I received this comment from Anne last week…
I’ve been following your blog since September which was when I started to declutter my apartment. It’s a slow process with lots of decisions. I have several boxes of letters and greeting cards from friends and family dating back to 1970′s and I have no idea if I should keep them or not. Have you made a post of what to do with letters and greeting cards?
My reply was…
Hi Anne, letters and greeting cards are a tricky thing for some people. The short answer for me is keep the letters but weed through the greeting cards and only keep what is really significant to you. This is such a good question though that I think I will address it this week in a post so stay tuned.
Then I also received this related comment from Lesley who has been ploughing through the 365 archives…
I have the letter regret too. I had some old letters from a dear friend written about 18 years ago. Totally inconsequential stuff, nothing too deep or anything like that, mostly just written (years before email!) when arranging to next see each other. Very sadly he died this week far too young and I would give anything to be able to read those letters again. Just to be able to hear his humour in them one more time.
I need to go through my momento box at some point and will definitely be scanning stuff in before chucking anything else.
I have written before about how years ago I convinced my husband to throw away letters from a cousin that they had exchanged during their turbulent teenage years. When the cousin died in her early forties he regretted so much having parted with those letters. They would have been a great comfort to him at the time. We have however kept the letters we wrote to one another during our courtship days and from early in our marriage when we were separated at times due to my husbands work. Can’t say I ever pull them out and read them but I wouldn’t get rid of them.
Although it makes sense to scan and store letters digitally and dispose of the originals because they take up space there is just something special about having the originals that puts me off this idea. To have the original paper chosen by the author and their own ink and script is far more personal than to just have a digital copy. That being said if I had several boxes full that were a mix of insignificant scratchings and meaningful correspondence I would be inclined to scan them all but only keep those that I considered important to me.
When it comes to greeting cards I usually display them for about two weeks after the occasion for which they were celebrating. The only ones I keep intact are the ones from our children that usually contain a meaningful message that they have written themselves. Our daughter is particularly adept at writing just the perfect message while Liam is the comedian of the duo. From the other cards I then cut off any parts I can use to make my home made cards and throw the unusable segments into the recycling.
Our collection of meaningful communication would fit in a large shoe box and I consider that to be a small treasure that no amount of desire to minimise my belongings would make me part with.
If anyone out there has any suggestions and opinion on this topic please leave a comment in order to give a more rounded view on this subject.
Today’s declutter item
Things I am grateful for today
- Getting through the house cleaning quickly.
- Not getting too wet on our afternoon walk.
- Accidentally finding something useful when looking for something else – on the internet of course by now I ought to know where everything is in my house without having to look.
- Tom Yum Goong – I love this Thai hot and sour soup.
- My friend Amber – She comes out with some funny stuff at times the rest of the time she is just a really nice person.