • A drawer from an old end table or dresser can make the perfect ottoman or even a bed for your pet.

Clothing and Fabrics

Holding onto your favorite pieces, even though they haven’t been worn in years? You aren’t alone. Clothing can helps us reminisce about important moments in our lives, but keeping them in our closets serves little purpose. Show them the light of day with these creative twists.

Inspiration

  • Take a sweater or button-down shirt you can’t part with and have it turned into a throw pillow that you can keep on your favorite chair.
  • Baby clothes can be turned into a throw blanket or quilt with the help of a professional so you can keep those precious memories close at hand.
  • Scarves, lace and other fabrics that may be taking up space in your closet can be used to create a table runner for your dining room.
  • A scarf that you love but don’t often wear could be attached to the strap of your handbag for easy spotting or used to wrap a small box to create a decorative storage bin or gift box.

Photographs

Storing and organizing photos can be a daunting task. But there are ways to hold onto the images in a more manageable fashion.

Inspiration

  • Turn original prints, negatives, and slides into digital copies on your own with a scanner or by using one of the many services available for this purpose.
  • Load your digital photos onto a digital photo frame so you can enjoy more of them every day.
  • Use a service like Snapfish or Shutterfly create a photo book you can keep neatly on your coffee table or bookshelf.

Documents, Letters, Awards and Other Miscellaneous Papers

You can create digital versions of these items so that they no longer take up physical space in your closets and drawers.

Inspiration

  • Have a letter you cherish? You can have the script from it printed on a tea towel or pillow.
  • Try taking a few of your favorite postcards and adhere them to coasters with decoupage. This creates a useful and memorable way to display your wares while protecting your furniture.

Souvenirs and Collectibles

These types of keepsakes, though they may be small in size, can take up a large amount of space. Coins, medals and baseball cards are just a few of the treasures that people often accumulate.

Inspiration

  • Turn silverware into a wearable piece of art with the help of a jeweler. Create a matching set for your family or friends as a unique gift.
  • Create a shadowbox out of your most prized collectibles. They may take up far less space on your wall and become a great conversation piece.
  • Incorporate small items like thimbles, keychains or other collectibles into your annual holiday decor by turning them into ornaments.
  • Create a gallery wall with decorative plates.
  • Gather items from particular trips- such as souvenirs, photos, tickets. Customize decorative boxes with the destination printed on the outside. Place all of your items within and display on a bookcase. Then you can easily find them when you want to reminisce.

While it would be comforting to some of us to keep everything and still maintain a tidy, manageable home- sometimes it simply doesn’t work. Keeping a few things can have the same effect of preserving your memories as keeping them all.

Adapted from the resident blog at Twin Towers retirement community in Cincinnati, OH.