Using Storyline to aid in decluttering

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

A few months ago, I started a big project.

And when I say “big,” I mean HUGE & RIDICULOUSLY OVERWHELMINGLY LARGE.

What is this colossal project you ask?

Decluttering our home.

Our ENTIRE home.

Every shelf, drawer, cabinet, box, bin, EVERYTHING.

I’d say I’m about halfway done…and I’m pretty pleased with my progress.

Things are looking so much better, and I’m starting to feel like I can breathe again.

Isn’t it crazy how all the STUFF can just feel so heavy and depressing? Even if it’s hidden away in our basements or closets?

During this process (this epic journey, more like), I’ve come across a number of things that have been hiding for years.

A number of things that were “put away” because I wanted to hold on to them for posterity’s sake…and a number of them that were “put away” because I just didn’t know what to do with them.

But now, in my quest to lighten things up around here, I’ve had to take a really hard look at some of those things…and decide whether they really need to be taking up the space they’re taking up.

Take, for example, my daughter’s trophies…from preschool. Yes, these trophies are darling, and she worked hard (?) for them…but they’re bulky – they take up a TON of space – they collect A LOT of dust – and she’s not really interested in them anymore…in fact, she had already tossed them in the garbage.

Now, the over-emotional mom in me wants to keep them forever…to keep the memories of them and the times she received them alive and in the forefront. But the homemaker in me, the organizer, the creative spirit that needs space and non-cluttered areas in which to work so that I can actually FUNCTION, wants to give them the boot.

I decided early on in this project that I would be brutal in my clearing out (thank you, Jamie Pate & Kim Jeffress for the motivation!), and, in keeping true to that decision, the trophies had to go.

So, my solution to satisfy both needs?

Storyline layouts.

Yep.

I made the executive decision during this process to get rid of all of those things that were merely taking up space…but first I would photograph the items that held sentimental value to me. And then I would scrap those photos…along with their stories.

And I’m loving it.

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

Now I can remember Kinsley’s trophies forever…without having the actual trophies taking up valuable space in my house.

I even added a small little legend stating what each trophy was for and when she received it.

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

It makes my heart so happy to know that these memories will remain forever.

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

When I came across some little puzzle stools two of my kids received from a friend of mine on their 1st birthdays, I knew right away what I had to do. I took my photos and scrapped them immediately.

Then I let those stools go.

And I’m not sad.

In fact, I’m super grateful for the room on the shelf they had been taking up for the past 5+ years!

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

I knew deep down that they would never be used again. My kids are all tall enough to reach each and every sink in our house…and they’re all pretty darn good at spelling their names.

These wonderful gifts served their purpose…and now they will never be forgotten.

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

And the Storyline collection makes documenting these important pieces so stinking easy.

You can see that I didn’t spend a lot of time embellishing these pages.

I added my photos, told my stories, added a few stickers, and that’s it.

It’s really all that’s needed.

After all, it’s the stories that are important…it’s the stories that we need to remember.

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

While cleaning out one of our Halloween bins I found the kids’ old trick-or-treat bags. They were ripping at the seams (candy is HEAVY!) and had seen better days…and both Kinsley (who is now 14) and Grayson (who is 12) were decidedly AGAINST carrying them around the neighborhood this year.

I can’t imagine why.

Tyler (10 years old) still liked his bag, but informed me it’s way too small to carry all the candy he expects to receive.

 

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

I photographed each bag and away they went.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not photographing every single item I come across that needs to go. Just those I want to remember.

Special toys & stuffed animals, outfits, school projects & cards are making the “photo & scrap” list.

Random papers, toys, etc. are not.

And I’m finding that it’s getting easier and easier to part with some of those things I thought I’d need to keep forever. The memory of them is just as vivid when I look at a photo of them as when I look at the item itself.

And now I have a written copy of each item’s story as well. That may never have happened if I had just left them in their bins forever.

How I'm using Heidi Swapp's Storyline Collection to help me declutter our home | Maggie Massey for Heidi Swapp

I’m still working…and I have a long way to go before I can consider myself completely decluttered and organized…but I’m getting there. At least I’m getting to the place where I’ve gone through the house once and will probably need to start over because things have already begun to accumulate again. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

With each newly opened square foot of space in my house…and each new layout in my Storyline album…I’m closer to achieving my goal.

And it feels pretty darn good.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about how I’m preserving some of my kids’ early childhood memories. This may not be the best way for everyone…but it’s working for me.

I hope I’ve inspired you in some small way to do the same.

Supplies | Storyline 8.5×11 Album: Leaves, Storyline Deck of Days: Life Happens, Storyline Sticker Kit: Kraft, Stationery Embellishment Kit: Mint, WeR Memory Keepers Typecast Typewriter – all supplies available at Michaels stores.

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About the Author : Maggie Massey

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