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Organize + Energize: Throwing Out Your Wedding Dress

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Where is your wedding dress now? Gathering dust, sold, or sealed away in a box?

I’ve been happily married for almost 9 years. My wedding dress had been sitting rolled up in a bag in the basement since the week after my wedding in 2005. I usually have a yard sale every year to get rid of the items in my home that I no longer need. For the past 4 years, I’ve been trying to sell my wedding dress at a yard sale. No takers, but many loved it! I didn’t want to have it cleaned and then bring it somewhere to sell or donate, so I just threw it away. My mom is still not happy about it.

I love my husband and our relationship, but it has nothing to do with the dress. Yes, I wore it on the day we were married, but again, it’s just a dress. I don’t have any children to pass the dress along to. I have pictures and memories. That is all I need.  

Memento hoarding

This topic prompted me to start a discussion on Facebook and ask what all the married gals have done with their wedding dresses. Here were the responses: Hanging in a closet, in a garbage bag in the basement, in a box, cleaned and boxed, preserved in a box for 18 years that the cleaners told her she couldn’t open because it would break the seal, in a garbage bag all cut up from making a baptism outfit, and others sold their dresses.

Kind of makes you think of everything you are holding onto and for what reasons. Everybody holds onto items for different reasons and what may seem valuable and sentimental to you may have no meaning to another person. I remember my mother in law saved my husband’s sneakers from when he was 2. She kept them sealed in a Ziploc bag. My husband took one look at them and told his mom to throw them away. They had no value to my husband, but to her they meant everything. I’ve been in many homes that are filled with sentimental items. I wonder how deep the sentiment goes. How important is it to you if it’s packed away in a box in the basement? The items in the box probably haven’t been looked through in years. On the other hand, they may have been gone through categorized, itemized and labeled and you know exactly what is in them.

Share the memories

Now, I am not saying to throw away sentimental items. What I’m saying is, sit with your children or relatives, go through the boxes and keep what is significant and what you may want to give them now for them to cherish. Display the items that really mean something to you and you want to look at every day as a memory of that occasion. Keep a few boxes of sentimental items stored in one area of the home, whether it is in the basement, attic, or a closet. Be sure it’s in a seal-tight container to keep out mildew, mold, and weather elements.

Make a plan to go to the area where your sentimental items are stored and go through the boxes. Can you pass along items now that you wish for them to have? Are there items you once thought were sentimental, but now don’t mean so much? Make a fun night of it! Invite family members over for appetizers and drinks and spend the night reminiscing and going through the boxes. You never know what treasures may be in those boxes that you forgot about. Have your seal-tight bins ready to transfer items into. Categorize and itemize the bins and be sure to label to make accessing them in the future a breeze. Remember, have fun!


Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. Kristin has appeared on air on www.talkstreamradio.com and Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio. Her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Her CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start and is available at the locations listed here. She is also available for organizing workshops.


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I've been married for 46 years and I still have my wedding dress. So do my two daughters. I worked for a national wedding magazine for six years and can tell you this is a prized possession of virtually all brides. Don't throw it out! You don't need the space that badly unless you're living in a hole in the ground. Follow your own heart. If it's a designer dress it may be valuable in the future but whether its a $10,000 dress or a $100 dress (mine cost $40), it's valuable to you.

Comment #1 by Fruma Efreom on 2013 10 23

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