Konmari: Memorabilia and Sentimental Papers

Right after going through my toys, I tackled my collection of various memorabilia: old schoolwork, souvenirs, love letters, etc. This consisted of a file box of mementoes (which was already pared down, as I boasted about earlier) plus various papers and items I had found during the rest of the KonMari process, including some sketchbooks, diplomas, and clothing. This was already vastly pared down from several efforts over the years, probably 25% of what it used to be.


Not everything that reminds me of someone precious, or every item I’ve inherited, is here – some are around the house serving good purposes. I’ve realised that is the best kind of memento, really; a piece of jewellery or glassware that reminds me of someone, while also being used. So what’s in this box are the things that feel precious, but have no practical use.

Going through these items, I discovered that certain obvious mementoes didn’t really serve as the best reminders for happy memories. A case in point was the little sweater that belonged to my beloved childhood dog. Cute, yes. And super cute when he wore it. But in fact the sweater itself just made me sad. I love to look at pictures of my dog, and I have many happy memories of him; but for whatever reason, that sweater didn’t tie in with the happy memories. Why? I don’t know. And the beauty of the KonMari method is that I don’t have to waste energy figuring out if I don’t want to. I decided to let it go, and enjoy my many photos and fond memories instead.


I discarded various letters, usually keeping one memorable one from each important correspondent, and cleared out a few little bits like ticket stubs and souvenir pens. I also went through a lot of schoolwork and kept the pieces I remember fondly or which were particularly striking. What remains is, I think, more evocative, and anchors me more clearly to the most important parts of who I am.

Something I discarded, which I never thought I would, was a selection of old journals – not all, but some. I have been a journaler for many years, and at one time considered these tomes sacrosanct. Over the last few years, though, I’ve let go of several volumes. At one point I started a project of going through certain journals and tearing out the pages I didn’t want, leaving just the ones that seemed important, but this was too time-consuming for a result that, ultimately, never sparked joy for me: a mangled journal with a patchy life account, still full of stupidity and triteness for all that effort. I have learned that it is okay, even beneficial, just to toss the whole thing in these cases, rather than waste angst and time trying to ‘deal’ with it somehow. The KonMari method advocates letting your overall impression of the item be your guide, not getting lost in the pages reading and trying to decide what to do. So if I take the journal in my hand, ruffle through it, and feel a sort of ‘Ugh,’ I don’t read further or try to analyse why I feel that way; I let the whole thing go.

Here is what my collection of memorabilia included after tidying it up:

  • A file box of items
  • One binder of drawings and school papers
  • One folder of little books I wrote and illustrated as a child
  • A set of journals, consuming about 12 inches of shelf space
  • A few magazine-sized booklets and a binder containing my art and writing portfolios from college

This collection feels right for me at the moment. It’s tidy, and I could sit and skim through it all in one sitting if I wished.

Next up: photos, both physical and digital.

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