declutter sentimental items minimalist life

I often take photos of my daughters’ art work. I keep some things, and take pictures of the rest. Taking photos can help you part with items.

Have you ever tried to purge excess clutter, but got stuck on how to declutter sentimental items? It’s hard to let go of these things: notes, photos, cards, drawings, childhood memories, or gifts. So how do we go about clearing out things that aren’t useful or needed, but still have an emotional tie that we can’t seem to cut loose? 

This is a difficult one, so I’m going to give a few tips, and hopefully one of them will resonate with you. This brings up some emotions, so everyone will be at varying levels of comfort in letting go of sentimental items. I think this area is something that needs practice and patience.

Declutter Sentimental Items:

1. Understand your emotions and memories.

Think about why you’re holding onto something. Does it bring happiness, or sadness, or guilt? Recognize and really acknowledge the emotion tied to the sentimental item. Remind yourself that by getting rid of things, you won’t lose the memories. You could take a picture of the sentimental items instead of keeping things that take up space in your home.

Things that make you feel bad definitely don’t need to be in your life. Surely, you don’t need to hold onto things that make you feel sad, angry, or have lost value to you. Make the decision to get rid of these things and move on.

2. Permission to let go.

Give yourself permission to let go. Really – let go of the things you are holding onto if it no longer adds value to your life right now. Maybe it served a purpose in the past, but it doesn’t help you live in the moment.

3. Don’t keep old gifts because of guilt.

Clearing out your life will help bring clarity of mind and make space in your life. If you’re worried about what someone else will think, try to remember that getting other people to understand your desire to minimize is something that might take a long time. Or maybe some people will never understand, and you have to accept it and know that that’s okay.  We can often find ourselves feeling guilty about getting rid of something that was a gift because we know someone put the time and energy into getting it for us. Maybe it’s because they are a good friend and they want us to be happy. In fact, if minimizing has made you so much happier, perhaps they will see the positive difference in your life and begin to understand. Maybe you could try suggesting experiences over gifts for future.

Once something has been given to you, then it’s yours to choose what to do with it. Tidying expert Marie Kondo explains that the gift has served its purpose already by being a gift; it showed that someone was thinking about you and that they care about you. This applies to cards or notes too. Getting rid of the gift or card cannot take away that purpose and the love that you received when it was given to you.

4. Donate.

If it’s something that could still have use, find a person who would love that item. Don’t dump it on someone else just to avoid really getting rid of it. Find somewhere to donate the item. Is it furniture, clothing, or jewellery? Look up places in your area that are in need of the items you are getting rid of. You could make someone else quite happy by giving your things to a person who needs them. Declutter your sentimental items and by helping someone else you will feel better about it too.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

-Albert Einstein

Pin It on Pinterest