We’re all guilty of it: Hanging on to certain possessions that serve no purpose other than to provide sentimental value. Maybe it’s an old scrapbook or a piece of jewelry that your grandmother wore. These are the kinds of things that trigger fond memories, but in a practical sense, they do little more than take up space in our closets, drawers and storage units.
If you’ve been thinking about decluttering your spaces, but you’re having a hard time letting go of some keepsake items, this post may provide you with some insights and strategies that can make the process a little easier for you. And in the meantime, don’t beat yourself up about hanging on to these things longer than you think you should have. We all make strong associations between our stuff and our memories, and for some people, throwing out a sentimental item is about as hard as cutting off one of our own limbs.
Start by culling your belongings and throwing away things that are easy calls, things you definitely don’t need or want. Examples of this could be old or broken kitchen gadgets or small appliances you haven’t used in years. Other candidates include old magazines or knickknacks that are just collecting dust. Or how about old clothing, broken electronics, books, puzzles or duplicate linens? Go through, item by item and be as ruthless as you can when it comes to the items you won’t think twice about saying sayonara to.
Next, look at what’s left and try to separate needs from wants. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I feel burdened by keeping certain items? Are they limiting my enjoyment of my home or storage spaces? Do I see these things often enough that they actually bring me joy, or are they hidden away? Do I use this item often enough to justify keeping it? Would I feel guilty if I threw this thing away? Dig deep and question why you feel the need to keep certain things. Do you really love it, or do you just love the memories associated with it?
A couple of other strategies to consider are practicing gratitude and getting out of the trap of comparing your life to others’. In the first case, being grateful for the things and the life you have can help minimize the pain associated with letting go of possessions. And when you stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll be able to focus more on living a simpler life rather than trying to keep up with Joneses by accumulating more stuff.
But we’re just getting started with this topic. Next month, we’ll be back with specific steps that can help you part ways with sentimental belongings that are no longer serving you.