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Treasured Keepsakes or Clutter? A Look at Memorabilia
Handwritten notes, children’s artwork, report cards, ticket stubs . . . little tidbits of our lives. What’s worth keeping? What should be released? Only you can decide which items hold most meaning and importance for you.
As you decide which items to keep, we do offer a word of advice. Keep those items that truly stir your heart or capture important events, and allow yourself to release the rest. In her book, The Gift of the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh compares our lives to the process of collecting seashells. Imagine that you are exploring the beach, gathering shells along the way. Each time you uncover a shell, you carefully consider its beauty and uniqueness. You decide whether or not it is worth keeping. By carefully choosing which shells to keep, you end up with a small collection of beautiful shells that bring you joy. If you had insisted on keeping every shell, then your beautiful shells would be lost in the mass of other shells.
The same can be said for your memorabilia. If you insist on keeping every item that is attached to a memory of an event or special person in your life, then you will soon be overwhelmed, and your truly precious keepsakes will be lost among the masses.
If you need more convincing, then just remember the major side benefit of purging. Your task of organizing your memorabilia will be so much easier!
Once you decide which items to keep, you can make the secondary decision on how to store or display the items. Whichever method you choose, you should be sure to protect your keepsakes from acid, lignin and PVC. Here's a quick explanation of these hazards:
This may sound complicated, but you don't need to worry about remembering the details.
Just remember that acid, lignin and PVC will damage photographs and memorabilia! For ultimate protection of your precious keepsakes, be sure that all of your storage and display materials are acid-free, lignin-free, and PVC free.
If you would like to include your memorabilia in a scrapbook album, you have several options:
Be sure to use acid-free adhesives when mounting memorabilia directly onto your album pages. You can use self-adhesive photo corners or a corner slot punch for those items that you don’t want to permanently mount.
To safeguard your precious keepsakes, practice these “Don’ts”:
Do not use rubber cement, tape or glue, which may contain acid and harmful chemicals that will destroy your photos and memorabilia.
Do not laminate memorabilia. Laminating with common heat-sealing laminating machines permanently traps dust and contaminants in a closed environment. Laminating machines that use heat subject your memorabilia to high heat and strong pressure that can cause it to age more quickly. And, laminating with a heat-sealing laminating machine means that the lamination is irreversible.
Never put newspaper directly into your scrapbook albums. Newspaper is a cheap paper that contains lignin. Have you ever noticed how quickly a newspaper yellows especially if it exposed to sunlight? The yellowing effect is the result of lignin. Newspaper also contains acid. Storing photographs and memorabilia with newspaper creates a damaging environment for your keepsakes, as the acid will migrate from the newspaper.
If you do not want to create a scrapbook album, you can still enjoy your items in the future, by ensuring their safety with the use of archival-quality storage supplies such as: acid-free file folders, archival boxes or polypropylene enclosures. (Remember: All supplies for storing and displaying photos or memorabilia should be acid-free, lignin-free, and PVC free!)
If you’ve been feeling guilty because you haven’t organized and protected your family’s keepsakes, then take heart. This accomplishment pales in comparison to the significance of the journey you embark on each day -- creating joyful memories with the people you cherish most in your life.
Copyright 2003-2004, by The Sentimental Playground. Article may be reprinted with permission. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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