Letting go of sentimental clutter is not easy for some and downright scary for others. But if you’re going to be able to breathe and live freely in your home, you have to get rid of clutter and yes, even sentimental clutter.
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Did you know that clutter in your home is heavily linked to depression? So, despite having a million memories that make you feel all warm and fuzzy when you happen upon them, you actually get anxious and exasperated when you look a room as a whole and that is NOT good.
Plus, you cannot decorate a cluttered place. It’s difficult to function when you can’t get to things you really need and the frustrating when you try to complete a DIY project and you don’t have any space to work.
You cannot decorate a cluttered room.
So let’s dive into how to let go of stuff in your house.
You can let go of sentimental items and still keep your memories. HOWEVER, Remember you’re decluttering. Now is the time you’ll walk down memory lane, but DON’T
The first step to get rid of clutter
Learning how to let go of stuff in your home is easy when its trash—broken or unusable stuff with no value, but what do you do with your baby girl’s first binky blanket or even
10 thing you can throw away right now
broken,ripped, or just not usable.
- Water Bottles, coffee mugs, and other branded paraphernalia
- Playbills from the theater
- Take Out Menus
- VHS tapes, DVDs and CDs you’ll never use
- Old chords from devices you’ve long let go of’
- Burned candles and candle jars
- Keys, screws
andbolts that you have no idea what they belong to.
Let Go of Sentimental Clothing
- Get rid of any clothing you haven’t worn in the past 5 years. Toss them and don’t look longingly at the pile!
- Next, say a long hard goodbye to everything you said you were going to wear when you could get back in it when you lose weight. If you do lose the weight, reward yourself by buying new clothes.
- If you still have too many clothing pieces, go through and rid yourself of duplicates. For me, that was black skirts.
- Only keep clothes you actually wear!
You SHOULD have a manageable wardrobe at this point depending on where you started.
Decluttering baby clothes and kids clothesmay make you a little weepy. My advice is to buy ONE storage bin and only keep 3-4 items. I know it may be tough if you’ve stored every precious memory from all your kids. But one box is a great walk down memory lane without suffocating in clutter. Get rid of any clothes that are worn and need to go in the trash
Here are my suggestions for your box:
- Their first or favorite blanket (I kept the handmade ones)
- The clothing they came home from the hospital in
- Christening or Dedication Gown
- One or two favorite outfits
I used these simple storage bins at the top of my son’s closet. I also have a small keep sake box tucked inside that box to hold his first tooth, lock of hair and hospital tags.
Let the rest go. It may be tough but you don’t have to trash them. Give them to a friend, someone in need or donate them.
Now on to the harder stuff: loads and loads of memorabilia, letters, Christmas cards, trophies, travel souvenirs and the like.
Use a Journal to Chronicle Your Memories
As you go through your items, take a moment to write down what’s significant about the item. Write down the memory that belongs to the piece. Most times, it’s not the exact doodad that you long to hold on to, it’s the emotional attachment to the object. Once you’ve documented the memory, you’ll be freer to get rid of clutter.
Store photos, letters and cards in books—preferably photobooks and boxes
Before the days of email and texting, my high school BFF and I would write cards and letters to each other. We talked in person everyday, and on the phone everyday but still had words to actually write down and write we did. We even folded them in intricate ways and sometimes drew on them. But when I read them a few months ago, I realize they were full of childhood non-sense. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t special.
They didn’t contain any jewels for future generations, but I put them in a nice neat storage box. Anything that didn’t fit in the storage box got tossed.
To save even more space, have all your items scanned or photographed and put inside a photobook. This is an easy, extremely practical approach to how to store sentimental items because you can combine your journaling to make a set of books to hand down to your children.
I highly recommend against scrapbooking if you’re going to procrastinate on getting rid of clutter and make more of a mess! Or even worse add to the clutter by buying a boatload of scrapbooking supplies.
Make an Audio or Video Record of Your Sentimental Stuff
If you’re not much of a journal girl, recording your stories either on your phone or on video may be a great solution to for storing memories. This is advice I wish I had taken years ago. My husband tells my son a Burly the Squirrel (a fictitious family character) at least three times a week. I’m ashamed to say we don’t have any of those stories written or recorded. We keep saying we’re going to do it, but haven’t gotten to it. Such a MAJOR miss.
Display Major M
Shadow boxes are great ways to store memorabilia IF you can make them work in your décor. That usually doesn’t work for my comfort glam style. I prefer pretty storage boxes that I can set on tables and shelves.
Share the Love
It may be difficult, BUT your siblings, friends and older children may appreciate holding onto some of the precious memories you’ve been hoarding. Let go of sentimental stuff by giving it away. Two things may happen, you’ll make someone very happy OR they may not cherish it as much as you and toss it—either way,
There are so many things of value that we want to hold on to, but the truth is