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What To Do With Sentimental Items When Downsizing

You got rid of what?

When we were downsizing to live and travel full-time in our RV, we got so many questions on this topic. What do you do with Grandma’s punch bowl from the 1940’s? Or the old pictures that were passed down? Well, I’m going to tell you what we did. There is no right or wrong answer here. I’m going to just share what worked for us, and maybe you’ll get some ideas of your own out of our suggestions. 

I (Stacy) am an only child, raised by my grandparents. So, there was a generation gap there, and I also was left all the stuff when they passed away. Can I just say I’m glad, as a society, we’ve graduated from the doily stage. Ha! I think my grandma had everything in the house on top of a doily. So what did I do with everything in that huge, 4 bedroom, 2 car garage house? My memories aren’t in “stuff”. If you’re keeping the stuff because it was just Grandmas but really don’t use it, and it is just sitting there only because it was grandmas, I’d like to offer you alternative ways to “remember it”.  

The Stuff

If it means something to you, and not simply “it was grandmas”, and you actually have fond memories surrounding it, why not take a few beautiful pictures of that punch bowl, old desk or the porcelain doll she so cared about. If those items bring you memories looking at them, then get those pictures printed out, put them into a beautiful scrapbook and write that memory down next to the picture. That’s much smaller than any item. Imagine how those memories or stories can be passed down now! And then imagine the joy passing that item on to someone who will really use it. Either in your own family, or bless another family with it. You can do this with hundreds of items. If you have 100 pictures of 100 items, which one is smaller? The beautiful heavy punch bowl of my grandmas was something that I actually don’t remember seeing … ever … in our house. It was tucked away in a dark deep cabinet and I found it after she passed. I had it looked at for value, and it was simply a very heavy, worthless, punch bowl. One that I would never use. So along with thousands of other things, I donated them, or dropped them off at the auction house in town and made a few dollars. None of my memories have anything to do with stuff. All my memories have everything to do with moments. Stories. Time spent together. Vacations we took. Holidays we were together. Stories at night before bed. Not punch bowls and old macrame owls hanging on the wall (tell me someone remembers those! Ha!)



OH The pictures. I had tin type pictures, slide pictures, big pictures printed on heavy cardboard and I also came from a time when I, myself, was taking pictures with film. Holy negatives! Here’s what I did. I sat many weekends going through pictures, and putting them in piles of scan and trash. Yes, I threw away pictures. Here’s an example of a picture I had in my box of treasured family pictures of my kids as baby. Nice right? I mean we all know what this. Of course. When you take pictures with film you were sure to take 10 pictures of the same thing, hoping one would come out. Well, 9 of them did come out, (sort of) and they were all almost exactly the same. So why are you keeping 9 pictures of the same thing? That was my mind-set. I then did research and got recommendations from others. I used a company called ScanCafe. (we are not being paid by or sponsored by Scan Cafe) A little pricy, but so worth it! Not only do they scan all your old photos and negatives and slides and … and … and but they fix them too! Color correction, repairs, etc. They then download them all online for you to view, choose which ones you actually still want, and those are the ones you pay for. They save them in high quality both online, and send you a disc with them all on it. What a concept!! There are many companies out there that are similar. So do your own research. Yes, it was a little expensive but I started this process almost a year before we left. So every 2-4 months I had another chunk of pictures I sent into them. All in all I think I spent about $1,000 getting them all scanned, color corrected and the ones that were truly priceless to me – now repaired. I now have them all online and on a disc in my fire safe box. 


Now that you have no stuff and all your priceless pictures are saved on a disc smaller than the palm of your hand, what are you waiting for? Get out there and make more memories! You don’t need that old macrame owl or 400 doilies to give you those memories. They are already with you.  I’d love to hear our ideas on sentimental items and what you did with them. Please share your brilliant ideas below in the comments. And remember, Live Simply ~ Give More ~ Expect Less. 

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