Many of us will travel to our childhood homes over the holidays. Or, if you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ll receive family to your house.
I often get asked, “How should I handle my sentimental clutter”?
Sentimental clutter can take many forms. It is love letters from old lovers, children drawings, trophies from past games, dated text books, dresses from special occasions, invitations from past parties, trinkets from trips, etc. It is anything that is attached with strong emotions and you do not use in your daily living, but can’t bear to throw away.
I bet this has the wheels turning for you and you’re starting to think of all the things you have shoved in a drawer or tucked away in a shoebox.
Sentimental clutter is the hardest to deal with because we are so emotionally attached to it. If you have three toasters that don’t work, it’s easy to get rid of them because it makes sense as to why it’s silly to keep them. However, sentimental clutter is tough. If we get rid of certain objects it can feel like we’re getting rid of our past experiences, and even a part of ourselves or loved ones. It feels like we’re doing something wrong. With that comes guilt and fear.
Who wants to feel that?!
What to do with the sentimental clutter
The first thing is to consider why you are keeping certain objects. Do you keep things because they remind you of better times? Are you worried if you get rid of them someone will be mad at you? If you let the objects go are you afraid you’ll forget your memories?
Oftentimes, we hold onto objects out of fear.
We are burdened and feel constricted. Sentimental clutter can have us exist in what I call past living: the idea that things were better back then. The problem with that is that it makes us believe that our current lives will never be as good as our lives once were. When we think this way, it closes the door to possibility. We do not feel empowered that our lives can continue to get better while appreciating the present.
When you look at your possessions in this manner, it can be easier to let things go.
Sentimental Objects to Keep
What about the sentimental objects that you collect and don’t want to get rid of? Rocks from every beach you visit, those old invitations, etc. The objects related to different experiences and memories.
If you can artfully incorporate them into your interior décor, then use them. (I highly recommend checking out Pinterest for ideas.) But, make sure you don’t keep putting off that project to- when I get around to it. If they are shoved in boxes and collecting dust, do you really need them? Are they enhancing your life or holding you in the past?
Let me know how it goes and what you think in the comments below.
Also, let me know if you have any questions you would like for me to cover from CLEAR: How to Simplify Your Life & Live More Fearlessly.
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