Good Questions: Storing Mementos from Your Childhood?

Colleen sent us an email: I've got a question that came up this weekend when I stopped by my parents house. After raising 5 kids in one big old house, their attic has accumulated a TON of junk. Much of this is my parents' stuff - holiday decor, out of style home-decor items, detritus from their pre-children years, etc. There is also a TON of old toys, clothes, and "mementos" from the kids. My mom would like to take care of the attic soon as she really wants to downsize...

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My question is this: I consider myself to be pretty anti-clutter. I live in a small apartment with a small storage locker in the basement. What do I do with the stuff that I've now begun to accumulate from their attic? Clearly some things can be thrown out/recycled/given away, but then you get to the "mementos". Do I just buy a few 18 gallon rubbermaid totes, neatly pack them, and stack in my storage area? They saved EVERYTHING it seems, probably as a reaction to their own parents getting rid of their stuff as soon as they both moved out. What is a practical way to handle this situation, while maintaining my own sanity (and limited storage capacities)?

Please share your thoughts and strategies with Colleen in the comments below...thanks!

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.