My husband Luc recently came across an old map destined for a dumpster. At one point it was full of colour and was quite beautiful I’m sure, but 115 years later it is torn, the fabric is separating from the inked paper coating with the images on it, and flakes of it fall to the floor when it is opened. Obviously no longer useful as a map, and in too much disrepair to be used as a wall-hanging, we still wanted to see what we could do to somewhat preserve it.
This got me thinking about other things that people treasure that are taking up too much space and inhibiting their way of life. I’ve come across many of these items when in clients’ homes. If you have a little bit of creativity, or even the will to just change the form of something to take up less space, this can be a great way of preserving cherished items.
Obviously if you no longer need items, you should donate them so that someone else can use them. But there are often those items that hold a lot of sentimental meaning (old items passed down through generations, gifts from someone who has passed on).
Here are some examples of how you can repurpose items into something new:
Old maps – When we stumbled across the aforementioned map, I did some googling and found a few ideas that I thought were really neat. You can cup up pieces, laminate them and turn them into coasters or jewellery – basically anything you can do with paper you can do with a map. Modpodge can be used as a laminating gel when covering surfaces such as tables, lampshades or planter pots. Here are some neat ideas.
Old keys – When they are no longer useful for actual unlocking, keys are an attractive material that be used to make jewellery, a keychain, or as part of a collaged picture frame.
Clothing – If the items are no longer wearable, pieces of clothing can be cut up and made into quilts, a handkerchief, or you can even keep a small piece in a memory box so that it doesn’t take up the same amount of space as an entire shirt or dress.
Old book – Old books do deteriorate, and when they cannot be read anymore, it might be good to repurpose it. Like an old map, pages from old books can be made into coasters, jewellery, a lampshade, or if it has a beautiful cover you can cut it out and frame it. There are some more neat ideas here.
Old cards – if you have kept cards from every Christmas, birthday, and other holidays that adds up to a lot of paper and a lot of space that it takes up. You can often donate cards to schools where children can make them into different artworks. You can also reuse the pictured half into a gift tag/card for someone else. As for sentiments written in the cards themselves, if it is particularly meaningful and more than just “Love so and so” you could cut this part out and make a scrapbook or keep in a memory box. There is no sense keeping every single card that has even been given to you – the person who gave you the card would not expect that you keep it for eternity, and so you shouldn’t feel obligated to.
For the old map that we came across, I decided to cut out the small version of the map that was on the bottom left corner and preserve it behind glass. This amounts to a 5×7″ space, rather than it’s original 30×60″. There were also some neat images of ships on the map that I cut out and plan on making into earrings.
You should not feel tied down by objects that hold memories. If you still want to cherish certain objects, think of ways that you can be creative with them so that they are less cumbersome in your life. When you have a specific memory or feeling attached to an object, the physical form does not affect the memory. Instead make it into something beautiful and/or useful rather than something collecting dust in your closet.