How to deal with (literal) emotional baggage

One reader writes:

Dear Crystal,

What should I do with stuff that I feel an emotional connection to but don’t really need? Case in point: what to do with my deceased ex-husband’s ancient, really long skis?!

Nostalgic in New Hampshire

Dear Nostalgic, here are some innovative ways to organize (or ship out) those items we truly cherish but definitely don’t need:

  1. Take a picture. I used to save all the free t-shirts I received when I signed up for local runs and walks. I thought it would be unthinkable to throw them out – I had earned them, after all! But years and years passed by and those shirts stacked up. Then I had an idea: I took a digital picture of every shirt and saved them where I could always look at them. I even plan to make a cool photo album (“Crystal’s Amazing Races, A Decade of T-Shirts”). Then I gave away all the t-shirts to charity, and I have never missed them since.
  2. Put it on display. Why hide some treasured item in a dusty box in the attic when you can show it off? Companies like this one can make memory quilts out of your t-shirt collection. Mount those skis on the wall of the den. Frame your children’s masterpieces with these art frames!
  3. Make something useful. Take your momentous items and construct new practical objects. For example:
  4. Create a “saying goodbye” ritual. Invite all your friends and make a party out of the occasion. Then get rid of the object. This will help you create new memories and replace any old ones you may not wish to keep. Consider it a new chapter in your life!
  5. Give the items a new home. Yes, I mean give them away or sell them. Someone out there in the world will very likely love to have your stuff. Maybe they even need it. Try Craigslist or Freecycle. Friends and relatives are also handy if you need others to haul your emotional attachment items away for you.

Have some more ideas? Write to Crystal and let her know!