This is part of my Decluttering Toolbox.
Many of us still have our old high school yearbooks, even years or decades, after graduation. And you may wonder if it’s OK to keep them. Is holding onto your yearbooks just clinging to the past?
While I can’t tell you what to do with your yearbooks, here are eight questions to ask:
Question #1: How often do you look at your yearbooks?
Have you cracked them open in the last six months? Or six years? Do you frequently flip through them, or do they simply take up space in a random box?
Will you open them in the future? Do they contain mostly good memories?
Question #2: Would you be sad if your yearbooks disappeared?
If you had to move in the coming year and your yearbooks were somehow lost in the process, would you be upset? Or would you even notice they’re missing?
Question #3: Will your yearbooks help you remember names and faces?
When you’re young and spry, it’s hard to imagine how your memory will fade as you get older. But this happens to all of us. It might be nice to keep your yearbooks as a reference.
There’s no shame in keeping them in a “memories” box.
Question #4: Will your kids enjoy looking through your yearbooks?
It might be fun for your kids to see pictures of you as a teenager. They might admire—or abhor!—hairstyles, clothes, etc.
Question #5: Do you want to keep your yearbooks but don’t have a lot of space for them?
Some companies scan yearbooks and email you digital copies. This isn’t cheap, but it’s a good option for some people.
Question #6: Are you ok with them being gone forever?
If you’re unsure about whether to keep your yearbooks, you should hang onto them. You can always discard them later. But once they’re gone, there’s no easy way to get them back.
Question #7: Do you secretly want to get rid of them?
Some people have no emotional attachment to their yearbooks but feel like they need permission to get rid of them. If this is the case, you have my full permission to discard your yearbooks.
Don’t hang on to things that have no value.
Question #8: Do you want to discard them but feel uneasy putting them in the trash?
Sometimes we need to find a suitable home for our possessions, and then we feel comfortable letting go of them.
You have a couple of options:
- Donate them to your high school’s library or your town’s local library.
- Give them to a local historical/genealogical society.