We all struggle with sentimental clutter. However, if we’re being honest, objects are just objects and their value doesn’t magically change just because you have a history with them. Try to remember that the value you’re assigning the object comes from your memories, not the object.
Whether you’re having trouble letting go of old love letters from your high school sweetheart, your children’s artwork or struggling to let go of countless items following the death of a loved one, purging items that have sentimental value is extremely difficult.
Making decisions about emotionally charged objects is tricky. It may bring up emotions, good and bad, reminding you of happier times with family members or memories of those who have passed away.
Then, there are times when you’re forced to make decisions. For example, when you’re moving to a smaller home and have to downsize or if you have to sort through the belongings of a loved one who has passed away.
Whether you’re ready to purge or forced to make decisions,
striking the right balance between how much to keep and how much to let go of can also be difficult.
If you keep in mind that you can’t keep everything, then you’ll be able to part with items that are truly clutter and keep the ones that mean the most to you.
How do you decide what stays and what goes? Here are some ideas for how to keep sentimental items from getting out of control:
Keep the best and let go of the rest.
• Save heartfelt letters, not every card everyone ever sent you
Only keep items you want to display/use.
• Then…display/use them.
If you must have a keepsake chest, limit it to one box and only keep things that can fit inside that box.
• When your box is full, you’ll need to remove something when adding something new. DO NOT ADD ANOTHER BOX!
Be sure the keepsake chest/container is sturdy, pest and water resistant.
• Once you decide to keep an item, take the steps necessary to store it the right way. Do a little research to determine which containers to use to preserve the items. Please note that just storing items in plastic bins is not enough to keep things safe from the elements. All plastic bins are NOT equal.
Keep the memories and let the objects go.
• Photograph or take a video of the objects you want to remember but don’t want to keep. One digital photograph saved on your computer (and backed up in the cloud) is all you need.
Don’t feel obligated to keep something just because it was a gift.
• There’s no obligation to keep things you don’t like, don’t need and/or won’t use.
Avoid feeling guilty.
• It is your home and you have the right to make room for what matters to you most.
Share heirlooms with other family members.
• If you inherited something and no longer want it, ask your family members if they might want it.
When saving items for family members ask yourself these questions:
• Will they want this?
• Do they have room for it?
• Is the item valuable only to me?
The answers will help you decide to save or let go.
Repurpose a keepsake into something new if you’re crafty.
• For example: You can repurpose your children’s baby blankets into a quilt.
Keep one if there are multiples.
• If you know that you won’t use all the holiday wreaths your mother gave you, just pick one that you’ll display during the holidays.
Don’t keep anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to find.
• If something were to happen to you, your friends and family will eventually sort through your things. Don’t keep anything that you wouldn’t want them to see or that would cause them pain or embarrassment or damage their memories of you.
If you need help with this process, give us a call. We’d love to help!