Sentimental clutter can be some of the hardest clutter to address in our homes. It’s difficult to let go of a drawing from your daughter or an inherited chair (even though you don’t have space for it) from a loving aunt who has sadly passed away.
When I process sentimental objects to decide if I should keep them or let them go, I often remind myself of these three concepts:
- Objects are not people. Material possessions are made of plastic or wood or clay or cotton. Blood doesn’t pump through veins in furniture or jewelry or tools or linens. If you get rid of an object, you’re not getting rid of the person who gave it to you or the person you were when you acquired the item.
- You should focus on living, not preserving. Only hold onto sentimental items that you can find a way to honor, that fill you with joy, and/or that are useful for you. There is no need to act like a curator and keep every object from your past in a box as proof of your existence.
- There are not awards to collect or accolades to be earned for having the greatest amount of sentimental stuff. You cannot win at being the most sentimental. Your loved ones will not value you more for having an unmanageable amount of sentimental trinkets and doodads. And if you aren’t convinced it’s not a competition, remember a well-edited collection is much more impressive than an avalanche of stuff. Two iconic works of art will fetch more at an auction than a hundred pieces of uncared for mediocre memorabilia.
What standards do you use when processing sentimental items? Share your tips in the comments.