About a year before retiring and moving into our RV, we made every attempt to downsize our belongings. Storing is not only expensive, but can be hard on your stuff. The heat cracks furniture wood, the mice make nests in your cardboard boxes and there were things no longer needed (extra furniture or work related)—why save? We did a very good job downsizing for the first attempt, but after being without a couple of years, there was a realization that so much more could go.
The most difficult items to downsize are the small sentimental things. The birthday cards and letters, small inexpensive, but meaningful gifts, and personal items of family (living and gone). They take space, are rarely looked through, and collect dust. We have been to a few estate sales and it is just sad to see treasured items like this unceremoniously tossed into the trash. I decided that our “treasures” would be dealt with on our terms, not by someone else.
I finally tackled “the smalls” a year ago and came up with some good solutions. All the cards and most of the letters were scanned. Saved on the computer, external hard drive and in the cloud. A few “especially special” letters were kept as hard copies—they are possibly the few the family will keep after we die. The cards and letters were the bulkiest to store.
The personal items will become part of a shadow box display with background pictures of the individual owners (grandparents, siblings, and parents). This way they can be viewed often by us and visitors and sealed from dust. Another keepsake the family will most likely hang on to.
The gifts (a carved hand displaying the peace sign, a little book of poems telling me how special I am [of course! /smile/], work-related commemorative trinkets, and a couple of friendship rings) I finally gave away with the exception of the rings (one onyx and another turquoise) and one work item for hubby. These items were sentimental only to us and would not interest anyone else. They are gone, but not forgotten.