We all have some “sentimental clutter” lying around in our home. These things hold a special place in our heart, but too many of it can pile up in our homes and worse, it will accumulate bacteria.
Have you seen those gifts you received since childhood, that teddy bear your lovely aunt gave you, souvenirs from the last 5 weddings you have been to, that prom dress that has been gathering dust for the past few years. It can be difficult to let go of these things. You have to keep in mind that you are not required to keep every stuff you get from people.
Here are 9 ways to let go of sentimental clutter without a heavy heart:
1. Evaluate the item that’s worth keeping
Before letting go of certain items, ask yourself, “what makes me sentimental about this item?” In most cases, it is not the actual item you hold dear but the person who gave it, where and when it was given. Remind yourself that those memories will still be in your heart and mind even without the physical object. But if you love the actual item that was given to you because of certain reasons, then it is not a clutter.
2. Don’t feel obliged to keep gifts
You might fear of throwing some gifts because you don’t want to offend the person who gave it to you, so you choose to keep them until it becomes a burden. Do whatever you please if you find the gift to be occupying much space. After all, the giver might not expect that you still have it all these years.
3. Don’t allow yourself to indulge in guilt
Aside from love and nostalgia, people keep items out of guilt. This is a very unhealthy emotion. Do not use guilt as a reason to keep sentimental items, you may feel guilty about your relationship with the person who gave you your old bedside table but you can’t resolve that if you still have that hideous and close-to-rotten table.
4. Preserve memories virtually
Instead of having multiple boxes in your room, you can keep precious photographs, letters or documents by scanning, saving and backing them up on your computer. This will save you tons of space and you can look at them anytime you feel like it. If you want to keep an old toy, take a photo of that toy and save it along with your other photos.
5. Pass it on a family member
If you are dealing with heirlooms, you can pass it on to your younger cousin who might find something to do with it. Before throwing away an inherited item, think of someone who can benefit from it and at the same time, would love to have it.
6. Create something new out of the old
If you really can’t let go of your connection to a certain item, choose to recycle it and find it another purpose. According to PropertyOnline Ph, a painting that was given to you can be a nice wall decor in your new condominium, your college ring can be repurposed into a whole new jewelry that suits your own style. Think of that important item that you can transform into something new.
7. Find a new owner
If you have a heavy heart in discarding sentimental stuff, you may give it to someone who really needs it. Maybe a friend of yours could really use that old but still functioning coffee maker, or your neighbor can use that wooden table of yours lying around in the garage for years. Find your stuff, a new owner and a new home.
8. Keep only ONE of the items
If your mom has given you 12 different cards for a whole year, all of those might hold a special place in your heart. But you can’t keep all those 12 cards, choose one to represent the collection or the person and allow yourself to let go of the rest.
9. Donate useful items
You received lots of clothes as a gift every Christmas and most of them are just occupying a space in your closet because you only choose to wear a few pieces and you choose to have a capsule wardrobe. Don’t just dump your clothes in the trash. Donate it to people who need it, especially homeless people.
Be Emotionally Resistant To Declutter Sentimental Items
Always remember, you are not your things. Don’t succumb to the feeling of nostalgia and guilt and allow yourself and your house to be occupied with so much stuff. Try to live in the present more than the past.