We’ve all got things in our homes that we don’t know what to do with because they are sentimental items. I’m sharing a few tips on how to declutter these, whether that means using them or sharing them.
I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have a few things tucked away in a drawer, a closet, or an attic just because they’re sentimental items.
I have a box of baby clothes that I have gotten down to one tub and made peace with.
Do I need my grown children’s baby clothes? No.
Do I have to get rid of them? Also no.
There does come a time when we need to declutter though.
I would say that in my case I managed to parse through the childhoods of 4 children and fit the sentimental items into one tote. That’s a manageable amount and I do enjoy going through it occassionally.
How to Declutter Sentimental Items
There’s no easy way to let go of items that have sentiment’s attached to them so let’s talk about which things are actually serving us and which things have become clutter in our homes.
If you’ve got items in storage that you’re wondering what to do with, read on and see if any of these tips helps you.
Sentimental Items that We Store
The key to having sentimental items in storage is for them to be items that we choose to store. Not for our storage to become filled with items that we aren’t taking the time to declutter.
Like the example of the box of baby clothes. I found myself going through the boxes and boxes and not wanting to get rid of everything so I set some guidelines on what to keep.
For baby clothes it was items that were very special. I have some dresses that my mother sewed for my sister and I, then my children wore them and now I store them.
If the items were damaged or stained I didn’t keep them.
I also limited the amount of storage so that it felt manageable.
Have I missed any of the items I got rid of? So far I can say that I haven’t!
Be sure that you’re storing the items properly.
If you need acid free boxes to keep photo’s or important clothing from yellowing it’ll be worth the investment. Felt pads between china to keep it from chipping, plastic tubs to protect items from moisture, it’s important to store the items you want to keep properly.
Sentimental Items We Display
The collection of our Grandmother’s plates that we display in the kitchen.
The shadow box of medals that’s on the wall of a bedroom.
These are items that aren’t clutter in our homes.
Bring out the items that you want to enjoy and make a display out of them. Curate a collection for a shelf or a wall and put them in a place that makes you smile when you see them.
Sentimental Items that We Use
I have a friend who has so many things stored that she doesn’t use.
She can tell you stories about all the things that she has, but she’s not creating any new memories by storing the items.
This one is really a mindset issue. Not an issue but until I think of a better word for it that’s what I’m using.
If you have beautiful china why not enjoy it everyday? I understand if it has to be hand washed that it may be more trouble, but what about Sunday dinner? Or Monday?
Why have something in your home that you’re not enjoying on a regular basis?
Don’t save the good stuff for only the holiday’s or a crowd! You deserve to use the nice dishes, the silver, the cloth napkins. Don’t just save things for company.
The same goes for furniture.
Some people think it’s a terrible thing to paint an antique.
If that antique would fit your style better painted, would you actually use it?
I am giving you permission to restyle that piece. Paint it, wallpaper it, make it what works in your vision and enjoy it!
It’s yours to enjoy!
Sentimental Items that We Sell
We all have that gift from “Aunt Harriet” that we don’t want but we’re not sure we can get rid of.
Or that piece of art that we inherited and it’s under the stairs because it’s not our style.
I have to believe, in my heart, that no one gives us a gift as a burden. They don’t leave us items that we should be forced to display or use.
Go ahead and sell it.
Instead of thinking of it as “getting rid of” something, think of is as “sharing” an item.
We’ve all heard the saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. By no means am I saying that what you have is trash, it just means that if you don’t love an item there’s someone out there who will.
Share your items to new eyes and let them move on to new memories.
If you give or sell in the mindset of sharing then you can look at these things as still being sentimental, but also being useful.
More Decluttering Tips (for sentimental items)
Decluttering is not an easy job, especially in the case of memorable items. They often have so many emotions attached to them and it can make this a very draining job. Here’s what I like to do:
Give yourself plenty of time – if you’re working on a large area like a basement, attic or garage try to allot a certain amount of time to the job per day. It can be overwhelming to have to make too many emotional decisions at one time so get things organized and then take your time.
Set a timer – when I’m working through a box of memory’s I’ll set a kitchen timer and only work on it for a certain amount of time. Does it take longer? Maybe, but it doesn’t consume me while I’m working on it.
The timer method works great for almost any decluttering project. You might set it for 10 minutes or 30 minutes. You can probably get a drawer finished in 10 minutes, but you might get several done in 30. A drawer, a box, or a set of shelves.
I hope these tips help!
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