This is not an easy subject but I get these questions all the time, “what am I supposed to do with old photos, frames, certificates, figurines, birthday cards, diaries etc.” Let me share an interesting story with you. I was giving a talk a few years back and a participant in the audience shared her trouble sleeping and asked me for solutions. I asked her a couple of different questions and the one question that nailed it was, “What’s under your bed?” Her answer explained it all, “All the photos from my two ex-Husbands” Bingo! I loved that she had both ex’s all under her bed… well, how would be sleeping every night? It was clear she still had some unresolved issues and was having trouble releasing these memories. Getting rid of those photos was her pathway to letting go and getting some good shut eye!
It’s a funny thing we do, we like to hold onto things that are associated with hard times. I’ve seen it over and over, women especially hold onto past items that remind them of the hard times. Its as if we want proof of the struggles we go through. But my question is how does that help you get over it and make a difference in the future? It is impossible to move forward and expect a different future if the energy around you just reminds you of the mistakes you made. It is the good times we want to hold onto and display!
According to the practice of Feng Shui, photos should be balanced from the past, present and future. I worked with a client who had pictures of her children when they were babies and toddlers but were currently teenagers. She had just been through a painful divorce yet ironically, she still had a picture from her wedding, it was in her wedding dress as the wind blew the veil over face so she couldn’t see. It was a great picture and I see why she like it, but the irony was her marriage was not a happy one! She said she felt blinded by love! Here it was still sitting in her office.
Be mindful of why you are keeping items and how it relates to where you are going in your future. Does this support who I am now and who I will be in the future? Keep asking yourself this simple question as you clean out your space.
So let’s break it down for you.
Step 1 – Go through these items and ask yourself what memories do they hold for you? Does it support who I am now and the future me?
The idea is to keep the best ones, the ones you love and make you feel good. Let go of anything that gives you a sense of guilt or obligation. Holding on to an item you don’t love because you’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings is giving your power away.
But, sometimes in rare cases, I have recommended to clients to hold on to an item that was given to them and keep it tucked away until that person comes over. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to know that you are making someone happy and giving others joy if it means a lot to them. Again, this is one exception to this rule.
Step 2 – Find ways to display it with love!
It’s time to be creative and see how you can repurpose an item. For example, if you have an old mirror, table, dresser, or chair could you repaint it? You will be surprised by how a fresh can of paint can make something new! Just google “How To” and boom there’s a video on just about anything.
A way to streamline photos is creating a video of all your old photos set to music. Many stores are offering this from CVS, Walgreens or Costco. Even my mom has taken old movies and had them transferred to DVD’s and given as gifts to family members. Online companies like Shutterfly, offer albums you can easily create and are so beautiful. Note: You can find special deals on Groupon.
Step 3 – Find someone who values these items and give them away.
Ask your children or loved ones if they want specific pictures. If you are divorced ask your child if they would like your wedding photos. You can sit down and go through the photos with them and select the best pictures of the good times, keep a few and discard the others. Your children will feel good about being part of the process. For other items in your house, think about all your friends and family members who may have commented on items in your house and ask them if they want it.
Step 4 – Burn it!
It’s bold but I’ve had clients create bonfires and throw out photos, dresses, diaries etc. There are many rituals about burning items. I’ve never burned items myself, but I have written special letters to the universe and burned them. Burning items is similar to a cleansing. For some people it gives the release they need, a cleansing to start over again. Shredding it is another great solution and something I love to do with my journals. Once I’ve completed my journal I rip out the pages and shred ‘em. For me it’s a letting go and a moving on ritual. I’m no longer the person who I was when I started the journal so it’s time to move on.
Remember the more you let go the better you feel, the less work you have for yourself, you save money and you feel much lighter.
I would love to hear some solutions you have done with old memorable items. Please leave a comment below.
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