Is your decluttering journey getting held up by sentimental items? It’s easy to let go of items that mean nothing. But what if the items that are cluttering up your life are things you feel strongly about? Getting rid of sentimental items may sometimes be necessary, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Here are a few strategies that you can use to make the process better.
1. Keep a Piece of an Item Rather Than the Whole Item
Is there an old, broken down piano that you need to get rid of? Consider keeping one of the keys rather than the entire thing. Keeping a piece of an item—such as a swatch from an old blanket—lets you remain attached to it without having it take up space. Some things can even be turned into items of jewelry or decor, so they become useful and usable.
2. Take Photos and Videos of the Item
Photos and videos will help you remember an item even if it’s gone. If you just want to look back on something for the sake of the memories, photos and videos can lend a greater sense of permanence. Just make sure the photos and videos are backed up and kept safe. You can even consider creating a scrapbook of all the items you’ve gotten rid of, to celebrate them and their memories.
3. Celebrate Getting Rid of the Item
Just as you may have celebrated acquiring the item, consider celebrating getting rid of it. A “decluttering” party can help you alleviate the emotional impact of giving away your things. If you can reframe getting rid of your items into a positive experience, you’ll associate positive emotions with the process. If you only focus on what you’re “losing,” it may become a negative memory.
4. Give Them to Family or Friends
If you give a sentimental item to a family member or friend, it’s not really gone. It’s just been placed somewhere else. While you shouldn’t try to give away items that truly don’t have purpose, valuable items or useful items can easily be handed away. Just keep in mind that if you give something to someone, it’s their right to do whatever they want with it—including throwing it away themselves.
5. Question Your Feelings
Ask yourself why you’re really holding onto an item and whether it’s currently bringing you joy. Sometimes the emotions you have anchored to an item are just a matter of habit and the item itself may not really matter. The more you explore your emotions, the more in control you’ll be. You may find that the item itself never mattered—it was just the memories that you were attached to.
6. Think About the Future
Explore the consequences of keeping the item. What are your sentimental items keeping you from? Is your home more cluttered than you’d like? Are you unable to move to a different home? And what would happen if you got rid of the item? In general, having too many sentimental items becomes a problem when you don’t have room for them and when they’ve started weighing on your mind.
7. Recycle Anything Useful
Could your wedding dress be made into a pillow? Could a piece of furniture be turned into a vase or a platter? Recycle anything that is made out of high quality materials. You’ll create something useful that becomes an heirloom. Sentimental items are only bad to keep if they serve no purpose and take up room. By recycling, you can reduce the amount of room they take up, avoid buying something new, and also keep part of the item that you care so much about.
8. Make Some Compromises
Having one or two sentimental items may not be the worst thing in the world. If you find that there are one or two pieces that you just can’t part with, you may want to consider making a compromise and keeping them. Keep in mind that most people want some items of sentimentality: getting rid of all of them may just incline you to collect additional ones.
Ultimately, no one really needs sentimental items, but they can make life feel a bit more pleasant. While getting rid of items may lead to short-term difficulties, it can have many long-term benefits. Once your sentimental items are gone, you’ll have less clutter and fewer items to take care of. For more information about taking control over your organizational processes, check out Get Organized Wizard.