Today in the decluttering sentimental items series we're talking about decluttering yearbooks! Whether these are from elementary school, middle school, high school, or college/university, they can take up a lot of space in your home. If you look at them frequently, then they are not clutter. But if yours are tucked away in a box somewhere and you haven't looked at them since graduation, they've become clutter.
Why yearbooks are hard to let go of
Yearbooks can be tough to let go of because they are filled with lots of memories. They represent a specific time in your life. There are pictures of all your classmates and teachers. You can look back and remember all the activities you participated in. And they may have comments, notes, and autographs from your friends.
Tips for letting go of yearbooks
It's a very individual decision whether you keep your yearbooks or not. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide if you should keep them or let them go:
- Were the years represented by these books positive ones? If not, why keep books that bring back less than happy memories?
- How often do you look at your yearbooks? If you haven't looked at them in years, or maybe even since you graduated, then you're probably not going to miss them very much if you let them go.
- How often are you pictured in your yearbooks? If you were very active and your picture is scattered throughout your yearbook, you are probably more likely to have happy memories of that time period and look through your yearbook more often, than if you are only pictured once or twice.
- Do you have any duplicate yearbooks? Perhaps you and your spouse both went to high school or college together and both have yearbooks. You could scan the signature pages of one person's books (tuck them into the other set) and then declutter one set of yearbooks.
- Are you in touch with old high school or college friends still? If you live in the same town/city as you did when you went to school you probably run into old classmates or their families from time to time and keeping yearbooks handy will help you remember their names. If you've moved away, it's fairly easily to find people online now so there's less need for a physical book as there was in the past.
- Do you have a reunion coming up that you plan to attend? If so, you may want to keep your yearbooks until after that so you can brush up on who people were before you go. Or even take it with you to the reunion so you and your classmates can match up people now with what they looked like then.
This doesn't have to be an all or nothing decision either. You could keep some special years (maybe your senior year) and let go of others that don't mean as much to you.
Ways you can reuse/repurpose/display yearbooks
If you choose to declutter your yearbooks, you can check with your school to see if they want them. Or ask friends or siblings who may not have purchased a yearbook. You can look for alumni groups online to see if anyone is interested in your yearbooks. Otherwise, check your local recycling rules to see if you can recycle it.
If you only have a few pages you'd like to keep from a yearbook, but not the whole book, you could put together a scrapbook of your favourite memories. It would take a lot less space than a whole collection of yearbooks.
Or you can scan some of your favourite pics from your yearbooks and share them on social media for Throwback Thursdays. Tag your old school friends so they can walk down memory lane with you.
Don't Start Your Decluttering Journey With Sentimental Items
Just a quick reminder that if you have "regular" (non-sentimental) clutter in your home, it's better to deal with that first and set aside your sentimental clutter until your home is less cluttered. Decluttering your everyday items will likely make more of an impact on your daily life than sentimental decluttering will. And sentimental items are generally more difficult to tackle so it's better to build up to them.
Whether you're decluttering sentimental items or general clutter, join our 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group! You'll find lots of encouragement, motivation, and tips as we all declutter our homes and lives together. You can find more details about the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge here too.
For More Decluttering Sentimental Items Tips
Want more tips? Check these the 31 Days of Easy Decluttering series!
Or the Decluttering From A to Z series from last October!
If you'd like more decluttering ideas, you can check out my Decluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.
Have you kept or decluttered your yearbooks? What are your reasons for keeping them or letting them go? What tips can you give for those who are deciding whether to keep their yearbooks or not? What did you do with your yearbooks if you did declutter them?
If you declutter your yearbooks, take pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag #declutteringsentimentalitems so you can inspire all of us to declutter our sentimental items!
If you've got a picture of how you displayed or re-purposed your yearbooks, please share it in the comments or on one of the series' social media posts. I'd love to see how you are giving honour and respect to your sentimental items!
Here are all the posts in this challenge in case you missed any or want to share some with your friends or family!
I link up at these great parties - Check them out!