Why is it that sentimental items can be the MOST difficult to declutter? Is it the nostalgia built around each memento? Or is it the feelings of guilt for letting go of a piece of your past? When you open up these boxes you are flooded with countless memories & chapters of your life that made you the person you are today.
There’s a reason why Marie Kondo put decluttering sentimental items at the end of the process. It’s VERY difficult & it takes far more time than any purge you will do of your belongings. But I’m here to tell you it is important to let go of the literal baggage you carry around. I’ve discussed this topic before & why even sentimental items can become clutter if you let it. Why would you want to be hauling around tubs of containers filled with years & years of your life? You have to be sure, what you keep is truly worth moving from place to place.
Recently, I’ve been going through my own bins of sentimental items & although I’ve narrowed it down quite a bit, I too hold onto a lot of physical memories. And I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could get rid of even more. And by doing so, I learned a lot of valuable lessons I want to share with you.
MAKE USE OF YOUR SPECIAL ITEMS
I used to think if something was very near & dear to my heart, I needed to just store it away so it wouldn’t get lost or broken. But I realized it’s kind of sad if you let these precious things sit in a box forever. Wouldn’t you rather make use of it or display it so you can really appreciate it better? For example, I found this story book my Grammy gifted to me when I was very young. Inside the book she has it dated (1994) with a loving message inside. I thought to myself, “how neat would it be to have this displayed in a nursery one day?” “I would love to read this book to my future children.” So, although the book will stay nicely in my save box for now, I look forward to giving this to my children to read one day.
IT’S OK NOT TO KEEP EVERY CARD
Now, I’ll be honest, when it comes to my dating life I’ve kept every single card my boyfriend has ever given me for the last 6 years. They make me very happy & I love reading through them occasionally. I’m the biggest romantic. But when it comes to cards from other people, no offense, I only keep a select few. For the most part, I’ll display cards around the house like if it was my birthday or Christmas time. After a while I will take them down though. I think it’s ok to have the mindset of appreciating them for the moment but to let them go when it’s over. In terms of holiday cards, I do save them in a baggy with the date on them. This allows me to know who to card the following year. If I do keep a greeting card, it’s either because the message inside is detailed or I want to remember a certain person’s handwriting, like my parents or grandparents. So, if you just sign a card with your name & nothing else, it’s trash. Haha! I kid…but kind of serious.
PHOTOS AREN’T ALWAYS THE MEMORY
I’m a sucker for a good photo. It’s the best way to hold special memories no doubt. But remember it’s not the end all be all either. Don’t feel like you need to take a photo for EVERY holiday or EVERY event. But if you do, & you still like printing them out like me, be very selective of your choices. I know most people keep their photos digital (even their childhood ones) but I’m such an old soul & LOVE having prints. You just never know what could happen to them in the digital space. I regularly go through my prints & downsize them. I know how tedious this task is though. I remember I did this with my Nana’s albums. And she had an entire wall of books. The key thing to remember when it comes to photos is to always keep the ones that make you the happiest. Never feel like you need to hold onto a photo because it brings back bad memories. For example: ex relationships or friendships. I think I kept two photos from an old relationship & they were from prom. Otherwise I let them go.
IT’S GOING TO BE AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER
Like I said, when you are going through sentimental items you are going through literal baggage. Good memories. Bad memories. Losses. Awkward phases. You name it. And this is the reason I go through these items regularly. I don’t like when physical items are holding me back or keeping me from moving forward. I would keep pamphlets from my grandparent’s funerals, cards from my ex boyfriend, photos of friends who I don’t speak to anymore or even diaries with such sad & dramatic messages. I don’t want to be constantly looking at the past especially at those types of moments. I want to understand things like that happen but I’d much rather see only the positives. So, instead I keep photos of my grandparents & memories we had when they were at their best, or highlights of a relationship that were milestones to remember like homecoming or prom. I never want my belongings to keep me stuck. Another thing to keep in mind, is if you are going through items like these during times of grief, be kind to yourself. I personally waited to go through things once I felt more accepting of the situation. I can go more in depth with the topic of grief and special items in a later post.
DON’T KEEP THOSE COOKIE CUTTER ITEMS
What I mean by this is don’t keep items you think you HAVE to keep because the majority of the world does. This is your life & you don’t have to hold onto something if you don’t want it anymore. My example is yearbooks. I threw out every single school yearbook I ever had. And you know why? They are HEAVY as SHIT! And I never really looked through them anyway. I did photocopy a few collages & photos that I keep in a folder. But the actual books seemed pointless. This also goes for any gifts or hand me downs you may receive. Again, never feel like you have to keep anything. If it is something from family, you can always try to give it to someone who would appreciate or use it. But there are times you have to be honest & let them go. Or you could just secretly get rid of them & not say a word. Whatever works best for you. Haha!
I really hope these suggestions encourage you to go through your sentimental items. If you have any other questions or need advice on the topic, leave a comment down below. I love helping you all out.