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9 Tips for Sorting Memorabilia

9 Tips for Sorting Memorabilia

    Have you been putting off opening those boxes that your mother handed over to you when she was cleaning out her attic, boxes full of papers, trinkets and treasures from your childhood? Many people shove those boxes in their own attics to deal with later. Why? Because they have the power to bring your history back to life, at least in your memory. And, our histories are a mixed bag!

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    But, there is a payoff for sorting memorabilia in search of the most precious items, those that stir the best memories and feelings. When you let go of quantities of things from the past, you release some of the emotional burden of the past and can be more fully present in your life.

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    Use the following 9 tips to help you face the challenge of searching for the true treasures, the diamonds, among the stuff of your past, the stones.

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    1. Schedule a time for sorting your memorabilia when you’ll have plenty of time to reflect, feel your feelings and recover from any sad, mad or other uncomfortable feelings.
    2. Consider sorting memorabilia with a trusted friend or family member who might be interested in the content and who understands that examining and letting go of memorabilia can be a difficult process.
    3. Your intention for the first pass should be to eliminate items with obvious negative energies, those that bring up sad, hurt or angry feelings. If you hold onto those items you will be anchoring those old feelings in place.
    4. Sort the memorabilia into items that are for-sure keep, for-sure get rid of, and undecided. Remember that you are looking for items that have the BEST energies of the past, items that make your heart smile. You are looking for diamond energy in a sea of stones!
    5. When you choose items to keep, consider how they will fit into your home. It is always best if memorabilia can be displayed or at least is easily accessible to you so you can enjoy the positive memories it calls forth. If space is limited, keep the best of smaller items that anchor the energy of a particular time period or person. It isn’t necessary to keep everything that holds those energies. Just keep the best! For example, I keep the memory of my maternal grandmother alive with my favorite photograph of her on the wall of my office and her wedding band that I wear every day. When I inherit her china, I will keep a special piece or two and sell the rest. I need no more than 3 or 4 items to keep her awesome energy in my space and in my life.
    6. If items identified for release could be important to another family member or a museum, offer them to the person or institution. If they really have no value to anyone but you, and you’ve decided to part with them, either donate them or throw them in the trash.
    7. Only consider selling items that have clear monetary value, like jewelry or antiques. And, do it in a way that is easy and safe to do, like consignment or through an email broker who works with Craig’s List or Ebay. Selling is a hassle and often does not bring results that are worth the effort. And, it’s not uncommon for people to put things aside to sell, but never make those arrangements because they don’t know the best way to do it. Wanting to sell things can be a barrier to getting rid of them.
    8. If you get stuck on items that you are undecided about, put those items to the side and set a deadline for when you will revisit them. You’ll find that if you get rid of the items that you easily identified to toss, you’ll shift the energies in your space for the better. When that happens your perspective will also shift. That way, when you revisit those items, you can examine them with the benefit of better energy in your space and more clarity in your thinking. It will be easier for you to decide what to keep and what to pitch!
    9. If after a waiting period you are still struggling with what to do with certain items, invite a trusted friend or family member to help you make decisions about them. Sometimes if you tell another person the story of an item’s significance, you can let it go. Or, at the very least you’ll be able to hear your own energy in your voice as you talk about it. Items that should be kept are those about which you still have strong feelings and high energy.

    Clearing memorabilia will help you be more present in the current moment. Who knows? You may remove energetic barriers that you didn’t even know were blocking happiness, success and forward progress toward achieving your goals and dreams.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

    The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

    Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    How to Self-Taught Effectively

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

    More About Self-Learning

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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