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Nostalgia, Psychology, and Self-Storage

Storage In Attic
Nostalgia is a slippery slope. While struggling to part with a few mementos doesn't elevate saving to a hoarding level, keepsakes can start taking over your in-home storage spaces. Before your attic, basement, or crawlspace turns into a room dedicated to the past, take a look at the science behind nostalgia and how a self-storage unit can help you to hold onto the past in a healthy way.
Understand Your Connection to Objects
The keepsakes that you stash away in a closet or under the basement stairs serve a purpose. These and other similar items connect you to the past and help to create a sense of self-continuity. Unlike memories, which can fade, an object is a concrete way to define your past - making mementos a physical connection to an emotionally or psychologically significant time, place, or person.
Respect the Continuity of the Lifespan
Your life is a series of moments. Nostalgia, or looking back into the past, allows you to make connections and create your own timeline. The keepsakes that you crave to save physically embody these moments, giving you a concrete way to visualize and organize the past, present, and future. Think of your keepsakes as the story of your life, told by your belongings.
Keep Important Memories
Holding on to memories in a physical way is like a psychological safety net. Instead of relying on your brain to do the heavy lifting, you can look at the object and spark a feeling that takes you back to another time and place. Nostalgia is psychologically healthy for most people. But when does nostalgic saving take a turn into hoarding territory?
Hoarders have extreme difficulty throwing or giving away items that may or may not have real significance. Instead of only saving nostalgic items (such as keepsakes or memorabilia), hoarders hold on to belongings that they have varying degrees of psychological attachment to. The hoarder may save their childhood baseball collection. But they may also save a stack of random newspapers or cardboard boxes.
Along with saving non-meaningful items, hoarders tend to feel serious stress or anxiety when they even think about throwing or giving away their belongings. This can have a negative psychological effect and create health, financial, social, or emotional problems for the hoarder. If you feel that keeping your keepsakes is shifting into an unhealthy zone, seek professional psychological advice immediately. This type of disorder is treatable - with the right type of help.
Store Mementos Wisely
Provided that hoarding is not an issue for you, you don't have to keep your nostalgic mementos at home. Renting a self-storage unit gives you extra space, allowing you to save meaningful items without the added clutter.
What should you put into storage? Instead of stashing all of your nostalgic items away in an offsite area, consider these criteria:
  • Sentimental value. Nostalgia isn't always equal. Your child's first pair of shoes and one of the many finger paintings that they made in preschool may not hold the same weight.
  • Size. If your household space is limited or you're downsizing to a smaller home or an apartment, start by storing the larger items first.
  • Need/use. Nostalgic items have uses too. If the belonging is something that you might use or already use regularly, don't store it.
  • Household members. Will other household members need the item? If you aren't the only person attached to the object in question, the decision of whether or not to store is a joint one.
You don't need to make all of your storage selections at the same time. A revolving type of storage situation (where you store some items now, bring them home later, and replace them with new picks) effectively declutters your home without causing keepsake loss pain.
Do you need to rent a self-storage unit for your mementos? Contact Blanco Self Storage for more information.