Three ways to preserve family history during downsizing
You don’t have to look far to see the benefits of downsizing. Less stuff means less work and more leisure. But deciding exactly what to keep and what to discard can be tough, especially when it comes to items of great personal value. When you have years of memories and history to consider, a little strategy goes a long way.
First, take stock of those items that absolutely must travel with you — the essentials and the indispensables. Next, evaluate how much space you have left to work with in your new home. And finally, get creative! Here, we’ll explore three ways to champion family history in the midst of transition.
Most families have one, a piece of furniture that’s been passed down but doesn’t really serve a functional purpose anymore. When downsizing, it’s difficult to make a logical case for a china cabinet that holds dishes you’ll never use, no matter how beautiful it is. But that doesn’t mean the cabinet can’t find a new use. Consider the materials before you; with a bit of retrofitting, could it serve as a bookcase or entertainment unit? If you or someone you know is handy with tools, could you take the wood and use it to create something you can use every day?
Tip: Check YouTube, Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration.
We use photographs and journals to preserve a special time and place, so why shouldn’t we use them to document those items we love and have to let go? Whether a piece ultimately ends up with a family member, friend or fortunate stranger, we can hold on to the stories that make them special. Snap a photograph and then get crafty by creating a memory book that combines the photo with the story of that piece. Write down every detail! You’ll be able to revisit it for years to come without having to find the physical storage space. Likewise, if you find that documents and photographs are starting to monopolize too much space, start a digital archive that the whole family can enjoy.
Tip: Read up on the idea of Commonplace Notebooks for creative options to combine photos, words and keepsakes.
Often the value in our family heirlooms comes from the events they have witnessed. Even if you end up being able to move most or all of those pieces rich with family history, take the time to share why they matter with your friends and loved ones. Wherever the item ultimately ends up, you’ll all have the shared experience of celebrating what it means to your family — and that’s truly priceless.
Tip: Don’t rush; allow time for detours while packing and volunteer stories that occur to you on seeing a certain item for the first time in a while.
You don’t have to sacrifice memories when downsizing. We hope these suggestions inspire some creative solutions.
If you or a loved one are considering a move to a retirement community, read our e-book for tips and advice or get in touch to learn what makes Holiday Retirement communities special.