old antique radios on shelf

Organizing A Time Capsule

March 6, 2017

Have you ever walked into a space that was frozen in time?  Like someone just simply walked out of the room on an average day, leaving it perfectly preserved.  Museum exhibits and historic home tours probably come to mind, right?  In our work, we are frequently walking into spaces that have been abandoned for one reason or another; but, it’s always especially fascinating when we see a room that looks like the resident could walk right back in at any moment and pick up wherever they left off.  Over the years, we have come to call these spaces “Time Capsules.”  

It’s pretty common for us to see a room that has sat idle for several years.  In many cases, a parent will preserve a child’s room exactly as it was when they lived in the home– even if the child has been out of the house for years.  It’s like time just stops.  (My absolute favorite time capsules are the teenagers’ rooms that have been preserved since the late 80s/early 90s.  It’s like coming home; I recognize every item as a throwback to my formative years- troll dolls, swim meet ribbons, Ray Bans, Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, jelly bracelets… ahhhhh, those were the days.)   

We constantly hear parents insist that their child would want to go through all the stuff: “No, REALLY. She would be upset if I threw away that Duran Duran poster.”  “He was VERY attached to that Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt collection!”  And what do you think that child says when the call is made?  Almost every time, he has moved on.  She doesn’t want or need all of the items from her youth.  In fact, the thought of going through it all becomes daunting.  The small collection of items that might actually be true treasures are spurned because the time and effort to find them seems too great.

I’ve watched this conversation happen.  It can be sad, but in my role, I get to be a champion for the present day.  I’ve seen the silver lining.  A mother who finally has to face down her excuses and think about herself as a priority.  A father who gets to decide what he wants for his own living space.  A family that can move forward, because they were able to put the past behind them.

Is your space a reflection of what YOU want out of your current life, or a time capsule to someone else’s past?