Sentimentality is often riddled with guilt and obligation; these are two feelings that chronic people pleasers are debilitated with. I know, because I was one of these people pleasers!
As difficult as it is to even contemplate letting go of sentimental clutter and the mementos you have collected over the years, this kind of clutter can take over your home and become another stressor. And life can be stressful enough, right?!
Some of the main offenders are souvenirs, gifts, inherited pieces, photographs and that caricature you thought was really funny ten years ago on your girls trip to Vegas!
Help me to help you and take some time to dig out those sentimental boxes from the storage locker and really take some time to assess what is worthy of continuing to hold your much needed space.
Determine What’s Worth Keeping
Evaluate each item of sentimental clutter in terms of it’s perceived sentimentality, ask yourself is it the object itself that brings joy or the memories associated with it? You can retain a memory without a physical object. If you truly love the object, it’s worth keeping!
Don’t Let Gifts Become Burdens
We worry immensely about the expectations of other’s, particularly when it comes to displaying or keeping gifts they have given us. The chances are very low that the next time your grandma visits, she is going to scour your bedroom looking for that porcelain pig she gave you. Even if people do have expectations of this nature, that isn’t fair. A gift is yours to do with, what you please.
Get Rid of Guilt
Guilt is empty calories. Keeping something out of guilt rather than nostalgia is very unhelpful, whereas being objective when de-cluttering makes sense. Be as objective as you can be about only keeping what brings you joy! Ditch the guilt.
Save a Digital Memory
Consider scanning documents and photographs or investing in a USB, hard drive or even a digital photo album. This can free up a lot of physical storage space and you can even use this with three dimensional objects, like baby toys (snap a photo and keep it in the cloud).
Compromise on Other People’s Clutter
Forcing a loved one to part with their sentimental clutter could end in disaster so reaching a compromise where some items are displayed and others are neatly tucked away can be a great solution.
Pass On Heirlooms
If you received a family heirloom, don’t feel obligated to keep it if you don’t like it. Your clutter might be a relative’s treasure. So before you get rid of an unwanted inherited object or stash it in storage, ask around to find out whether someone else in the family would love to have it.
Remake or Repurpose an Item
This can be a great method of retaining the sentimental value of an object while updating it. For instance, a stone from a dated ring can be reset into a band that’s more your style, or a collection of T-shirts you don’t wear anymore but are from memorable events can be turned into a cozy quilt.
Keep One of a Bunch
If you have a collection of a specific item, such as your stuffies from childhood. Line them up and choose the most loved one of the bunch!
Give It a Better Home
Donating items to those in need is both a selfless and rewarding act. Maybe you even have a friend or family member who would really use and appreciate the item. That way you can be sure it’s going to a good home.
Keep a Scrapbook
Scrapbooks are a great way to consolidate memories and mementos. This is also a very mindful activity and will invoke feelings of joy and satisfaction. And make notes in the margins to explain their significance. Eventually this scrapbook might become something you pass down to future generations of family.