The Minimalist Memory Keeper

March 06, 2018

It seems like minimalism is the new thing, and trust me, I get it. The thought of being able to pare away all the excess all in the name of simplicity and a more relaxed way of life sounds positively idyllic - who wouldn't want that? Being able to toss the TOTES (literally TOTES) of stuff we've schlepped around as we've moved twice in the past 7 years feels liberating to even think about. I've donated more boxes and bags of unused, not our favorite clothes, toys + house items to the local thrift shop than I even thought possible and it IS like the feeling you have when you can finally open your windows on a fresh spring day after the long winter.

It's ... refreshing. I feel... lighter.

But as a self-proclaimed lover of all things vintage and historical I sometimes have a hard time letting go. Where do I draw the line? How do I know what to get rid of, what to keep... will I be sorry I tossed out that tote of notebooks filled with my notes from high school biology? The boxes of notes my friends and I used to pass (yes, physical notes, we didn't have texts, but we did have the Casio My Super Magic Diary we could message each other back and forth on if we were in close enough proximity). What about all this stuff my children are now starting to create and bring home? I can't throw away their scribbles, no matter how random and obscure... can I?

As with most things, I feel like there tend to be two extremes: burn + purge everything // latch on to and keep everything because heaven knows when you're going to need that random kitchen appliance for that super complicated French recipe you're going to make "someday." I like to think of myself as a Minimalist Memory Keeper. It's my job to make sure what we keep around are things that remind us of happy times... big life events... little moments that have become favorite family stories. It's also my job to make sure that the things that we don't need to keep don't end up taking space (physically, mentally, or emotionally) in the sweet little home we've created. It's almost like I'm the curator of our memory museum... making sure what stays does and is valued, taken care of, and honored.

I keep the first drawing my oldest did of herself and her baby sister... It's framed and gets to be hung up where we can enjoy it and remember what a big accomplishment that was for her. I keep the generations-old family pocket watch, handed down to my husband and I at our wedding and display it with some of our other vintage decor. I have (and use!) my great grandmother's wooden rolling pin when I cook with my girls, and every time I remind them how many things this rolling pin has helped to make. My babies hospital hats + coming home outfits... yep, keepers.

At a time when it seems like the right thing to do is to get rid of all the things in the name of minimalism, I hope hope hope that mamas will take a moment to take a deep breath and really look at what's important to them before packing every last item they're overwhelmed with off to Goodwill. Decide what you want to curate your memories collection to look like, and then do that. And if it looks different than what everyone else is doing, as with all things in life, it's ok... remember to do what works for you. Ultimately, you're the keeper of your family's memories.

- Alyssa


I am Vana Chupp, a wife, mother of two sweet boys and the heart and soul behind Le Papier Studio. This blog chronicles my thoughts on running a small business and capturing life's special moments. Read more...