How do you decide what really makes you HAPPY?

How do you decide what really makes you HAPPY?

Currently, I’m clearing out accumulated mementos, and I hear from my students that they are doing the same!  But of ALL of those keepsakes, how do you decide WHAT is worthy of saving, and what you can choose to let go of?

It can be hard to make these emotional decisions. I encourage you to manage your mementos using the acronym “HAPPY!”


H = HAPPY – “Does it bring HAPPY memories?”
Don’t save that breakup letter (text or email either) from someone that broke your heart. You know it happened; you don’t need a physical (or electronic) reminder to bring negative feelings back.


A = AMPLE – “Is it an AMPLE example of the event/person?”

Your best friend sends you a birthday card every year and you love her for it. But do you really need to save all of them? Find ONE card where she wrote an especially meaningful note about your decades-long friendship, and tuck THAT one away in your memento box.


P = PHOTO – “Can a PHOTO of this be a great reminder?”

Instead of saving an enormous piece of heirloom furniture that’s not to your taste, perhaps a photo of it will suffice. The same question goes for beloved but outdated clothing, artwork, children’s toys, and anything else that has positive memories attached to it, but that takes up space that you simply don’t have.


P = PIECES = “Can a PIECE of this be all I need?”
Instead of saving all of a deceased loved one’s clothes because of the cherished memories they bring, I encourage you to create a quilt out of them, as I did with my mother’s clothes. You can also make quilts of marathon t-shirts or sweet baby clothes. Similarly, instead of storing the entire 18-piece set of your grandmother’s china in your studio apartment, save just the tea set to display and use and donate the rest!


Y = YEAR/YORE – “What YEAR is this object from, and what is its lore from YORE?”

Be sure to date anything important with the year and the story about it!  This is crucial for paper-based memorabilia like letters, cards, and photos. The more you can describe an object’s heritage or history, and WHY you are saving it, the better. Believe me, future generations wondering about the object will be grateful that you have done this!

Finally, please do not feel OBLIGATED to keep anything, especially if your space is limited. Perhaps a photo or one piece will be enough to keep those happy memories in mind?

Tell us the keepsakes you cherish and are keeping, and what you have decided to let go of, in the chat of my friendly FB community, “Organizing Solutions for Busy Women.”

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