Preserving the Past While Downsizing

The time has come. The children are grown. The grandchildren live miles away. The house you raised your family in has become more of a haunting box of memories than the cozy home it provided for many years. Most of the rooms are now used as storage for things rarely needed.  The extra space is no longer necessary, and it’s hard to keep up with all the cleaning and dusting. While the idea might seem foreign and scary, the time has come to downsize.

But what’s to come of all the precious memories that have accumulated in your house over the years? Many people fear that downsizing means they will have to store away (or worse!) throw out any memory items that will no longer fit in their new home. However, this does not have to be so. The “modern art” drawings your grandchildren did at age 4? You can keep. The photographs from the family reunion in 1954? You can keep. The old hat collection that you inherited from Aunt Marge 20 years ago? Don’t think about taking them to the thrift store just yet! All that’s needed is a little creativity and a desire to organize.

This might seem daunting, but can be made fun by enlisting the help of your children or grandchildren. This creative opportunity offers a chance to bond with your family. You can create some new memories in the process!

Scrapbooks and Photo Albums

There are many ways to help preserve memories to take with you to your new home. The simplest option involves creating a photo album or scrapbook. Creating an album yourself gives you total freedom in the arrangement of material. You are also free to redo something that doesn’t work the first time. Finally, you can ensure that everything’s done with proper care.

Shadow Boxes

For bigger items such as trophies or clothing, consider making a shadow box. You would be able to join all specific items for one memory into a pretty and tidy box for display. When it comes to creating shadow boxes, custom creation is the best way to go. Creating a custom shadow box allows you to specify the dimensions and colors of the box to make it unique to you.

Say you’re creating a box for your oldest grandchild’s high school graduation. You’d be able to create a custom box with their school colors in it. Sounds pretty neat, right? Another bonus of creating a custom box is having the option to choose UVA/UVB protected glass. Nothing ruins the memory of an item like sunlight and fading! Now you no longer need to worry about placing items around the house to avoid direct sunlight. Shadow boxes also are perfect for special items of clothing. The lace on your wedding veil will still be vibrant 50 years after you walked down the aisle. Also, why not surprise your special someone with a custom shadow box for the big 50th anniversary?

Memories to Artwork

Finally, consider turning bigger memory items into stand-alone pieces of art. There are many custom framing options that can turn textiles and clothing into beautiful pieces of art. The small tapestry that you purchased while on your European cruise? Have it encased in a custom frame and hang it with pride in the entry way of your new home. The child’s kimono that you discovered while touring the cherry blossom festival in Japan? A custom frame could match the colors of the kimono, and would look fantastic hung in the guest room of your new home. Your new art can help support the decorative theme of any of the rooms in your new home.

Recommended Materials

Many professional conservators recommend making sure that any preservation materials used should be acid free. Chemicals contained in photo albums and supplies that are not acid free can cause photographs and important papers to decay. But, there is a wide array of products that are acid free to use that are accessible for all. A call to your local library or museum would provide useful information about what products would be best to use. There may even be a local print or framing store in your neighborhood that offers the tools you will need.

Don’t feel like leaving your home? Consider shopping for supplies online.  Amazon has an impressive array of acid-free products that can help preserve your memories. There you can order all the supplies you need to organize your memories and they ship straight to your door!

Enjoying your new organization

While you might not look at Aunt Marsha’s letters or Uncle Ken’s photos every day, knowing that the memories are safe will offer peace of mind. With all the hustle and bustle that comes from moving, you will have one less thing to worry about. Your memories will stay safe for the future generations to come.


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