How to Declutter Sentimental Items
We’ve all got that box hidden away on the top shelf of a closet somewhere, filled with bits and pieces of things from our past. It could be ticket stubs, old awards, maybe a dusty photograph of a younger you. Or maybe it’s the clothing we can’t get rid of even though we never wear it because we remember how much fun we had the last time we wore it. Or the piece of furniture we keep even though it looks expired. All lovely and sentimental items that stir up old memories that may make you laugh, cry, or something in between. But what value do these sentimental items bring to your life? Are they really necessary, or are they simply taking up valuable space?
Here are a few ways to declutter the sentimental items from your life and your house:
1. Journal the memory
The point of keeping sentimental items is not to keep the items themselves, but rather to keep ahold of the memories that surround them. With that in mind, examine whether you actually need to keep each item, or whether you can simply keep the memories they represent. If you do feel you need something to represent your memories, consider a journal or diary to write down what each item stands for, which can be easily stored on a bookshelf or end table.
2. Condense or repurpose the items
If you can’t get rid of the items completely, try condensing them down. Do you need multiple concert tickets, or can you keep one stub? Instead of keeping an entire old t-shirt, take a small piece of it. Or, consider only keeping one item from each time period, event, or age. If you can get rid of the extraneous items and keep only the truly sentimental pieces, there will be much more meaning in what you do have.
If you simply must keep something, see if there’s another way you can use it in your home. The logo from an old shirt could be framed to make a unique and interesting piece of artwork on your wall, or perhaps you can assemble a collage from a few photos that represent your friend group. If want to keep an item, it’s better appreciated when it’s not boxed up and on a shelf.
3. Create a photo album
Do you need the items themselves? Or would a photo of each item suffice? If you can do without the physical items, take a photo of each, and place them into an album. You can even arrange the photos by years, event, or type of memory. A photo album still takes up some room, but a lot less than the items themselves.
If you’re having some serious trouble letting go, think about your home and what you want each object in it to represent. Do you want to live in the past, or do you want your home to help you live in the now? Revisiting old memories can be a nice trip down memory lane occasionally, but if you find much of your home is filled with reminders of the past, it might just be time to let go and take a step forward.
Decluttering sentimental items is more than just making space in your home. It’s also about striking a balance between living for who you’re becoming (while still honoring where you’ve been). Decluttering extra sentimental items is one great way to take a big step out of the past and towards the future.
Remember, at the end of the day, decluttering your sentimental items is a tough but worthwhile endeavor. As you look at each item, be uncompromising when it comes to only keeping items that the best version of yourself would own. For everything else, toss, donate, or recycle it. This will reinforce you becoming that amazing version of yourself!
Want more direction to start your decluttering process? Check out this post: “The 30 Day Minimalism Challenge”