Knickknacks in the Attic

Recently I was sorting through things in in my attic and came across two boxes nicely labeled “knickknacks - attic.”  This ranks in my top 3 labels to NOT use for boxes, #1 and #2 being “miscellaneous” and “stuff.” 

I caution clients to avoid these labels, but when I last moved five years ago I had labeled two boxes “knickknacks” and shoved them in the attic. Good place for them, right?

I had no idea what I had packed in there, so I decided to take a look. I also “decided to decide.”* That is, I’d make a decision on this stuff, once and for all. No more knickknack boxes in the attic!

What was in there? I found my wooden animal and small box collections from when I used to travel often to Africa and Latin American. Also lots of drink coasters. Why did I have so many coasters and how had we possibly lived without them? (Just kidding). Also inside was my husband’s model (I mean die-cast replica) 42 Ford pick up truck from his days as a Product Manager at the Danbury Mint.

While I found a few treasures, like a favorite wooden elephant named Stampy, and a few nice framed photos, many of the items didn’t “fit my life now.”* 

Following my “decide to decide” strategy, I immediately sorted out the things I knew I wouldn’t use and put them in a pile to donate. I found a place for Stampy and returned to the 42 Ford pick up to my husband. I also set out a few new photographs.

Then I was left with the dreaded “maybe” pile. Clients: I know first-hand how hard it is to decide on the maybes. For me, the maybes represented my past life when I regularly travelled internationally as part of my non-profit career.

It was hard to part with this pile, but I decided if I couldn’t find a way to enjoy these things, I’d donate them. (I certainly wasn’t enjoying them packed away in the attic.) So now I am looking for a way to display some of the wooden animals, and have let a lot of the little boxes go into the donate pile. Whew!

Although it was hard to decide on some of these items, I feel better and lighter knowing that I unearthed these things from the attic. Now on to find any boxes I’ve marked “stuff to save!”

*From The Organizing Sourcebook: Nine strategies for simplifying your life by Kathy Waddill. For this organizing project I used Strategy #1 and #7.