Last month in our blog, we talked about developing strategies for how to part ways with items that are primarily of sentimental value. We started with some general tips about how to reduce the amount of clutter in your home or storage area and then shared some insights about the mental aspects of decluttering. Often, people associate feelings of guilt or sorrow or insecurity with getting rid of things they’ve been hanging onto for a long time.
This month, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty in terms of concrete steps you can take to rid your life of items that only serve sentimental purposes. Remember, the goal is to help you feel good about your living and storage spaces, not generate feelings of regret or remorse. There are no hard and fast rules, but the hope is that you will find a balance in the process — hanging onto the keepsakes that are of the most importance while learning to release the ones that no longer serve any purpose than a purely emotional one
• Find a way to display your most treasured keepsakes in a place of prominence rather than just leaving them to take up space. This could be old children’s artwork or heirloom plates that have been passed down over the years.
• Offer a sentimental item to another family member who might enjoy those memories and who perhaps has more room to showcase it.
• Try the keep-one, lose-the-rest rule. If you have a large collection of things, like plates or beer mugs, perhaps just keep one item for display and let go of the rest.
• Acknowledge cherished moments but lose the clutter. Consider photographing items for a keepsakes album and then parting ways with the actual item itself.
• Turn an item of sentimental value into a functional one. Make your father’s favorite flannel shirt into a pillow or a child’s old T-shirt collection into a blanket.
• Remember that some items may have monetary value that you can cash in by selling them online or a consignment shop.
In the end, decluttering is a very personal decision; no one can make you get rid of things. But there is actual scientific evidence that suggests that paring down excess belongings can bring more joy and breathing space into a person’s life. Another philosophy suggests that creating vacuums in your life allows space for newer, better things to enter. Letting things go can be hard emotionally, but you may find that it’s worth it in the end.