Sentimental clutter can be the hardest of all to release.
Sentimental clutter is the items you are storing away and not using.
You keep them because they help you remember events, people, or places.
They can represent either your memories or someone else’s memories.
Your emotional feelings about a particular item are most likely not about the object itself; it is about the memory you are attaching to it.
Believe it or not, you will still have the memory if you eliminate the physical thing.
Here are five strategies to help you deal with this type of clutter:
USE IT: Use that big spaghetti pot that used to belong to your mom to make that delicious spaghetti. Then, serve that spaghetti on her birthday. A great way to honor a person’s memory!
DISPLAY IT: If you love looking at this item, you can display it in your home, on a shelf, shadow box, or even on your Christmas tree. It is undoubtedly better to look at it often than store it in a container in a dark basement or attic and never look at it.
You may be saving a box of ticket stubs you have collected from various events you have attended. Why not take a photo and put the pictures on your computer? The same idea holds for your child’s precious drawings or writings, a meaningful letter or greeting card from a loved person who has passed away. These can be stored in a digitized file that does not take up room in your home.
REPURPOSE IT: I have heard so many stories of creative ways people repurpose things to honor the person that has passed away. They have made quilts, pillows, and backpacks out of clothing. At one time, I had a lot of yarn and knitting supplies from my son, who died. His second-grade teacher taught him how to knit, and he loved making hats for all his friends and family. When he died, I gave the supplies and yarn to a friend who knitted more hats and donated them to the nearby children’s hospital. These knitted hats were an excellent way to honor my son’s memory, and it warmed my heart to think about his legacy living on in those hats that are warming children’s heads!
DONATE IT: Clothing or household items can represent memories for some people. You will still have the memory if you get rid of the article. Many of the items you are presently storing can be donated or consigned. Remember that other people could use the things you are not using. Keep them all in a box, closet, or basement is not dealing with your clutter it is hiding it.
Yes, it takes some creativity to deal with our emotionally charged things that represent memories, but with time it is possible.
If it is difficult for you, finding a non-sentimental person to help you that is not emotionally attached to your things may be an excellent first step.
It may be time to free up the spaces in your home for the things you will use in your life right now! You may think that if you get rid of something special to someone who has passed away, you are not honoring that person’s memory. But remember, if everything is special, nothing is special.
There are many better ways to honor a person’s memory than to keep what they wore or used.
I will get into that topic in my next blog!