I love listening to Desert Island Discs. The anticipation of the choices, the surprises, the humour, the records that mark the passage of time through someone’s life. I wonder at how they can bring this down to 8 records, a single book and a luxury with the final challenge of a single record. A single piece of music that is so preciously linked with the memories it evokes that it is the one thing saved.
When I then look at the things that I keep as memories and the things that my clients hold onto to mark that special event, that life changing moment, there is so much joy, so much happiness, so much poignancy that we want to save and savour.
But, as we are discovering, we can’t keep it all. It isn’t the ‘stuff’ that is the memory – it is merely the trigger. So how do we sort out what to keep? What is of value to us alone, or what is of value for future generations to know about.
I decided to use the Desert Island Disc structure to help me to produce a memory management system:
Disc 1 – someone else’s memory reminders. Would you waste your own memory record with someone else’s choice? This includes saving things for your children when they grow up!
Disc 2 – childhood. Following on from above, which early years masterpieces do you really want to keep?
Disc 3 – cards/personal letters/emails/records of past jobs. Remember there may be some you want nobody to see! Clear the painful ones – why would you want to hold onto that!
Disc 5 – knick-knacks. Rumour has it that by decluttering in this area you can save up to 40% of your housework time.
Disc 6 – ticket stubs, and that funny smurf that you were given when you were 12. Concentrate on the happy not the sad.
Disc 7 – old bank statements. Make a note of the bank account, keep the opening and closing statement. This should cover you if there is ever another PPI type situation.
Disc 8 – photos. This is one of the most important to get right. They hold the power to not only be a memory for you but other people too.
Books. On your desert island you are only allowed 1 book. Books can make people very protective but when are you really going to read that paperback you bought for your beach holiday 10 years ago again?
I see the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible as the things of family importance so require some discussion.
The luxury – your personal self-indulgence!
There are lots of wonderful ways to store your memories, lovely boxes, photo books, apps for artwork. To enjoy them clear away the memory clutter and spend time on your own personal desert island enjoying the most important ones.