The way we are what memories are made of

Recently I’ve been helping my friend archive her old family photos for safekeeping and it got me thinking about memories.   Memories are so precious to most of us – I think you’d agree.  Especially precious are memories and photos of loved ones lost, old friends, family, good times, travel destinations and of course the reminders we keep around the home - all the “stuff” that is meaningful to us.  Apart from evoking (hopefully) pleasant memories, these pictures and tid bits also represent a good part of our history.  They tell a story about who we are, who is (or was) important in our lives, our likes and dislikes and a plethora of other information.  Sometimes, they are a talking point at dinner parties and the mere mention of a souvenir or photograph triggers a storytelling exchange between friends.

Buy why are these memories so important?  Why is our history something most of us cherish and look back on often?  Apart from the obvious – that our personal life experiences are meaningful to us – I think that history, whether personal or not, is full of learning that we can take with us into the future.   

When I was a teenager in school, I found history boring and wondered why on earth we had to learn about things in of the past.  Obviously I lacked the ability to think laterally in those days!  However, as an adult I’ve learned that history is one of the most important things in life.  Without history we cannot learn from our mistakes and live in a better fashion; without history we don’t have depth and connection; in the public forum without history we cannot even begin to plan for the future and in business without history (or data) we can’t plan, forecast or go to market with anything meaningful.

Memories come in many forms then.  The less personal variety only have value if they are accurately recorded but the more personal ones have value even though they are often recalled a little less accurately – as viewed through our personal lens.   My great grandmother’s recipes passed down through the family bring a picture to mind of seeing her standing by the stove, wooden spoon in hand and apron around waist with a big smile on her face.  I’m told she could be a stern woman but that’s not how I remember her – and because I have that memory she is never stern in my recollections – only loving and happy.  Baby photos remind me that some of us have been around for a while and that history repeats itself with every new birth, wedding memories or those days at the beach can change over time but an important part of having the memory is how it makes me feel and the pleasure they bring recalling happy times.  Sometimes they remind us of why we embarked in a certain direction in life.  Now and again we even unconsciously alter memories to show life events in a more favourable light.  But whatever feeling they invoke they do influence us in the now and consequently in the future, as each step we take is taken with the memory of everything we have learned and experienced.

Every moment becomes a memory eventually.  What we say and do today becomes our history and our memories, so that the way we are today, is what memories are made of.  What we think about ourselves, how we behave and what we become creates not only our own memories but the remembrance of us by others.  Memories are indeed firmly planted in every moment of every day.

Tips & trick to preserving memories: 

Purchase photo binders with polypropylene pockets for photos.  Polypropylene doesn’t stick to photos so is ideal for this purpose. These come in various sizes and quality to ensure a good fit for the photos and also longevity of storage and protection. 

Light is a traditional photograph’s worst enemy so if you have your favourites in frames on the walls etc., make sure you have the negative or at least a preserved original to copy from in the album protected from light.

Buy polypropylene A4 sleeves to slip your favourite recipes into, then put these into a binder.  That way you can swap recipes out if you don’t want them any longer and it’s easy to store new (and precious old ones).  Make sure your binder is all vinyl and plastic (even the comb) so that any kitchen spills can be easily wiped away and nothing corrodes over time.

Precious books whether new or old should be covered in polypropylene as well – it doesn’t stick to covers and is thick enough to protect them if you take them to the coffee shop to read.  You can buy rolls of various widths and lengths of polypropylene for this purpose from specialised suppliers and some art shops.  Use acid free tape that doesn’t yellow over time as well and never stick the tape to the book – just to the plastic itself.  That way you preserve the book intact to hold its value.  If the book has a dust cover, just cover the dust cover – no tape needed.  If you are unsure how to do this, drop into your local book shop that provides this service and watch them for a while.  Some stores will do this for a coin donation to a charity that they support.

For some great organising tips visit the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers at www.aapo.org.au   they have some tips in the bottom half of their front page.  Placement Solutions is proud to be a member of this organisation.  Don’t forget we also provide professional organising, household management and baby concierge services – we’re here to help!

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