The general question of whether it brings you joy doesn’t always help us get rid of sentimental clutter in our homes. It is difficult to forget something, and it is even more challenging to let go of an item that holds some very precious and vital memories for you.
Sentimentality is derived from memories, and when our grandmother gave you that package of her old love letters, it was a moment of connection between the two of you.
Dad’s gift of all of his old baseball jerseys was his way of expressing his pride in your accomplishments. However, these sentimental items are frequently left untouched, gathering dust when it comes down to them.
Perhaps you don’t need, use, or like the item, but it holds a sentimental memory that prevents you from getting rid of it. Though the memory is still there, getting rid of the physical thing. On the other hand, that sentimental clutter can hurt you in other ways.
It can hinder your progress, increase stress, and lead to even more negative outcomes. We came up with a few different ideas on letting go of sentimental items to help you on your way.
These steps will help you get free of sentimental clutter by focusing on memory and understanding how you can help those in need.
Get Rid of Your Guilt
The first step in letting go of sentimental items is to explore your emotions. If you keep a sentimental thing out of guilt, it’s something you don’t need.
If you hold items out of love or nostalgia, that’s understandable, and you can get help with that by following the other tips.
When it comes to keeping an item out of guilt, however, holding on to it will not alleviate those feelings. It’s time to let go of that.
Allow Vulnerability To Enter
Letting go of sentimental items can be tricky—sifting through your mother’s journals or exploring your child’s hand-knit scarves is difficult. But don’t ignore your feelings. You will either not get rid of the items or get rid of too many.
Once you’ve gotten rid of your guilt, try to be vulnerable throughout your process. Allow vulnerability in—as you go through these items, make deliberate choices. It may lengthen the process, but it will be more meaningful.
When going through all of these items, do yourself a favor and take photos. Take pictures of your favorite journal entries, old military gifts and awards, old report cards, and anything else you want to remember. This allows you to keep the photos while discarding the items.
With the power of technology, you can convert those photos into digital albums, allowing you to keep the memories for the rest of your life. This is also an excellent time to digitize those boxes upon boxes of old photographs.
Pose Specific Questions To Yourself
When it comes to sentimental items, the simple question of “does this item bring me joy?” doesn’t always work. You’ll have to ask yourself some more challenging questions as you sort through these items.
Here are a few examples:
- Why am I retaining this?
- Would I want to delegate responsibility for this to someone else?
- Is a photograph sufficient?
- Could someone else benefit from this more than I am?
- What exactly do I want to keep?
- What do I require during this season?
Get Rid Of The Most Accessible Items First
First, go through your house and get rid of anything you don’t need or want. Perhaps your kitchen is cluttered with gadgets and appliances you haven’t used in years. Or maybe your living room is cluttered with knickknacks and decorative items that you bought ten years ago and are now gathering dust. Make this step as thorough as possible to truly rid your home of things that are just taking up space.
Whatever room you are in, go through it with a fine-toothed comb and decide on non-sentimental items first. By beginning with simple tasks, you will acclimate to the decluttering process and be more willing to part with sentimental items when the time comes.
After you’ve gotten rid of the things you don’t need, you can donate them to a local charity or any community thrift store so that other people can enjoy them.
Try Not To Make Comparisons Between Yourself Or Your Home And Those Of Others
You may find yourself in a situation where you are content with what you have until you see what your neighbor has. Perhaps their home is decluttered, and you’re envious but stuck. “Comparison is the thief of joy,” as the saying goes. Don’t let jealousy rob you of the joy of living a simpler life. Take it slowly, but keep moving towards letting go.
Please return to your gratitude practice and consider what you have compared to where others are in their lives. Concentrate on the things that money cannot buy or replace, such as memories and friendships. Whether you keep certain items or not, these will live on. The goal is to reduce the judgment and negativity of letting go of sentimental items.
Get Rid Of Sentimental Items Gradually
You can choose whether or not to discard sentimental items. This is a personal decision that you should be happy with. Remember, there are no tough and fast rules requiring you to get rid of all sentimental items to live a simple and happy life. It would be best if you tried to strike a good balance for yourself and your family.
Methods For Letting Go And Holding On
- Show it off! Frame old children’s artwork, hang heirloom plates on the wall, etc.
- Proffer a sentimental item to another family member who will appreciate the memories as much as you do but will have more space to display it.
- Keep one and toss the rest. One sentimental plate on display can be more meaningful than the entire 12-piece set hidden away in a box.
- Recognize and cherish the memories, but get rid of the clutter. If you want to remember the item, photograph it for an album.
- Make it more useful by turning it into something functional. Convert your father’s old flannel shirt into a pillow you can use every day!
- Sell it and then donate the proceeds to a cause you support so you can feel good about your decision.
- Give things away, knowing that what you’ve been hoarding will now bring joy to others.
Recognize The Effect
When you donate items, you are assisting those in need. These items you’ve been hoarding will positively impact those around you.
For example, when you donate, you get to choose one of our four partner organizations, and your items will be converted into a monetary donation to the charity.
Not only will the items be donated to a thrift shop for those in need, but any monetary donations will benefit the charity of your choice.
Keep One Of The Items
This is a simple step; keep one and donate the rest if you cannot part with something. Choose one item from a collection, such as a scarf, a soccer ball, or a doll, and then give the others away. You’ll still get the item and its memory, but your clutter will be reduced.
We hope that these suggestions for getting rid of sentimental items will assist you in getting rid of sentimental clutter in your home. When you focus on the memories from these items and let go of the heavy things, you make room for growth.
You make room for other sentimental items, and even better, you live in the present rather than the past. Once you’ve gathered all of your items for donation, go to a charity. They can handle your donation pick-up immediately; schedule a pick-up time or drop-off location.
Their trucks will be on their way to deliver the goods to those in need. You can also drop these items off at their drop-off locations.
In any case, they will take care of these items and benefit others. And still, if you go through any questions or doubts, feel free to ask us anytime.
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