Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Let’s get this straight- it’s perfectly ok to hold on to sentimental items. Greeting cards, trophies, a baby’s blanket- our possessions do have meaning and evoke memories. But when do these items become clutter?
With sentimental items, it’s not just the physical item you hold in your hand but the emotion it generates. Are you holding on to something from a moment in your life you’ve long passed and don’t wish to relive? Are you holding on to something only because to get rid of it would make you feel guilty? This type of clutter may not manifest as an ‘untidy mess’ but certainly can create stress in your home and in your mental space.
If you find yourself particularly invested in these sentimental items, give yourself a bit more time to make a decision on whether you will keep it or not. But since ‘clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions’, set a time limit on when you will make that decision.
If your sentimental items are intended to remind of a person who has passed away, keep a few pieces that were important to them or reflect who they were as a person in a special memory box, scrapbook or display spot within your home and give yourself permission to give away or discard of the rest.
Know that discarding the item does not delete the memory associated with the person or event from your brain (and that applies to both positive and negative situations).
As with any other de-cluttering project, feel free to involve a friend who can bring objectivity to the decision-making process, but who will do so without pressuring you.
Most of all remember it’s ok to let go.