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Friday, September 13, 2013

How to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter

Generally we hold onto clutter for one of 5 reasons:

1.   We just can't resist a freebie or a sale. (This is called Bargain Clutter and I covered how to overcome it in my last post found HERE.)

2.   We hold onto keepsakes and sentimental items because we're afraid to let them go.  (Sentimental Clutter)

3.   We like to have a lot of stuff around.  (Abundance Clutter)

4.   We think we "might need it someday."  (Aspirational Clutter)

5.   We don't know where to start!

Over the next few days, I'll be going over what we can do to overcome each type of clutter. 

I talked about Sentimental Clutter in my post about why I got rid of my wedding shoes after 17 years.  
You can read all about it in THIS post.

SENTIMENTAL CLUTTER is when we hold onto things from our past, as a way to remember or make the past have some meaning. That's not entirely bad because we get a feeling of happiness from sentimental items and it's okay to keep a few of these meaningful things.  

However, we all have limited storage space, so we can't keep everything.  We need to keep what is truly important (not clutter) and clear the rest (clutter) to make room for our present and future.

Getting rid of items that have sentimental value isn't always that easy. There can be a lot of emotion involved and let's face it, anything you've held on to for a long time can be hard to get rid of.  Sometimes we hold onto keepsakes and sentimental items because we're afraid to let them go.   This is understandable, but there are ways to honor our past (and our family's past) without older items turning into un-usable or un-displayable clutter.

To make it easier to let go you can:  

1. Take a picture of the item and keep only the picture.   This works great for kid's artwork and other homemade projects.

2. Write a journal entry about the item before you get rid of it.   Writing down the memory will let you think about the experience, which is usually more valuable than the object itself.

3.  Invite friends or family over for a "Nostalgia Night". Reminisce about the items. You can even record your conversations about them. If anyone wants the items, let them go to a good home. Sometimes knowing something is going to a good home and will be appreciated/displayed/used, makes it easier to give away.  Just make sure to donate or throw away what else is left.

4. Make a deal with yourself to only keep sentimental items that will fit in a specific sized container or box. 

Because the items you choose to keep are valuable to you, make sure you care for and store them properly.  Use air tight storage containers and keep them away from moisture and heat.  Do not keep them mixed in with things you use regularly.  Keepsakes shouldn't crowd out what really belongs in your closet or get in the way of your everyday life. You should not have to hunt and peck your way through old photo albums to find the windshield wiper fluid.  

To read the rest of the series you can check out the following posts:

3 Reasons to Get Organized
WHY we hold onto Clutter
How to Get Rid of Bargain Clutter

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