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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 1940s? 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 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 vast, 4 bedrooms, 2-car garage house? My memories aren’t in “stuff”. If you’re keeping the stuff because it was just Grandma’s but really didn’t use it, and it is just sitting there only because it was Grandma’s, 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 by 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 of 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 grandma’s 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 the 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!)


I had 100+ years of pictures passed down to me. This was such an important part of downsizing for me, that I actually did a whole blog about it. Pictures are so important! Follow the link below and I promise you’ll get some great ideas from what I did to downsize our pictures.

Click here to read What To Do With Photos When Downsizing

Now that you have smaller amounts of 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.

Here are a few blogs we think you’ll love!

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3 thoughts on “What To Do With Sentimental Items When Downsizing”

  1. Use larger, darker fonts in your posts. These are a real struggle. Some of we downsizers have older eyes!!


    1. Thank you and I’m sorry! I believe my fonts are black, so I apologize. I’ll see what I can do. Thank you for your comment. It’s very appreciated.

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