I’m drowning in memories

By | August 25, 2022

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Holding onto things that spark special memories is something very hard for me to give up. I think it is because they spark memories of good feelings and connects us to our past.

Don’t want to loose the memory

To tell the difference on something we hold onto and drowning in clutter I’m reminded of Marie Kondo when she picks up an object and says to herself “Do I see myself bringing this into the future” if she chooses not to she thanks the memory and discards. Personally, this sends shivers down my spine because while we may not use the object it holds a good feeling or connects us to a past memory that we wish to hold onto to remember. Think of something as simple as baby shoes, an old wallet, and movie tickets.

Reframing Mario Kondo

I think reframing Marie Kondo’s expression to help sort out our minds is “Can we see this object getting passed to my child or loved one if I pass away” This became clear to me when my grandparent’s home burnt down on their 70th Wedding Anniversary, I managed to recover some musical programs from their back room that survived, she recounted various memories on what that time meant for her and how they were special, I found those memories precious than the object itself that had been stored away for decades in the back room. At that moment I had the realisation that those important memories you held are only stuck with you and the one you shared them with, that future generation of people that love you will not remember what that object meant to you and why it was so special.

Sorting memories with a new mindset

This also makes me think of when Marie Kondo liked to sort everything down to the finest detail, was helping someone sort out physical photos her approach was sorting the photos into two piles.

  1. Photos that connected the person to a happy memory, if two similar photos choose the best one. And that went into a photo album to be put on the shelf to be enjoyed.
  2. Photos that didn’t do this were sorted into a different box to be stored.

Note that she didn’t throw away the other photos as Marie Kondo like the rest of us acknowledges things that connect us to our past are important.

Step by Step

Now back to those larger objects decluttering our lives, I think the same method can be implied, and with the advance, in computers, we can either tackle one object at a time or focus on one category like Marie Kondo does as she finds yields the best results.

Take books, you can gather all your books and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I see myself bringing this into the future?
  2. Can we see this object getting passed to my child or loved one if I passed away?
  3. It Sparks a happy memory for me but doesn’t need it anymore.
  4. I don’t need it and can be sold or donated.

Then sort them into 4 piles to reflect the order above.

Then we can work on what to do with the piles.

  1. For items, you want to keep, keep them on your shelf.
  2. For items, you want to pass on that you think others will find value add a note to the front as to why.
  3. For items, you hold onto the memory and don’t intend to use to pass on get a photo of the book and create a document on the computer writing about the memory on why you value it and what memory it sparked in you.
  4. Books, you don’t need at all can be donated and sold.

Pass on those memories for yourself and others

So step 3 about the document recording can also be used for step 1,2,3 when you have enough entries in the document you can print them into their own photo book that also in the future can be passed down.

You can also take photos of a single page or write a quote that inspired you to leave for yourself and future generations.


Memories can be hard to tackle with even Marie Kondo values cherished memories, while she sees others also deal with them in non-sentimental categories, like clothing, I feel almost every category in our possessions triggers memories and hold stories and I feel the solution might be creating something that can not only be valued by you but also the future generations that will have the opportunity to share in your joyful memories you hold onto and treasure so dearly.

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