How often do you refuse to donate or discard something because it belonged to a family member, only to bury that item under a mound of stuff or let it sit and collect dust and bugs in a dark corner of the garage?  You say that you're honoring your mom, dad, or grandparent by keeping something of theirs, but then do not show it honor or respect by the way you treat it.

A perfect example of this is something I saw on an organization show a few years ago.  A woman was getting help reorganizing her home office.  Found in the office by the professional organizer were three dusty, torn boxes full of jazz and blues records.  These were her grandmother's old phonograph records.  There must have been hundred of records in those boxes.  Her rationale for keeping them was that she was keeping her grandmother's memory alive, and if she got rid of them, she would lose her memories of her grandmother.
The organizer said something very interesting.  He told her that she was NOT honoring her grandmother's memory.  In fact, by not properly taking care of these antique records, she was actually showing dishonor and disrespect to her grandmother. 

This idea shocked her.  The organizer told her to select THREE records.  Three out of the hundreds of records!  She hesitatingly and painstakingly selected three records that she felt most represented her grandmother, records that gave her loving and sweet memories of when her grandmother was alive.  The rest of the records were donated or (if damaged) discarded.

When the home office was revealed to the woman, the three records she had selected had been cleaned, matted, framed, and were prominently displayed on the wall.  The woman burst into tears - happy tears.  Instead of her grandmother's records stuck under a desk never to be seen, they were lovingly displayed in an artistic way.  The organizer said to her, "This is how to honor your grandmother." 

The lesson?  You don't need tons of your loved ones' things to honor their memory.  A picture, a pipe, a handkerchief, or even a pair of pumps your mom wore to her prom can be displayed in a place of honor.  Don't let the quantity of items be your focus; let the quality of items - and the memories they evoke - guide you when deciding what to keep and how to honor it.

-Kelly =)




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