Even Sentimental Items Become Clutter If You Let It.

I store my keepsakes in a single box. Whatever fits inside this box, I keep. Nothing more. Over the years, I’ve developed the motto of your possessions aren’t the memories. And this mentality has helped me from overly holding onto items from the past. I still believe in having sentimental items, but limiting them to one area prevents you from becoming overwhelmed by your past. You have to make space for the future.

In a previous post, I discussed how Letting Go Is So Damn Hard. And it can be. But I’ve learned it’s actually ok to let go of items, especially if those things are holding me back from moving forward. But I wasn’t always this way. I used to create meaning for many things I owned. I felt guilty of even the thought of getting rid of things. But after watching countless videos & reading articles, I’ve successfully downsized my sentimental items in half.

How Did I Do This?

I simply changed my mindset. Instead of putting so much value into my belongings, I put the value back on myself. Think about it, most of the time, the collectables you keep loses value over time. They become old, dingy & even broken. But when it comes to yourself & your being, you are GAINING value as you continue on to the future. Own your self worth & repeat after me: YOU ARE ENOUGH.

I understand, whatever holds value has a different meaning for everyone. That’s why I encourage you to have a JUDGMENT FREE BOX. This container can hold whatever you’d like. Ticket stubs, photographs, a childhood stuffed animal…whatever you can’t part with, can be stored in this box. But the trick is, you can’t have more than one box. You can choose the size. But only one. With a family, especially you can have a box designated for each person. Write their name on the top & allow them to store their favorite things inside.

But What If I Have YEARS of Memories?

If you are going through your keepsakes & you find yourself overwhelmed by the years & years of memories, TAKE YOUR TIME.

Every so often, I’ll go through the box regularly & see if there are things I can let go. You’d be surprised at how your feelings may change after some time. I for one, had this plastic ring I got in a goodie bag from my dentist. For some reason I held on to this thing for years. I remember looking at this toy a few years ago & thinking, “Why have I kept this?” After much thought & questionable looks, I threw it out. And I’m not crying about it.

When it comes to sentimental items & decluttering, it’s a whole other ball game than just going through your sock drawer. It’s ok if you go through it slowly. Take breaks & reminisce awhile.

Story Time:

A few years ago, my Nana was on hospice with pancreatic cancer. We were at her house for her last few months almost every night taking care of her & going through her belongings. She is part of the reason I became a minimalist in the first place. But in a corner of her basement she had these white, crafted , built in shelves from floor to ceiling. And on these shelves were hundreds of floral patterned photo albums. Her entire life (mainly photos of her grands), filled the shelves. And let me tell you, going through those albums was a JOB.

I remember so clearly, sitting on her carpeted floor, wearing grey pajama pants & a baggy t-shirt surrounded by piles of “organized” chaos from years & years of memories. Not to mention, I was in a VERY fragile state as I was already grieving over someone I held so dear in my heart. But damn it, I was determined to help her one last time.

So instead of sleeping, I spent hours going through & organizing piles for my aunts, uncles, cousins, my parents, my brother & myself of what I thought they would want. I remember staring at my phone screen & in a blurry haze, reading 4am & thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” But even though it was a draining process, I was thrilled to be doing this for her & going through the photos & reminiscing over all the fun we had, made it worth it. But I do remember thinking, “I’m not taking a single photo ever again.” Thank you, technology & having the power to store things digitally.

I still love owning physical copies of photos though. I don’t know what it is, but it just feels more special holding a memory instead of scrolling through it. But I’ve definitely decluttered a few of them, especially after that experience.

Inside my keepsake box, I have photos from my childhood & now, a scrapbook of articles I’ve written for my high school & college newspapers, dance recital pamphlets, tickets from trips Todd & I have been to, cards from him & a few from family, a few childhood books I want to give to my future children & some jewelry that is too special to wear. And my childhood stuffed animals sit properly on my nightstand. (I HAVE NO SHAME).

I no longer keep yearbooks, cards from every occasion or things I feel guilty holding onto. I no longer want to be tied down from my past. I want to keep what makes me happy & keeps me moving forward.

What are some thing you’ve held onto? Are there things you could let go of?

16 thoughts on “Even Sentimental Items Become Clutter If You Let It.

  1. In this day and age, it’s easy to take old photos and whatnot and scan it in and store it on your computer if you don’t want to get rid of it completely. But I agree with you, some things can be thrown away.

    All the best, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have two memory boxes but they’re not that big tho πŸ‘‰πŸ‘ˆ But what you’ve said is true .. you cannot move forward if you keep things that are holding you back. Honestly, I came across with my boxes and went through it and I found some stuff that I cannot connect with anymore so I had to let it go. I also asked myself why am I keeping a candy wrapper when I cannot remember who gave it to me but I think it’s because of what was written there: Break a leg. As a sentimental person, it really is difficult to declutter some stuff but we have to. Anw, thank you for sharing this post! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s ok! I should have prefaced the single box is only a suggestion. The size of the box can be whatever you see fit as well. Aww that’s sweet, another option is taking a photo of the item (the wrapper) so you have the memory but not the actual item. Just a thought. I did this with my childhood trophies. I took a picture of me next to them. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely love your motto of, “your possessions are not the memories”, I too find it hard to declutter some sentimental items from my belonging. But I love your judgement free box, I’d love to try that technique. Thanks for sharing this! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have the exact same box in the first picture used as a memory box, too. πŸ™‚ I keep the box filled with sentimental items that I’m not willing to let go of yet. The contents mostly consist of photographs, cards, and a random ticket stub or two. Every few months I’ll reevaluate what should stay inside the box. Some of the things that seemed important at one time have lost their meaningfulness later on.

    Like

  5. I used to be such a hoarder and then one day I started to declutter and the stress began to melt away. I realised that holding onto things that were meant to bring me joy had lost their sentimentality and were just making me stressed. I now have a scrap book and a few photo albums, and love being a minimalist. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

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